Unsolicited solicitation asking me for freelance work
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:41
English to French
+ ...
Oct 10, 2008

I have just received an e-mail at my private e-mail address (not ProZ mail) from a supposed company who would like me to give them translation work. Here is the content of that e-mail:

Hi Viktoria,

Do you do translations from French into English?

If you mainly do English to French then we can help you. Offer your customers more and increase your own business by offering French to English translation with our assistance.

You can offer translations into English by translating yourselves and then have our native English speakers check and correct the English translation. The result is a high quality professional translation.

Our simple pricing structure allows you to easily know in advance how much we will charge so you can price the service to your customers with confidence. Also you can take advantage of our volume discounts if you are a regular user.

Don’t wait. Add English translation to your services and see your sales grow.

If you would like more information visit our website www.pxxxxxxxxx.com or email me.

We look forward to doing business with you.

Cxxxxxxxxxx Lxxxx
lxxxx@pxxxxxxxxx.com
www.pxxxxxxxxx.com

P.S. Don’t forget. If you already have your own native English speakers then use Pxxxxxxxxx to cover vacations or excessive work.


I never, ever give my e-mail address to anyone. Only my clients have it, and a few colleagues whom I have worked with or whom I have a professional relationship with (that is, we help each other out and discuss translation-reated issues). The name of the sender doesn't ring a bell to me, and the name of the company either.

It also seems that I wasn't just plucked from a phonebook - clearly, Mr. Lxxxx knows my language pairs, which is information that comes either from my ProZ profile or from the few other translation portals I have a profile on. Notice he also spells my first name right.

I am mad that someone has my e-mail address despite the fact that I never give it to anyone, and that they have the nerve to solicit work from me. I am sure that if Mr. Lxxxx knows my languages pairs and can spell my name right, he also knows that I am a freelancer and not an agency.

I find this plain rude, and even possibly illegal.

Has anybody received a similar e-mail? Anybody has a clue where this person got my e-mail address from?

Thanks in advance for any clues.

[Edited at 2008-10-10 15:41]


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 21:41
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Gotcha ... Oct 10, 2008

I never, ever give my e-mail address to anyone.

Now you have confirmed, the mail has indeed reached you - so maybe they'll sell it down the river ... Maybe it's time to change the E-Mail address anyhow.

Hint: I have an agency that's sending the jobs to 20+ freelancers via cc! They evidently missed classes when BCC was taught. Possibly your Email has leaked out this way: it takes one zombie system among those 20 and the mail adresses get harvested...

Sorry, I know you're mad as hell: It's those moments when Mr Hyde, we all have hide inside , well under control, wants out to get some action (sg). Take a deep breath, chere amie - and then some more. Imagine all the things you would do to / with the mailer. That helped me in such moments.



[Edited at 2008-10-10 16:03]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:41
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What struck me Oct 10, 2008

I especially like the following part:

If you mainly do English to French then we can help you.


Ahhhh! I was wondering, too, where that weird twitch was coming from. It seems I do have some kind of mental trouble! Thanks, Mr. Lxxxx, for letting me know what it is.


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sivtufte  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 21:41
English to Norwegian (Bokmal)
+ ...
Recieving mail on your private address Oct 10, 2008

I recieved a somewhat similar message, supposedly sent through Proz.

Are you sure your settings hide your address in all your memberships? Mine is also not supposed to show to all.
They might find you through your recieved software, or any other place you get ex newsletters from? If the pages are sponsored, some share info you know.

Still I agree with Vito, get a new address.
Siv


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Elizabeth Adams  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:41
Member (2002)
Russian to English
+ ...
Re: Vito Oct 10, 2008

I bet somebody inadvertently leaked your email address the way Vito suggested, in the CC of an email. I've had a couple of those come from agencies and thought about how lots of people might be annoyed. I'm not going to spam them, but someone else might...

In a similar vein, I'm shocked at how often agencies will send me stuff to translate without blacking out or deleting the private cell phone numbers or emails of CEOs and the like. Gobsmacked is the word.

Just be glad you aren't getting spam calls on your cell!
E


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:41
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Can't they legitimately email you from ProZ, without knowing your email address? Oct 10, 2008

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but can't they just click on the envelope on your profile screen to send an email? They won't know your email address if they do that unless you reply to them.

I've certainly received some mails through my ProZ profile screen, and by and large I've been happy to receive them and have replied, so the sender now knows my email address. I once received a begging letter to which I did not reply, and have heard nothing more from them since reporting it to ProZ staff.

Personally, I'd just treat it as yet another hard-sell try-on to chuck in the bin. I can't imagine it's illegal, any more than it's illegal for me to be targeted by French cold-callers as English-speaking simply because of my surname. There'll always be information that we make public for legitimate reasons that then gets hijacked.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:41
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not ProZ mail Oct 10, 2008

The mail I got, as specified in my initial post, wasn't sent through Proz, but rather directly. The person sending it clearly knows my e-mail address.

Also, I switched IPs recently, and I've only had this address for six weeks. I am reluctant to change it now, after all the fuss of notifying each and every client, colleague and whonot of my new address. I never use my main work address for newsletters and such - it is used strictly for business.

I am now thinking of adding a notice in small print to my e-mail template, a bit like those that the more professional agencies add, but also specifying that my e-mail address may not be given, sold or otherwise included on any mailing list, and that whoever messes with my e-mail address will have to deal with the legal consequences. That also just might convince those agencies who inadvertently or otherwise forward my e-mail address to people it doesn't concern to be extra careful before hitting that Send button...

[Edited at 2008-10-10 23:04]


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Stephanie Sirot  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:41
English to French
+ ...
I received exactly the same e-mail...twice!! Oct 10, 2008

Hi Viktoria,

I received exactly the same e-mail a few days ago! Like you, I was wondering how this guy got my e-mail address. I assume he must have gotten it from one of the websites I have a profile on, i.e.Proz...etc.

He sent it on my hotmail address, not via my own website, that's why I am assuming this.

Strange indeed...

Stephanie.


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Shouguang Cao
China
Local time: 04:41
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I received the same mail. Oct 11, 2008

It looks identical except the name and language pair.

I even replied and said I might use his service.

I guess it has something to do with proz.com.

[Edited at 2008-10-11 12:18]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:41
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To do with ProZ - or not? Oct 11, 2008

It may have to do with ProZ, but then again, it may not. I am sure most people who have ProZ profiles have some web presence elsewhere as well.

Having said that, I am not prepared to outrule that this problem has something to do with ProZ profiles. If it does, I sure would like to check with ProZ if they have any clues on this. If ProZ is in fact an ingredient in this problem, then they may need to do something to protect our e-mail addresses.

As I have said earlier, my current professional e-mail address is not webmail and is very young. I use a separate e-mail address for work precisely because I don't want any spam, advertizement or newsletter mixed into my work e-mail.

I will submit a support request and see what gives.

I'll keep you all posted.

[Edited at 2008-10-11 17:42]


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Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Mexico
Local time: 14:41
English to Spanish
Nothing in Internet can be kept secret Oct 11, 2008

Internet has no secrets; if you play the game, then you have to bear the consequences.

That's the name of the game.


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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:41
Member (2006)
English to French
Received exactly the same Oct 11, 2008

I don't remember if the mail came from my ProZ profile or from my website. Anyway, as I will never translate from French into English, I did not read the whole messsage and sent it into the bin...

Stéphanie


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:41
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Maybe... Oct 12, 2008

Maybe someone snatched a vendor list from the agency they were working for just before they were sacked. Who knows? Maybe some disgruntled, underpaid employee in one of your clients is selling information.

I gave up on hiding my e-mail address from spammers. Of course, I'm not rolling out a red carpet for them. So I have one e-mail address published on my web site just for "first contacts". It's only web mail, so I delete spam there with a bulldozer. The comparatively rare useful messages, I redirect them manually to my main e-mail. I have a second e-mail for 4 Yahoogroups PT translators lists, which is automatically forwarded to my main e-mail (where it meets the filters). And then, my main e-mail, which is the best premium no-limit IMAP (the messages stay there, not on my computer) e-mail service available here. They have unusually strong antivirus protection, and an extremely efficient "intelligent" antispam: if any spam goes through, with one click it will be the last message I'll see from that sender or with that exact title. All these will go to a separate folder, which I quickly inspect once a week. Figures? I get an average of 4 thousand undesired messages per week; an average of 10 spam messages per week, at most, manages to get through that system to my main e-mail.

Regarding solicitations, every now and then I get translators offering me their services. In most cases I can "read" their foreign accent in the English they write. Many of them offer services from/into languages I've never seen nor been asked about, but it's part of the game. I find this less insulting that 5¢/word job offers from agencies that consider themselves professional, or when they ask for my "best rates" as if these could improve or go bad from time to time.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 21:41
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
How to structure your mailing environment Oct 12, 2008

J...So I have one e-mail address published on my web site just for "first contacts"...

Excellent how-to advice.


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