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To Gmail or not to Gmail
Thread poster: Alexandra Pirotte (X)

Alexandra Pirotte (X)  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 21:42
English to French
+ ...
Nov 27, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

I have just read in a thread about translation scams that a query received from a Gmail address can be seen as a potential red flag. That got me worried since I use a Gmail address to communicate with my business contacts. Does that make me look unprofessional? Thank you for your thoughts on the subject.

Alexandra


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes! Nov 27, 2011

Just my personal opinion, but if you are serious about your profession, it's best that you buy a domain name with your name or your business name and use an ISP that offers you email accounts with that domain name.

Also, I feel that it is always safer for you to have your email offline in case you need to check it at a location where Internet is not working. This if course forces you to have a good email client software and make regular backups, which adds to the administrative side
... See more
Just my personal opinion, but if you are serious about your profession, it's best that you buy a domain name with your name or your business name and use an ISP that offers you email accounts with that domain name.

Also, I feel that it is always safer for you to have your email offline in case you need to check it at a location where Internet is not working. This if course forces you to have a good email client software and make regular backups, which adds to the administrative side of your work.

Of course there are excellent professionals out there who use Gmail and similar services, so I am just trying to describe what I feel when I receive an email from one of these email services.
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Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:42
Member (2011)
English to German
This question makes me wonder... Nov 27, 2011

I have a domain/website, for which I pay.

Included in this service are six Gmail addresses.
One of them is: marina@marina-steinbach.com

I'm wondering if this really makes me look unprofessional...

[Edited at 2011-11-27 21:09 GMT]


 

MartinPorto  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:42
French to English
+ ...
ISP mail Nov 27, 2011

I must be missing something, everybody seems obsessed with gmail and others, but what translator does not have office, and therefore Outlook, so just use the service already in place from your ISP, so for me here in Portugal, Outlook + Sapo, having said that, I do use other services offered by the IET for example, as a backup!

 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:42
French to English
+ ...
Pros and cons... Nov 27, 2011

I personally use gmail these days as my main e-mail account, including for work-related e-mails. There's various pros and cons to consider, but this is what I think:

- gmail has less of a reputation for being used by spammers than other "free" e-mail systems
- having e-mail accessible from any Internet-connected device is hugely convenient, and in my case far outweighs the inconvenience of the very very occasional situation where I would be (a) without Internet, (b) needing to
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I personally use gmail these days as my main e-mail account, including for work-related e-mails. There's various pros and cons to consider, but this is what I think:

- gmail has less of a reputation for being used by spammers than other "free" e-mail systems
- having e-mail accessible from any Internet-connected device is hugely convenient, and in my case far outweighs the inconvenience of the very very occasional situation where I would be (a) without Internet, (b) needing to access e-mail, and (c) in possession of a device holding a copy of my off-line e-mail;
- I still give out a "professional" e-mail address as my *initial* contact (which is forwarded to my gmail); I've never had reason to think that people subsequently shunned me for then switching to my gmail for communication
- I think Google are more capable of running a reliable, secure e-mail service than I am, and haven't noticed problems (e.g. the system moaning about an attachment being too large) that seem to plague other e-mail systems
- gmail offers various useful facilities, e.g. a decent filtering system, which you could use e.g. to forward certain e-mails to another offline account if you needed that (the iPhone client may well store e-mails locally anyway)

I note that various clients and colleagues, after giving out a non-gmail address, end up in reality communicating via gmail, presumably for similar reasons.
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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:42
Hebrew to English
Two sides....... Nov 27, 2011

In a way I do agree with Tomás in that a personalized private email account does "look good" or at least more impressive perhaps (to some people). More business-like I suppose. It's debateable.....but........

I also think that surely it isn't that important. We all use our email for the same thing mainly:
a) communication with clients
b) receiving and sending client documents
c) etc

But no email system is unhackable or safe beyond reproach. So
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In a way I do agree with Tomás in that a personalized private email account does "look good" or at least more impressive perhaps (to some people). More business-like I suppose. It's debateable.....but........

I also think that surely it isn't that important. We all use our email for the same thing mainly:
a) communication with clients
b) receiving and sending client documents
c) etc

But no email system is unhackable or safe beyond reproach. So what's the difference, really?

The three relevant issues are:
1. Confidentiality
2. Scamming
3. Image

As already mentioned, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed over email, no matter what system you use, or however much you pay for it. So confidentiality isn't a persuasive argument really.

It's true that most scammers do use free email but if scammers twigged that by using private email we'd all start trusting them instantly, then they'll do it. There will always be scamming and having a private email is no guarantee of legitimacy. Therefore I only see this argument as partially persuasive; to reassure the more cautious clients out there who do equate private emails with legitimacy and professionalism...but not completely. This argument alone really wouldn't sway me.

The image you are trying to portray as a translator is a more persuasive argument. If you think that by getting yourself a private email you'll increase your sphere of influence, your business possibilities, potential clients etc then this is the kind of argument that would sway me more.

It's a personal decision, which you shouldn't feel pressured into doing. Look at the advantages and disadvantages to you and make an informed choice.

I have recently got one, but it was more of a by-product of me getting a website (which I'm currently driving myself mad designing).
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MartinPorto  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:42
French to English
+ ...
Blackberry! Nov 27, 2011

I forgot to mention.

In view of how important email is to us in this job, I recently changed to Blackberry, so I could use push email, never miss an email, its really great!

It has already saved me missing jobs!


 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:42
Member (2004)
English to Polish
The potential cost Nov 27, 2011

Ty Kendall wrote:
It's true that most scammers do use free email but if scammers twigged that by using private email we'd all start trusting them instantly, then they'll do it.


That is very unlikely... They would have to register a domain and set up a believable website (as private domain without any website already raises suspicions) which could be used for how long? Two weeks? Probably less, as the word travels much faster these days... They would go bust very quickly.


 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:42
Italian to English
In memoriam
Looking good Nov 27, 2011

Ty Kendall wrote:

In a way I do agree with Tomás in that a personalized private email account does "look good" or at least more impressive perhaps (to some people).



I have had my own domain, website and email addresses since the 1990s when this first became possible in Italy. To begin with, quite a lot of people were impressed - most of them translators, admittedly - but nowadays it's pretty much par for the course.

I have also had a Gmail address as back-up more or less since the service started. Before Gmail, I used Hotmail but Gmail's storage space and the ability to upload/download large files were the deal clinchers. Confidentiality is potentially an issue, of course, depending on your clients.


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:42
Hebrew to English
Perhaps...... Nov 27, 2011

Jabberwock wrote:

Ty Kendall wrote:
It's true that most scammers do use free email but if scammers twigged that by using private email we'd all start trusting them instantly, then they'll do it.


That is very unlikely... They would have to register a domain and set up a believable website (as private domain without any website already raises suspicions) which could be used for how long? Two weeks? Probably less, as the word travels much faster these days... They would go bust very quickly.


But these people seem to be quite decent at reinvention so I'm sure they'd find a way. My point was that a personal (private) email isn't an automatic stamp of authenticity and conversely a free email shouldn't be automatically considered a potential "red flag".

@ Giles

I agree, it's far harder to stand out from the crowd these days. You have to go further and further with marketing to distinguish yourself, as most things have been said and done 1000 times before. Such is life.....but I still think having these things (website, private email only work for you and rarely work against you).


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Gmail versus other free addresses Nov 27, 2011

I have a hotmail address that I keep for strictly non-work things. Frankly, I hate hotmail as it seems only to be good for what I use it for - 'play' emails, 'give them this address to keep them away from my real address' emails, 'dodgy' emails. The site gives me no confidence whatsoever and when they offer something 'new and exciting' it is normally wallpaper, screensavers, ringtones, themes, chat... and I don't want ANY of them.

On the other hand, I find gmail to be really useful
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I have a hotmail address that I keep for strictly non-work things. Frankly, I hate hotmail as it seems only to be good for what I use it for - 'play' emails, 'give them this address to keep them away from my real address' emails, 'dodgy' emails. The site gives me no confidence whatsoever and when they offer something 'new and exciting' it is normally wallpaper, screensavers, ringtones, themes, chat... and I don't want ANY of them.

On the other hand, I find gmail to be really useful and 'serious'. I also use the calendar and the tasklist, and I can look at my mails and calendar with one press on my smartphone. OK, it's free, but I'd be willing to pay something for it. Perhaps that would be the answer.

I used to use the email address offered by my ISP. Fine until the ISP went bust and was taken over by a company that didn't want to know about me and my (then) dial-up connection. I expected the email address to be removed when I cancelled the contract and that was a real disaster for me - all those clients out there with an out-of-date email address. In the event, it has never been deleted (we're talking some years now) and I still receive occasional emails routed through my gmail account.

I have NEVER considered using my current ISP's email address. When I to link to their page, it's because it's an absolute necessity and everyone gives me a wide berth because they know that I'll soon be swearing, shouting and kicking. How any company could have such a totally unusable site really beats me! I would just LOVE to leave them, too but they have me by the short and curlies - mobile phones, etc all on a two-year contract etc.

I would never discriminate against anyone for having a gmail account. There are other ways of sniffing out scammers. I hope!

Sheila
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Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:42
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Three separate things Nov 27, 2011

It is worth noting that we are talking about three different things here...

The first one is the domain: this is the string that identifies your website address and/or email server. For example, www.translatorjohndoe.com. It is not (or should not) be bound to any other entity except you (the registrant), so in case the ISP/server farm etc. goes bust, you should be able to move it somewhere
... See more
It is worth noting that we are talking about three different things here...

The first one is the domain: this is the string that identifies your website address and/or email server. For example, www.translatorjohndoe.com. It is not (or should not) be bound to any other entity except you (the registrant), so in case the ISP/server farm etc. goes bust, you should be able to move it somewhere else. If you register it properly, it can stay with you forever (if you remember to pay the registration fees).

The second thing is the actual host (server) that is at the moment tied to the domain. It might be your ISP, but it does not have to be: I use ProZ hosting, for example. This is where your email (usually) goes, but it does not have to end up here - mail can be easily forwarded.

The third thing is the mail system you use: it can be a desktop client on your computer, a webmail service etc.

So, it is quite possible to: have your website (with your own domain) at your ISP, but route all your email to your gmail account and send all your gmail messages with the sender address set as your domain address. If you have a fixed IP, you could even host your website and basic mail exchange on your home network (not that I recommend it!) and still use Gmail for all your mail operations.

By the way, I also use Gmail, but as an online backup. That is, all incoming mail goes both to my Gmail account and my desktop client, also all outgoing mail is sent as a copy to Gmail (with a proper label set). That way I can retrieve mails I might have inadvertently deleted. I have also used it when I did not have access to my desktop, but with my Android phone it is no longer essential.
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Alexandra Pirotte (X)  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 21:42
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Lots of interesting comments Nov 27, 2011

Thank you all for your input. I agree with Neil and Sheila regarding the advantages of a Gmail address. My computers, tablet and smartphone all synchronize with Google (mail, tasks, calendar, and document backups), so it would be a real pain in the derrière to have to switch to another system. Plus, Google services are hardly ever down and I don’t think that the company is going away any time soon. Belgian ISPs, on the other hand, have given me so much grief over the years that I’d rather s... See more
Thank you all for your input. I agree with Neil and Sheila regarding the advantages of a Gmail address. My computers, tablet and smartphone all synchronize with Google (mail, tasks, calendar, and document backups), so it would be a real pain in the derrière to have to switch to another system. Plus, Google services are hardly ever down and I don’t think that the company is going away any time soon. Belgian ISPs, on the other hand, have given me so much grief over the years that I’d rather shoot myself in the foot than send additional business their way. And cable/satellite Internet is not an option either since I got rid of the "idiot box" ages ago.

Tomás and Ty’s comments made me see the benefits of a personalized email in terms of image. If I understand Jabberwock correctly, it is possible to register a domain name, use ProZ hosting instead of my ISP to link to that domain, and then have my mail redirected to my Gmail account. That would certainly be a good compromise for me. I will look into it.
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Oksana Gerasymets  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:42
Member (2012)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
gmail Nov 27, 2011

Jabberwock wrote:

It is worth noting that we are talking about three different things here...

The first one is the domain: this is the string that identifies your website address and/or email server.


Even more so. It is not about domains at all.

In the original post Alexandra Pirotte asked, "I have just read in a thread about translation scams that a query received from a Gmail address can be seen as a potential red flag. That got me worried since I use a Gmail address to communicate with my business contacts. Does that make me look unprofessional? "

It certainly does look suspicious if you receive a letter from a translation agency's hotmail or gmail address. There is a really good reason for that. I wouldn't bother answering since it is most probably a money extorting scam (the latest one has been discussed somewhere on proz.com). Companies always have corporative email addresses. Translators, on the other hand, don't. Some do, but mostly they don't bother. It's OK.

For those scams to work one should present oneself as a translator company. Freelancers, "gmailed" or not, are absolutely harmless.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:42
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
gmail with attachments can cause problems Nov 27, 2011

The same goes for other freebie email. US phone companies or cable companies apply strong spam filters and the emails will be delayed or will not arrive at all. I remember several nightmarish situations when the files sent by a translator or editor from Europe didn't go through...

 
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