Asked by agency to give a passport number or references
Thread poster: Chie. I

Chie. I  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 23:12
Partial member (2013)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Apr 24, 2013

Hi, thank you for all your help in advance.
I passed the agency's test, and then asked to register with passport copy or passport number.
Is this really necessary or should I decline this whole offer?

I also need to ask if I need reference for freelancers( not for the same agency as above)
Thank you, I do appreciate your kind help!


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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:12
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
hmmm could be dodgy Apr 24, 2013

why o why could an agency possibly need a copy of your passport? They could be genuine as they could have been a victim of translator identity theft in the past (it happens - check the forum archives) so they could be applying risk management. However, I would be very careful about passing on a copy of my passport because they could be identity thieves themselves.
Have you checked the agency out? Have you spoken to the person who you are in touch with on the phone number listed on the agency's website? In fact, have you read the fantastic article written by our colleague Tomás Cano on risk management for translators? You can search for it on the forum.

An agency may ask you for a reference although it is unusual for freelance work. They might be mixing up freelance work with employment. I personally suspect (call me cynical - or an ex salesperson) that sometimes agencies want references to fish for clients. If you give a reference for a direct client, they might be able to sell that direct client other language services that you can't sell them. Again, I would be reluctant to give a reference for freelance work. I'd rather give a sample of my work.


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Chie. I  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 23:12
Partial member (2013)
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Apr 24, 2013

Thank you, Marie-Helene,
I do not want to give away my identification in any case, though the agency itself
seemed large enough and have many notable clients (as I saw on the banner on the site)
We will be prone to many risks online, so I have great hesitation and wonder why they could not give alternative ways. Tomás Cano's case seemed to be related to test translation?


I would give a reference from a temp staff agency so there will not be a conflict of interest, but still I find it odd about mixing up of permanent contract and freelance contract.

The agency looked interesting, but I will make another effort to change the mixed up rule and just decline if rejected.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:12
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Educate your agencies ;) Apr 24, 2013

The idea of the passport, if I've got it right, is to make sure you are a "real" person. They think that means that you have a right to issue a legal invoice for your work, so they won't get problems from their tax authorities about possible money-laundering activities. But of course, being a real person doesn't give you many rights at all. I would think a large minority of translators are living outside of the country that issued the passport, and every country has its own rules about invoices etc (even within the EU). There are much better ways to prove that than with a passport.

If you're keen on working for this agency, it does present an ideal opportunity to get into personalised communication with them, and that's always a useful thing to do. If they are only interested in processing you, making your job difficult by having to use their inadapted interfaces, then forgetting about the payment, then that will probably become apparent from the way they handle queries now.

As for references, your client details are confidential and you're certainly not keen on them being rung at all hours (which happens in our international world) by agencies wondering what they thought of your work; if indeed that is their purpose - I share Marie-Hélène's concern there. Fortunately, you have one reference right here on ProZ.com: one client has left a WWA, and this is a reference in itself.


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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:12
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Article et al Apr 24, 2013

Here is the article in question:

http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Risk_management_for_translators_and_interpreters


Another point which Sheila reminded me of with regard to references is this: I probably have about 30 agencies I work with, with varying degrees of regularity. To get these 30 clients on board, I would say I probably have had to contact a few hundred over the time I've been working freelance.
Imagine if your one or two referrees had 200 calls. They'd soon ask you to refrain from suggesting them as referrees I would imagine, however happy they'd been with your work.
As Sheila says, if you have a WWA, that counts as a reference so you can just redirect them to your Proz profile.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ask the agency Apr 24, 2013

Why not just ask them if you feel that this requirement is unusual or suspicious? Maybe it's just red tape that is common in their particular area but not where you are located.

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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:12
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Suggest an alternative Apr 24, 2013

It is perfectly reasonable if you do not want to share your ID number or passport number. But instead of a flat "No" or "But this sounds like scam", it is much better to inquire why they need it. Even better is to show that you understand their problem and suggest an alternative solution.

A while ago a new Spanish client also sent me such a request. Here is what I replied:

I know that in Spain the ID number is also tax ID number. This is not the case in France, so I will include my SIRET number as well as my EU VAT number, as well as contact details: ...

And it worked perfectly well. Replace the French SIRET number with the tax number that you put on your invoice.

Best,
Attila


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:12
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
See... Apr 24, 2013

C. IZK wrote:
I passed the agency's test, and then asked to register with passport copy or passport number.


http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/241091-agency_asking_for_a_copy_of_my_passport.html#2078362

http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom_job_systems/243637-outsourcer_requiring_proof_of_identification.html#2098007


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Chie. I  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 23:12
Partial member (2013)
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Shared concerns Apr 24, 2013

Thank you all, maybe it is common in some country but not in ours.

I may show my identification if I meet enterprises in person,
and since they cannot do this, they have reason for doing this but just showing in office is one thing and
making a copy or giving the number is another
-especially if it is overseas and online.

I saw there are many alternatives, and just ask them to share my concerns.

I believe there are more agencies who work in more usual way before hiring and losing these does not effect my career as a whole. There is no reason to join in the behaviour that is less acceptable to others.

Thank you all again!


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