How can a translator make certain that a company he/she is about to work for is a bona fide one?
Thread poster: Konstantinos Karanikas B.Sc. Electr. Eng., MITI

Konstantinos Karanikas B.Sc. Electr. Eng., MITI
Local time: 14:30
English to Greek
+ ...
Oct 11, 2004

Hello everyone,

I have recently been contacted by a firm in France about a potential project. I was sent a sample and went on to state my offer.

I have been conned once in the past, by a non-existent UK translation company for which I actually worked on a project and lost about 690 pounds sterling. They had even called me on the phone!

I definitely need to check out whether the firm is a bona fide one. You see, we only learn the hard way.

The firm do not have a website I could visit and check out. I only have a name, address and phone/fax numbers. The firm is not a ProZ member.

How do I make certain that they actually exist as a firm?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you in advance.


Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:30
English to German
+ ...
Create a BlueBoard entry to start with Oct 11, 2004

Hi Konstantinos,
One way to start is to check the BlueBoard; if there isn't an entry, you can create one - this will trigger requests to all members who have activated that function.

You could also check mailing lists covering payment practices.

Also, you can check whether you can find references regarding the company concerned - in the phone directory, for example.

HTH, Ralf


Antonella Andreella (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:30
German to Italian
+ ...
A little help Oct 11, 2004

Dear Konstantinos,

I would
1) enter the agency name in the Blue Board here at so as to know something about the opinion of other peers;
2) call the agency using the phone number they provided;
3) send a request to other mailing lists such as Payment Practices, by Ted Wozniak (free) at
or TCR by Laura Hastings (not free)




Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:30
English to Dutch
+ ...
malafide/bonafide agencies and how to learn more Oct 11, 2004

You indeed never know for sure.

But you could start your investigation by entering a query at

And do you have their VAT number and registration number? All French companies need to be registered at the "Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés".

Or you could simply get in touch with e.g. Dun&Bradstreet France, which have recently (October 1) been acquired by Fininfo (via their BIL Holding). Do Google a bit first for more info.

Good luck!


Konstantinos Karanikas B.Sc. Electr. Eng., MITI
Local time: 14:30
English to Greek
+ ...
No results through Google! Oct 11, 2004

Thank you all for your suggestions!

Googling did not produce any results! This is the first thing I do these days, anyway, and that got me suspicious!

I must resort to checking by other means as you have suggested.

I specifically requested that a PO be sent to me, in case they assigned me the project. At the moment, I do not have a VAT number.


Sara Freitas
Local time: 13:30
French to English
Try searching the business registry in France Oct 11, 2004

at this link:

Good luck!



Jörgen Slet  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:30
English to Estonian
+ ...
Seems that I just created the relevant Blueboard entry Oct 11, 2004

The client that Konstantinos described sounded just like a non-payer I dealt with. No website, no Blueboard entry, no Google results. I was now able to find them in the French business registry suggested by Sara however. So I quickly created a Blueboard entry and sure enough, it seems to be this very agency.


Jeremy Smith  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:30
French to English
+ ...
Make sure you check the Blue Board Oct 11, 2004

Is it an agency? If so, do check the Blue Board and other payments practices lists. I'm thinking in partiucular of a French agency that has continually defaulted on payment for me. I now have to use debt recovery agent to get my money. The agency I'm thinking of has sixteen reviews on the Blue Board now, all of them extremely negative.


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How can a translator make certain that a company he/she is about to work for is a bona fide one?

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