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Anyone being tracked by translation agencies?
Thread poster: Robert Schlarb

Robert Schlarb  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:19
German to English
+ ...
Nov 22, 2013

Strange thing happened today. I, as presumably one of many on a mailing list, got one of those familiar requests from India for a quote with my "best rate" on a translation project in one of my language combinations. Nothing strange about that, true. Yet, actually reading through the invitation, I discovered the job was in the area of Computational Fluid Dynamics, a field that I have no experience in really, except that yesterday evening I did a Google search for just this term while researching a current job. I have no business relationship and no further knowledge of the agency that contacted me.
Not being superstitious, I rather wonder (what with Prism and such threatening our privacy) whether translators are being spied on, either to screen them for documented skills, to sap their customer bases, or for some other reason unimaginable for a less than diabolical mind.

Anyone else have an uncanny occurrences they are willing to share?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
As far as I know Nov 22, 2013

Robert Schlarb wrote:
...except that yesterday evening I did a Google search for just this term while researching a current job. ... Not being superstitious, I rather wonder whether translators are being spied on...


Although I often see adverts about a topic that I googled for the previous day (or topics for which I visited sites that display Google adverts), I don't think that my identity is actually made known to anyone (not even to an advertiser). Google tracks me as I visit various sites, and Google then displays adverts from advertisers of similar products, but this all happens automatically and without any feedback to the advertiser about my identity.

I think that your occurence is simply chance.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:19
Member (2008)
French to English
LinkedIn? Nov 22, 2013

There's nothing as uncanny as LinkedIn's "You might be interested in..." Perhaps it's something similar?

I've noticed that when I visit LinkedIn, it will frequently suggest that I might be interested in companies that I have visited recently or people I have communicated with recently, but completely outside the LinkedIn platform. How do they do it?

Samuel Murray wrote:

Although I often see adverts about a topic that I googled for the previous day (or topics for which I visited sites that display Google adverts), I don't think that my identity is actually made known to anyone (not even to an advertiser). Google tracks me as I visit various sites, and Google then displays adverts from advertisers of similar products, but this all happens automatically and without any feedback to the advertiser about my identity.


That's obviously due to a Google tracking cookie. Since it's Google that both did the search and served up the ad, it can put the two together.

But how do LinkedIn or others make the connection when my visit to a company's site didn't involve either LinkedIn or a search engine?

[Edited at 2013-11-22 16:26 GMT]


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:19
Member
Italian to English
RFID Nov 22, 2013

They've been microchipping dogs and cats for years. Despite their assurances to the contrary, I am convinced it is only a matter of time.

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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:19
English
+ ...
What about this? Nov 22, 2013

I realize it was a Google search and not an email via gmail with that phrase, but perhaps this has something to do with it?

"Google reads every word of every email you send to or from a Gmail account in order to target you with ads. They read about your personal relationships, health information, finances, and more. It's illegal for someone to open and read your paper mail without permission, but Google reads every word of every single email you send or receive every single day.

In response to a lawsuit against Google for snooping through personal Gmail, Google claims that users have "no legitimate expectation of privacy" when it comes to their email. But, common sense says that's ridiculous; clearly, when you send a personal email to a friend or colleague, either on paper or online, you expect that the message will not be read to target you with ads."

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/429/574/063/

If they do it to emails....


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finnword1
United States
Local time: 13:19
English to Finnish
+ ...
Google does keep an eye on you Nov 22, 2013

It reads your searches and reads your e-mails, especially if you use a gmail address. Just another day a TV reporter sent an email to the colleague at the neighboring desk saying that he feels like having Chinese food tonight. Sure enough, an ad for a local Chinese restaurant popped up. They also tried a few similar messages with good success.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Petition misquotes Google Nov 22, 2013

Suzan Hamer wrote:
In response to a lawsuit against Google for snooping through personal Gmail, Google claims that users have "no legitimate expectation of privacy" when it comes to their email.
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/429/574/063/


This petition misquotes what Google said, and quotes out of context to boot. It is based on an unfortunate blog post which misquoted Google, and then corrected the misquote, but not before the misquote was propagated to the rest of the web where people don't check their facts when they repost stuff from blogs.

http://techland.time.com/2013/08/14/google-says-gmail-users-have-no-legitimate-expectation-of-privacy/

The quote also takes out of context what Google had said. Google said (in the paragraph that this quote purports to be a quote from) that when non-Gmail users send mail to Gmail users, they can't expect the mail server not to view the information in the mail, in the same way as users of a postal service who send postcards can't expect delivery personnel not to be able to view the information on the post card. The petition makes it sound as if Google had said that users of Gmail have no right to privacy.


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:19
French to English
+ ...
Probably coincidence Nov 22, 2013

Robert Schlarb wrote:
I discovered the job was in the area of Computational Fluid Dynamics, a field that I have no experience in really, except that yesterday evening I did a Google search for just this term while researching a current job.


In this specific case, it sounds like it's probably a coincidence. (Bear in mind the statistics: for how many thousand days have you done how many scores of Google searches on a daily basis and never been contacted by a company about a translation relating to those search terms?)

It used to be the case that if your browser was configured to know your e-mail address, this would be passed on to sites in any web request (read: any page you view). So if your browser was configured in this way, you did a search for "fluid dynamics", then clicked on one of the results and your browser passed on the e-mail address, the site would theoretically have a record of "user with e-mail address X visited our site with search term Y". However: most browsers nowadays aren't configured with e-mail addresses, and it is frankly unlikely that a company would be employing such a technique as a way of recruiting translators-- it would be far more effort and yield far poorer results than simply asking translators to submit their CVs.


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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:19
French to German
+ ...
Nothing surprises me anymore Nov 22, 2013

I have no idea how Robert could have been contacted by an agency after just googling a specific term, but as far as I know LinkedIn, Facebook etc. track you and everything you do outside their platforms if you let them, that is one of the reasons I will not sign up with any of them.

I have been using disconnect.me for a while now, which claims to let you "visualise and block the invisible websites that track you". When I visit the proz.com homepage I can see that there are actually 5 tracking requests, two from Google, one from Facebook, one from LinkedIn plus another one from a website called newrelic.

Not sure whether this actually helps. I guess we just have to get used to the fact that there is no such thing as privacy on the web - unfortunately. The powers that be don't seem to be concerned, after all some companies are making tons of money that way...


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:19
French to English
+ ...
Google ads misconception Nov 22, 2013

Suzan Hamer wrote:
"Google reads every word of every email you send to or from a Gmail account in order to target you with ads.


Google's systems scan e-mails and potentially any other data you offer up to them for the purposes of gathering derived data/statistics for their ad systems. (As an aside, this doesn't mean that "Google are reading your e-mails" in any meaningful way: that's essentially playing with semantics for sensational effect.)

But the ads system doesn't really disclose any detailed data to third party web sites. Although ads served by Google appear to the user as though they are inside the web pages of other sites, the Google system is effectively a self-contained unit. The web site that an ad appears in has no way of asking Google for things like users' e-mail addresses, or what keywords in their e-mails triggered what ads. And if you think about it: this is valuable information to Google-- why would they disclose it to other random third parties?


[Edited at 2013-11-22 17:11 GMT]


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Rossana Triaca  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 14:19
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
Cognitive Bias... Nov 22, 2013

Conspiracy theories aside, there is a much simpler explanation for this (quoted from Wikipedia):

The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, also known as frequency illusion, is the illusion in which something which has recently come to one's attention, such as a word or a name, suddenly seems to appear with improbable frequency shortly afterwards. The term was coined by a commenter on the St. Paul Pioneer Press online discussion board, after hearing the name of the German terrorist group twice in 24 hours.


Happens to me all the time!


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Could be Nov 22, 2013

Rossana Triaca wrote:

Conspiracy theories aside, there is a much simpler explanation for this (quoted from Wikipedia):

The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, also known as frequency illusion, is the illusion in which something which has recently come to one's attention, such as a word or a name, suddenly seems to appear with improbable frequency shortly afterwards. The term was coined by a commenter on the St. Paul Pioneer Press online discussion board, after hearing the name of the German terrorist group twice in 24 hours.


Happens to me all the time!


Sounds a bit like that thing where when you go out wearing a hat, or with an arm in a plaster cast, you start noticing lots of hat wearers with broken arms. I noticed it the last time I broke my wrist.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:19
Member (2008)
Italian to English
How to stop people from tracking you.... Nov 22, 2013

1. Install DoNotTrackMe. https://www.abine.com/dntdetail.php

2. Don't use Google. There are other options, such as StartPage https://startpage.com/do/mypage.pl?prf=a13d4673a0ff8189dada46d1786b59cd


For example, I just visited the website of the Guardian newspaper. 9 companies and 1 social network attempted to track me but were blocked. I know who they are.

[Edited at 2013-11-22 19:52 GMT]


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Texte Style
Local time: 19:19
French to English
linkedin Nov 22, 2013

John Fossey wrote:

There's nothing as uncanny as LinkedIn's "You might be interested in..."


I agree totally.

My new neighbour recently cropped up in the list! And yet there is absolutely nothing to connect us online. I don't have a gmail address, I have only my name and "Paris" in my LI profile since I only created it so the people who keep sending me invites are happy to have me in their list of contacts. I don't actually live in Paris but a suburb, and he is not officially living next door anyway, he is not registered anywhere as living there. I do know a friend of his girlfriend but I'm not friends with any of them on FB or anything and I don't even have their e-mails.

Just thinking out loud, perhaps he looked for my profile and so LI knows he knows me.

For the ads that crop up in relation to searches you've made, yes, that's normal and there are companies whose job it is to deal with that. I personally found it very annoying and off-putting, especially as I do a lot of translations for lingerie, so if I search for a term I then had half-naked women wrapped around everything... until I discovered AdBlock which is really wonderful!


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Petra_44  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:19
English to German
+ ...
It happens to everyone Nov 24, 2013

That doesn't have anything to do with the fact that you're a translator. It happens all the time: You search for anything online and suddenly, as if by miracle, you get those offers to buy just what you were looking for.

I think I managed to confuse the mechanism that's behind it, though. When I went on vacation to Japan, I took my laptop with me and went online through a LAN connection at various hotels.

And after I returned to Bavaria, I received advertisements for hotel deals in Munich - in Japanese!


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