Agency asking for consent to use translator's resume
Thread poster: Stéphanie Bellumat

Stéphanie Bellumat
Local time: 16:04
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
Jan 30, 2019

Dear colleagues,
I have just received the following message and I must say I am a little bit puzzled (my resume was accessible from my proz profile until this morning, but I have removed it as I am afraid other agencies or even scammers might use it without asking for my consent).
I would very much like to hear your comments on this.
Thank you all for your input.



Good Day,
Hope this e-mail finds you well.

This is XXX from HR depart
... See more
Dear colleagues,
I have just received the following message and I must say I am a little bit puzzled (my resume was accessible from my proz profile until this morning, but I have removed it as I am afraid other agencies or even scammers might use it without asking for my consent).
I would very much like to hear your comments on this.
Thank you all for your input.



Good Day,
Hope this e-mail finds you well.

This is XXX from HR department from XXX.


We would like to have your resume to submit it for being on this
potential project From English to French, and other upcoming
projects, and before we do so we would like your consent that you
agree on using your info to be submitted.

This consent does not form any legal binding from your side
towards XXX or ours towards you
regarding the outcome of this practice; since this is the primary
stage of applying to the project.
Once we receive a confirmation from our client that we are to
start with the project or to be starting, we will contact the
shortlisted qualified translators, or those who are selected by
our client in order to check and to fulfill any needed
confirmation regarding rates and testing. According to the outcome
of the second stage, shortlisting the qualified candidates that
were confirmed and agreed to start with the project after
confirming rates and quality, will be those to be working on the
project.

If you agree with the above please send us your consent for
approval for XXX to use your CV
and/or any provided data you may be disclosing to; us in order to
be used for the purpose of applying to projects related to
translation services and so we may retain it for future projects
that we may be contacting you for the same purpose for any
confirmed project of ours.


[Edited at 2019-01-30 09:37 GMT]
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:04
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Immediately discarded Jan 30, 2019

I would immediately discard any email that begins

"Good Day,
Hope this e-mail finds you well."

It tells me everything I need to know (including the fact that whoever wrote it doesn't have good command of the English language and may have learned some of it in Australia - but that doesn't matter).

I might skim quickly through the rest of the badly written message, but I already know what to expect.

This is a generic automated message sent
... See more
I would immediately discard any email that begins

"Good Day,
Hope this e-mail finds you well."

It tells me everything I need to know (including the fact that whoever wrote it doesn't have good command of the English language and may have learned some of it in Australia - but that doesn't matter).

I might skim quickly through the rest of the badly written message, but I already know what to expect.

This is a generic automated message sent out to a large number of people, probably selected at random from Proz users.

They want you to give them your CV and your permission to use it any way they like, in exchange for the vague promise of work (probably very badly paid) at some future stage. Do not reply.

It appears to be an agency trying to take part in a tender bid contest and trying to harvest the CVs of unknown people, which it would then submit with its bid to prove how many good translators it has on its books (but with whom it has never worked).

Never give your CV to anyone unless you clearly know who they are and why they want it.

[Edited at 2019-01-30 09:49 GMT]
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Stéphanie Bellumat
Kevin Fulton
Sabine Braun
Yolanda Broad
Joe Ly Sien
Christophe Delaunay
Sarah McDowell
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:04
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
Go for it Jan 30, 2019

Stéphanie Bellumat wrote:
I have just received the following message and I must say I am a little bit puzzled.


I always send my CV/résumé to anyone asking for it who appears to be someone that I might want to work with. If I had received the message you received, I would have sent them my CV/résumé without blinking. What is it about this message that puzzles you?


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:04
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Stéphanie Jan 30, 2019

The fact that they asked is very positive for me: agencies should only send CVs if authorized to do so and I suspect a good number doesn’t even bother to ask the translator for their consent…

Stéphanie Bellumat
Dan Lucas
ahartje
 

Stéphanie Bellumat
Local time: 16:04
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Tom and Samuel! Jan 30, 2019

Thank you Tom, you have perfectly summed up my sentiment about this message. I have a feeling that some dubious agencies ask for CVs from professional and reliable translators or download the CVs directly from Proz profiles, bid on projects and then turn to cheap manpower or even use MT, and you never hear from them again.

Tom in London
Sabine Braun
IanDhu
Vladimir Filipenko
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:04
Member (2012)
French to English
Hi Stéphanie Jan 30, 2019

I received the same email this morning and must admit, I find the impersonal nature of it quite off-putting. Not only that, I have spent a lot of time lately jumping through hoops to be accepted by agencies that I will never hear from again.

Tom in London
Stéphanie Bellumat
IanDhu
 

William Tierney  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:04
Member (2002)
Arabic to English
Shotgun is Giveaway Jan 31, 2019

Hi Stephanie,

Elizabeth getting the same message is a good indicator that Tom's assessment is right in this case. The agency may not have any bid at all and just want your resume. Your post is a good technique as a due diligence check!

On the other hand, I have had legit agencies with demanding clients who want to know CV data on the translators, so I take these on a case by case basis.

I have had two proven occasions where an agency took my background do
... See more
Hi Stephanie,

Elizabeth getting the same message is a good indicator that Tom's assessment is right in this case. The agency may not have any bid at all and just want your resume. Your post is a good technique as a due diligence check!

On the other hand, I have had legit agencies with demanding clients who want to know CV data on the translators, so I take these on a case by case basis.

I have had two proven occasions where an agency took my background documentation (if you are certified and/or have a graduate degree, you are a target) to win UN contracts. In both cases, they went to other translators. In one case, I found out when a client wanted a portion of a commercial code for an Arab country. I found the English version on the WIPO site. I brought this to the client's attention and they responded "Yes, we know. It is unreadable. Please translate it from scratch." The agency that had asked for my credentials was on the list of vendors.

Since then, I always ask for the point of contact for the "big project/tender/long-term contract," while giving my word that I won't bid directly. A legit agency has no problem with this; an agency intent on only using my credentials goes away.
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Stéphanie Bellumat
Vladimir Filipenko
 

Daniel Frisano
Czech Republic
Local time: 16:04
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
I wish everybody did that Jan 31, 2019

I really wish all agencies did that. It would result in tons of qualified work.

If they plan to use CVs as bait, they wouldn't ask for mine. They'd just fabricate them from scratch.

Recently I was contacted by an end client who found me through my CV, which I had never sent them, and I have reason to believe that they received it from an agency. It's not the first time that it happened either. More of this please.

[Edited at 2019-01-31 17:18 GMT]


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:04
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Be very careful Jan 31, 2019

Stéphanie,
I think your concern is valid. When I read your post, the text of that email sounded very familiar. I did a quick search in past forum topics, but could not find an old post with it - maybe someone else would be more successful finding it.
If I got this email, my first gut reaction would be to check the country of this agency. I have a mental list of countries that are a no-no for me, for reasons of increased business risk and fraud.

What they are asking from
... See more
Stéphanie,
I think your concern is valid. When I read your post, the text of that email sounded very familiar. I did a quick search in past forum topics, but could not find an old post with it - maybe someone else would be more successful finding it.
If I got this email, my first gut reaction would be to check the country of this agency. I have a mental list of countries that are a no-no for me, for reasons of increased business risk and fraud.

What they are asking from you is to allow them to do whatever they want with your information.
That sort of general, broad permission would allow scammers to submit garbage translations to their end clients after showing them YOUR resume. The end client may never realize (or only when it is too late) that they received garbage. Nonetheless, it could hurt your reputation.

It would also allow someone using your email address and credentials and outsource projects in your name. You would only know that when the actual translator would try to collect the payment from you. It did happen to someone here on ProZ, too. You would think if someone wanted to do this, they would not ask for your permission to use your CV. That is true, however, it is much easier for such people to create a mass email, send it to a lot of people and just wait for them to willingly send their resumes, instead of collecting CVs from websites, one by one. In addition, they will have your actual working email address, and perhaps other info that may be included in your email signature, but not in your resume.
If anyone comes after them (especially the first type of scammer), they can say, "Oh, but she gave us her CV willingly". As for the second type of scam (the identity theft) it is not them who would be using your CV and data, but perhaps someone else, related to them. They pass your info on, and if the source ever discovered, they would claim they were "hacked".

I know it sounds like a collection of conspiracy theories, but the truth is, these are actual things that happened, and most of them have been discussed on ProZ forums and other discussion boards.

I cannot say whether this particular email you received is one of these cases, all I am saying is that being concerned is not out of question.
The main problem is that as long as we want to show our credentials for potential clients, we are running the risk of those credentials getting into the wrong hands, and it is really not easy to prevent that.
Take care.
Katalin
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Yolanda Broad
Stéphanie Bellumat
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Maria Pia Giuseppina Nuzzolese  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:04
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
Silly question Jan 31, 2019

If someone is SO malicious...why would he/she need your permission? I mean, I can pretend to be an agency, get as many CVs as possible and start my scamming activity also WITHOUT the consent of the people involved. Is this just a matter of politeness?

 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:04
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
As explained above Feb 1, 2019

Maria Pia Giuseppina Nuzzolese wrote:

If someone is SO malicious...why would he/she need your permission? I mean, I can pretend to be an agency, get as many CVs as possible and start my scamming activity also WITHOUT the consent of the people involved. Is this just a matter of politeness?


In the classic bait and switch scenario, the agency uses the best CVs they can get their hands on to present to end clients, or to win tenders that require certain expertise, and once they get the contract, they switch to cheaper suppliers. If one of the translators finds out afterwards that his/her resume was used as "bait", and complains or tries to get legal remedies, the agency has this agreement on file where the translator specifically agreed to such use. If they did not have this permission, they may get sued, especially now with stricter data protection laws in place (at least in the EU).

In the case of the identity theft, again, if it is questioned why they collected and stored the data of this translator in their database (which then somehow got "hacked"), they have this permission on file.

And again, asking for "permission" is creating trust, so that the translator would willingly pass on their CV or other info. This email could be sent to people who don't have their Cvs published at public places. The whole scheme of asking permission could be precisely based on your reaction, where you think it doesn't make sense for this to be a scam.


[Edited at 2019-02-01 02:34 GMT]


Stéphanie Bellumat
Tom in London
Helen Shiner
Vladimir Filipenko
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Stéphanie Bellumat
Local time: 16:04
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Katalin and @William Feb 1, 2019

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:

In the classic bait and switch scenario, the agency uses the best CVs they can get their hands on to present to end clients, or to win tenders that require certain expertise, and once they get the contract, they switch to cheaper suppliers. If one of the translators finds out afterwards that his/her resume was used as "bait", and complains or tries to get legal remedies, the agency has this agreement on file where the translator specifically agreed to such use. If they did not have this permission, they may get sued, especially now with stricter data protection laws in place (at least in the EU).

In the case of the identity theft, again, if it is questioned why they collected and stored the data of this translator in their database (which then somehow got "hacked"), they have this permission on file.

And again, asking for "permission" is creating trust, so that the translator would willingly pass on their CV or other info. This email could be sent to people who don't have their Cvs published at public places. The whole scheme of asking permission could be precisely based on your reaction, where you think it doesn't make sense for this to be a scam.


[Edited at 2019-02-01 02:34 GMT]



I thought I was becoming paranoid, so I am really glad to read your post Katalin! The same thoughts came to my mind when I saw the message... people pretending to be trustworthy, trying to get my signed consent, using my CV as a bait and then turning to unqualified and cheap manpower to complete the translations.

Interestingly enough William, an agency contacted me a while ago (in a very bad English) for a UNDP bid (probably because they saw I had previous UN experience)... I needed to provide my CV, fill out multiple forms, complete 2 translation tests of 600 words each + an editing test of 1,000 words. I refused because this involves a lot of time and energy, and I thought if they win their bid, what guarantee do I have that they will send the work to me?


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:04
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Thanks Feb 1, 2019

Thanks Katalin for putting it all much better than I did.

One more thing: the mere act of replying to any email of the kind in question may constitute legal agreement. So it's best not to reply at all.

Any emails like that should go straight to the trash!


Stéphanie Bellumat
 

Laura Kingdon  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:04
Member (2015)
French to English
+ ...
Me too Feb 3, 2019

I came here looking for advice on this specific issue as I've received the same email three times now (and didn't respond to the first two because I wasn't sure how to diplomatically tell someone their request was just too weird...) I'm not sure what they intend to do, but it seems remarkably odd to me to ask for consent to use my resume without ever having seen it and without us agreeing on the basics first; what if they use my resume to apply for some project, the client agrees, and then they ... See more
I came here looking for advice on this specific issue as I've received the same email three times now (and didn't respond to the first two because I wasn't sure how to diplomatically tell someone their request was just too weird...) I'm not sure what they intend to do, but it seems remarkably odd to me to ask for consent to use my resume without ever having seen it and without us agreeing on the basics first; what if they use my resume to apply for some project, the client agrees, and then they tell me they only intend to pay $0.03 per word and I refuse to do the project at all?

Anyway, the agency sending these emails to me has a Blueboard rating of 3.9, so I wouldn't agree to work with them at any rate.
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Stéphanie Bellumat
 


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