Question about possible scam
Thread poster: Rajdanae

Rajdanae  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 16:46
Japanese to English
+ ...
Apr 14, 2015

Hello ProZ community

After many years being employed as a translator by a Japanese company, I have started to work freelance very recently. Being new on ProZ, I am still getting used to the system thus my question may sound a little weird.

Anyway, I got a message offering a job between Japanese and English, and asking for my best rate, etc etc
After submitting what I consider being low rates (the work itself being quite simple), I received the following message:



"Thank you for your reply. We hope to work with you on our upcoming massive JA>EN project. Please read the factors and provide us with the information.

1. As a well-known fact, to translate technical terms correctly is always time consuming for translators. However, we can save you the time now by storing the translation of technical terms in TM (translation memory) of TRADOS, which means we already translated the technical terms for you. Moreover, since these words are included in the word count of the text for you to translate, we still pay you for those terms memorized.

2. It also prevents you from mistranslating technical terms, which lowers the chances of you from being deducted on your pay caused by mistranslation.

3. Up to now, there are 10 million translated text of the current project saved in TM. You can use “concordance” in TRADOS to duplicate the translation of technical terms. Therefore, it will save you a lot of time and also prevents mistranslation for you.

4. We are always here to assist you whenever you encounter words you are not familiar with. What an exciting news it is for the translator. You will never find any translation agency that does this without deduction. Not to mention that you still get paid for the job we do for you. Do accomplish that, we will send you a query sheet for your filling out translation problems, which will be solved by us.

5. The project will go on for about 100 days or longer. During which, you will receive about 300k characters to be translated. If you quote less than USD 0.03 per source character, the volume will be much larger than that. For such a huge project and considering our budget, a lower rate is economically suitable and it keeps you from worrying about your livelihood for several months.

6. Taking the job means that you have access to all our other projects, which amounts to tens of millions of words. This means that you will never run out of opportunities to work with us and at the same time, generate extra income.

7. Most of our translators with the exception of those with special mechanical translation experience of over 15 years have the rate of 0.03

Please carefully consider the above 7 factors and favorably give us a reduced rate ASAP as the project has already been initiated.

Should you be willing to accept, I have also included an attachment of a test for our current ongoing project. Upon successful completion and passing of the assessment, Note that you will be compensated accordingly with the assessment and it is mandatory for translators to complete the test before hired. *Please also attach a copy of your resume with the completed assessment*

We look forward to hearing from you"



So, I may be new on ProZ, but this still smells weird, and 0.03 per word is extremely low too. I know MT has become quite a problem, so please advise me on what seems to be the best course of action.

Thank you for your help!


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:46
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Don't get sucked into big word count promises Apr 14, 2015

First of all, welcome, Rajdanae!

Below my thoughts on the message you received:

Rajdanae wrote:

"Thank you for your reply. We hope to work with you on our upcoming massive JA>EN project. Please read the factors and provide us with the information.

...we can save you the time now by storing the translation of technical terms in TM (translation memory) of TRADOS...
...It also prevents you from mistranslating technical terms, which lowers the chances of you from being deducted on your pay caused by mistranslation...
...Up to now, there are 10 million translated text of the current project saved in TM. You can use “concordance” in TRADOS...

...We are always here to assist you whenever you encounter words you are not familiar with... You will never find any translation agency that does this without deduction. Not to mention that you still get paid for the job we do for you. Do accomplish that, we will send you a query sheet for your filling out translation problems, which will be solved by us...

...The project will go on for about 100 days or longer. During which, you will receive about 300k characters to be translated. If you quote less than USD 0.03 per source character, the volume will be much larger than that. For such a huge project and considering our budget, a lower rate is economically suitable and it keeps you from worrying about your livelihood for several months...
...Taking the job means that you have access to all our other projects, which amounts to tens of millions of words...

...Most of our translators with the exception of those with special mechanical translation experience of over 15 years have the rate of 0.03..."



First of all, it doesn't sound to me like a scam per se, but the agency sounds VERY dodgy and I would avoid them completely.

All of the "benefits" they claim to offer are par for the course -- half of them are just benefits you gain from using a CAT tool. The high word counts aren't that great, either, because if you accept a very low rate you will have to work 24/7 to make any money. Be wary of clients proclaiming to have "tens of millions of words".

What concerns me the most are the frequent allusions to "deductions" -- sounds like they do that as a standard action. I would avoid them like the plague, because the worst thing would be to work for a low rate only to be punished with a "deduction" for something that may or may not be the fault of the translator.

Also, I'm slightly insulted by this: "you still get paid for the job we do for you" -- because you submitted a query sheet?! All good translators ask queries from time to time, but this agency acts like it's something unusual that a translator would normally be "deducted" for.

And who cares what most of their translators are doing (which is either a lie, or they run a slave operation somewhere).

AVOID AVOID AVOID


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:46
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
It is not worthwhile to even reply to this kind of company, Apr 14, 2015

and in my experience, many Japanese companies pay peanuts.

 

Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 09:46
Member (2002)
English to Russian
What an exciting news it is for mechanical translators with 15-years experience Apr 14, 2015

Rajdanae wrote:

What an exciting news it is for the translator...

Not to mention that you still get paid for the job we do for you...

If you quote less than USD 0.03 per source character, the volume will be much larger than that...

For such a huge project and considering our budget, a lower rate is economically suitable and it keeps you from worrying about your livelihood for several months...

Most of our translators with the exception of those with special mechanical translation experience of over 15 years have the rate of 0.03...

We look forward to hearing from you...


Thanks for sharing this masterpiece, Rajdanae. What an exciting news it is for any translator, indeed!

I have already applied for this job, hoping they would be interested in an EN-RU translator with special mechanical translation experience of over 15 years. And I quoted USD 0.003, to ensure that the volume will be much larger than I can ever cope with.icon_smile.gif


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:46
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
AVOID Apr 14, 2015

Angela Rimmer wrote:
AVOID AVOID AVOID

Square AVOIDDDD

These people don't know who they are and they thought they are the feeder of the hungry translators.

We should let them know we are not that hungry.


 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:46
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
A newby thing Apr 14, 2015

When I first signed up here a couple of years ago, I received many emails of a similar nature.

I think there are agencies who are always on the lookout for new members and simply try their luck. You worked in-house before freelancing, so you will have an idea of the time required to produce a translation and you already know how much money you need to make and for how long you can concentrate. Therefore you question the rate on offer.
Many newcomers don't have that experience and this is basically, what these agencies are banking on. They want to sign translators up quickly, before these realise what normal rates and/or business practices are. For someone who has lost their job recently, and who is desperate to make a bit of money, who is probably not really looking for a career in translation, but is simply trying to bridge a gap, these offers may look quite tempting.

You will notice the term "bottom feeder" being mentioned fairly often on this site. The agency you have been in contact with represents that category of language service provider. It's not a scam per se. It simply is not a client one would choose to entertain.


 

Rajdanae  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 16:46
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you :) Apr 14, 2015

It is as I feared then! Thank you for your advice and comments!
Well, at least it made some of us laugh (sarcastically) to see how stupid some companies think we areicon_smile.gif


 

Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:46
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Replying is a CWT. Apr 14, 2015

Angela Rimmer wrote:

First of all, welcome, Rajdanae!

Below my thoughts on the message you received:

Rajdanae wrote:

"Thank you for your reply. We hope to work with you on our upcoming massive JA>EN project. Please read the factors and provide us with the information.

...we can save you the time now by storing the translation of technical terms in TM (translation memory) of TRADOS...
...It also prevents you from mistranslating technical terms, which lowers the chances of you from being deducted on your pay caused by mistranslation...
...Up to now, there are 10 million translated text of the current project saved in TM. You can use “concordance” in TRADOS...

...We are always here to assist you whenever you encounter words you are not familiar with... You will never find any translation agency that does this without deduction. Not to mention that you still get paid for the job we do for you. Do accomplish that, we will send you a query sheet for your filling out translation problems, which will be solved by us...

...The project will go on for about 100 days or longer. During which, you will receive about 300k characters to be translated. If you quote less than USD 0.03 per source character, the volume will be much larger than that. For such a huge project and considering our budget, a lower rate is economically suitable and it keeps you from worrying about your livelihood for several months...
...Taking the job means that you have access to all our other projects, which amounts to tens of millions of words...

...Most of our translators with the exception of those with special mechanical translation experience of over 15 years have the rate of 0.03..."



First of all, it doesn't sound to me like a scam per se, but the agency sounds VERY dodgy and I would avoid them completely.

All of the "benefits" they claim to offer are par for the course -- half of them are just benefits you gain from using a CAT tool. The high word counts aren't that great, either, because if you accept a very low rate you will have to work 24/7 to make any money. Be wary of clients proclaiming to have "tens of millions of words".

What concerns me the most are the frequent allusions to "deductions" -- sounds like they do that as a standard action. I would avoid them like the plague, because the worst thing would be to work for a low rate only to be punished with a "deduction" for something that may or may not be the fault of the translator.

Also, I'm slightly insulted by this: "you still get paid for the job we do for you" -- because you submitted a query sheet?! All good translators ask queries from time to time, but this agency acts like it's something unusual that a translator would normally be "deducted" for.

And who cares what most of their translators are doing (which is either a lie, or they run a slave operation somewhere).

AVOID AVOID AVOID



I would simply trash it as an insulting message. I don't do tests as I did it right at the beginning and never got a reply, they were like 6 or 7. 0.03 is nothing and doesn't pay the time sitting.icon_frown.gif


 

Fiona Robson
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:46
Member (2005)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
USD 0.03 per source character Apr 14, 2015

Has anybody noticed, the rate of USD 0.03 offered by this Japanese company is per character, not per word. That's not a bad rate!! I am doubtful though - I'll bet they have made a mistake.

 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:46
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Not a mistake, just a poor rate Apr 14, 2015

Fiona Robson wrote:

Has anybody noticed, the rate of USD 0.03 offered by this Japanese company is per character, not per word. That's not a bad rate!! I am doubtful though - I'll bet they have made a mistake.


Generally Japanese translation is charged per character, given that 1 Japanese character generally equals 2.5 English words. So the suggested rate works out to be VERY low if you consider the per word rate -- something like USD 0.012 per English word.


-- or did I calculate that wrong?

[Edited at 2015-04-14 13:25 GMT]


 

Viesturs Lacis  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 10:46
Member (2014)
English to Latvian
I believe it's the other way round Apr 14, 2015

Angela Rimmer wrote:
Generally Japanese translation is charged per character, given that 1 Japanese character generally equals 2.5 English words. So the suggested rate works out to be VERY low if you consider the per word rate -- something like USD 0.012 per English word.

-- or did I calculate that wrong?

[Edited at 2015-04-14 13:25 GMT]

...which would result in an average rate of USD 0.075 per English word.


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:46
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Oops! Apr 14, 2015

Viesturs Lacis wrote:

Angela Rimmer wrote:
Generally Japanese translation is charged per character, given that 1 Japanese character generally equals 2.5 English words. So the suggested rate works out to be VERY low if you consider the per word rate -- something like USD 0.012 per English word.

-- or did I calculate that wrong?

[Edited at 2015-04-14 13:25 GMT]

I believe it's the other way round...which would result in an average rate of USD 0.075 per English word.


Ah! I started to second-guess myself, apparently because I was wrongicon_smile.gif

Still, is USD 0.075 per English word THAT great? I suppose it's WAY better than USD 0.012 per word in any caseicon_wink.gif


 

Rajdanae  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 16:46
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Japanese characters Apr 15, 2015

Japanese is a weird language to translate...
Sometimes one JP character will be translated as one EG word, sometimes to two or more EG words, and sometimes 4-5 JP characters will turn into one EG word... leading to very difficult invoicesicon_razz.gif

For example
薬 is "medicine"
薬剤 becomes "pharmaceuticals"
治せる can be translated as "curable"...

In many cases, Japanese companies work through translation companies, and the middle-man taking his cut, the translator gets peanuts...


 


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