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Poll: Have you ever been scammed in your translation career?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 18:47
Aug 10, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever been scammed in your translation career?".

This poll was originally submitted by Claudia Pérez Snead. View the poll results »


Patricia Charnet
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:47
English to French
yes Aug 10, 2012

only once on this siteicon_frown.gif

been careful since


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Aug 10, 2012

Only once, via proz, by a Chinese outsourcer calling himself Tommy something. I did a short (good) translation and never heard any more about it.

I also did a lengthy translation trial for a Hungary-based outfit (which I was supposed to be paid for) who later disputed the amount of words translated, which I take very personally, so I told them to stuff it. I consider that I was taken of advantage there too.


Emmanuelle Hingant  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:47
English to French
Yes, in spite of advance payment Aug 10, 2012

I received an email through Proz from this person I didn't know.

For some reason, I got suspicious of him and asked for advance payment which I don't usually ask for. But I took the risk. He sent me a PayPal e-cheque so I worked on his project for a whole week-end. I delivered on the Monday morning and seconds after delivery, the e-cheque had disappeared from PayPal (it hadn't "cleared"). Then I realised the e-mail address was a fake, etc. I tried to contact the end client, who had not heard of any translation...

Not a pleasant experience but I am now more careful. However, our business is a lot based on trust and if you don't trust new clients at the very beginning, you could end up with no client at all.



Chun Un  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Not yet... Aug 10, 2012

I don't deal with clients from certain countries. icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2012-08-11 07:50 GMT]


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Depends - I voted other Aug 10, 2012

I have on one occasion given in to a persistent telephone caller who sold me a first-aid course for my firm - every firm should have someone capable of first aid.

To my objections he pointed out that more accidents happen in the home than elsewhere, and that you never know when it might save a life just on the street...

I never attended the course - it meant driving a fair distance and giving up a day's work. It may have been OK, but the way it was sold was not.

The other scams here are having an entry in a 'directory' that nobody ever uses, but the subscription escalates - and I have managed to resist those.

I have never given in to requests for interpreting, because I don't do interpreting. (And would hate the Reverend I Maswindler's wife ... ) I'm never tempted.

I don't suppose direct marketing counts as a scam - the people are usually selling real products that they hope I will be gtateful for! Though some of the claims are more in the realm of fantasy than I would pay for.
Revolutionary new mobile telephony to keep me in touch with my employees... (One seller claimed his phone could run any program when I mentioned Trados, and was only slightly put out when I said I never call myself icon_biggrin.gif ) People selling better lighting at a fraction of the cost... fantastic energy savings, tax evasion, er, I mean reduction ... and the like all get told to leave me alone - I'm not convinced!

Weekend wishes from a grumpy old cynic!


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Only .5 times Aug 10, 2012

Once I was contacted by an "outsourcer" via my ProZ profile page shortly after I joined the site. All seemed to have been "serious" business until I was told that I could only be paid in Travellers' checks.... Considering this, I was scammed really only almost (0.5 x), since I hadn't translated a single word.

"Almost" doesn't only count in horseshoes.icon_biggrin.gif


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:47
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Once, but partly my own fault Aug 10, 2012

Did a translation for an agency which after several reminders and about eight months, "paid" me with a cheque which bounced.
I should have checked the Blue Board. The agency had been banned from ProZ after abysmal ratings. I now make a point of doing this check..


Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
English to French
No Aug 10, 2012

If a scam doesn't include bankruptcy. All my invoices have always been paid in full.

But since 1999, I have been unlucky/silly twice and worked with two returning outsourcers who went bankrupt within 10 years of each other.
None was contacted through, but through a cold application and a recommendation from... a colleague!
Overall, EUR5200 lost.



James A. Walsh
Local time: 03:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Just once via ProZ Aug 10, 2012

About 5 years ago by what turned out to be a fly-by-night agency in Austin, Texas. Luckily it was only a very small job, so the invoice was only around US$50. Taught me a lesson though!


Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 05:47
Italian to Russian
+ ...
only once Aug 10, 2012

.. I think


Andrea Munhoz  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:47
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Once Aug 10, 2012

A small job and NOT via ProZ.

Actually, when I checked the Blue Board afterwards, the guy's there and got what he deserves, at least on this site.


Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:47
English to Spanish
+ ...
Define "scammed" Aug 10, 2012

The first thing that came to mind was the traditional Nigerian scam. You know, emails purporting to offer a large sum of money in exchange for bank info. Or other emails promising money in exchange of forwarding the offending email to all your friends. I can't believe any sentient person would fall for those though.

Now, one thing is to be scammed, another thing is to be a victim of fraud (nonpayment of a billed job, for example). The risk of fraud is inherent in all business dealings; that's why due diligence is paramount.

So, I would suggest a better clarification of the term "scammed." Better yet, let's stay away from American English colloquialisms.


Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:47
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Scammed as in... Aug 10, 2012

..taken for a ride?

Thank you for asking for clarification on this point @Mario! icon_smile.gif

Getting less and less, though there are still lowlifes out there who will take advantage of your good nature at the drop of a hat even though they run an ISO-accredited company ("Remember me, punk?" say with Dirty Harry voice).
Even though you may think you are more experienced and apt at spotting these the older you get, you will eventually bump into another but on a less frequent basis.

Belieive me, even in front of a computer you need street smarts!


Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:47
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
only once! Aug 10, 2012

A woman posted in a translator's page on Facebook that she needed translators for a project. Work was slow at the time so I took it.
I found out later she had scammed several other people the same way: contracting others to do translations, collecting their money and vanishing. I never got paid in spite of numerous emails, etc. It was about 300 EUR. Another one of her victims got scammed for the same amount.

I know I can't post her name, but anyone who wants to know, just contact me! she is probably still out there. I was also warned by a translator who is a member to avoid a local agency, Nestor Systems, known to be a bad payer. They later went bankrupt and owed thousands to a number of contractors. They'd actually contacted me for a job but I knew about them and said no! not long after that they went bankrupt. I dodged that bullet!

As for facebook, I left the translator's groups and never accepted another job that way again.

also, i once did a job for a client and the END client refused to pay. Apparently they had a reputation as bad payers and she didn't know. They had scammed two other translators already: their scam was telling the agency that they refused to pay because of 'quality issues'. I and the other translator had been paid so she took the hit. SHe said if she'd known, she'd never have dealt with them.

[Edited at 2012-08-10 16:05 GMT]

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