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False translators, true agencies
Thread poster: Arnaud HERVE

Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:39
English to French
+ ...
Jun 21, 2009

I would like to know if there is a policy against people who register as individual translators, but in fact never translate themselves, and sub-contract everything to true translators.

That is, in fact, they are translation agencies operating on the black market.

PS: I would like to stress that I am not aiming at true translators who need help from colleagues from time to time. No problem about that. I am aiming at those for whom it is the business plan not to work by themselves, and to behave permanently as agencies.


 

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:39
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Why should we care? Jun 21, 2009

As long as someone stays within the confines of contract law, civil law and criminal law, it's really no business of mine what he or she actually does. Nor is it yours. And there is no "black market" for translation, though one could certainly say there are many black sheep.

Really, we all have more important concerns.


 

Carla Guerreiro  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:39
French to Portuguese
+ ...
I agree with Arnaud Jun 21, 2009

I agree with Arnaud and I think that incomplete profiles (with no mention of diplomas, specializations, language pairs, etc) shouldn't be validated: not a long time ago, I read a post in the French blog from a translator who received a nigeran scam message... directly from someone having a profile on Proz.

 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:39
French to German
+ ...
Be more precise... Jun 21, 2009

My definition of the black market/moonlight work is that money changes hands against services without any invoice being issued by - in this case - the service provider. Furthermore, the money earned in such a way is not declared to the fiscal authorities.

As far as I know, and at least in France, you cannot take any margin from OPW when you are a freelancer without legal personality ("Entreprise individuelle").

My 2 cents so far.

Laurent K.


[Edited at 2009-06-21 18:36 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Jun 21, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:
As long as someone stays within the confines of contract law, civil law and criminal law, it's really no business of mine what he or she actually does. Nor is it yours. And there is no "black market" for translation, though one could certainly say there are many black sheep.
Really, we all have more important concerns.


Exactly my point. This is a non-regulated market, and therefore anybody can advertise him/herself as a translator and in fact spend his/her time making doughnuts in the kitchen. I don't care. I care about what I offer and my main concern is to offer something that is worth buying.

[Edited at 2009-06-21 19:49 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why? Jun 21, 2009

ScottishWildCat wrote:
As far as I know, and at least in France, you cannot take any margin from OPW when you are a freelancer without legal personality ("Entreprise individuelle").


Yes, I think that is the same in Germany. As a Spaniard I don't quite get why this is so. Do you get special (lower) taxes being a translator than if you are selling other people's work? (Not the case in Spain, where taxes are in the end more or less the same in both situations).


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Did you mean in Proz.com? Jun 21, 2009

Arnaud HERVE wrote:
I would like to know if there is a policy against people who register as individual translators, but in fact never translate themselves, and sub-contract everything to true translators.


Do you mean in Proz.com, in particular? In that case, I don't think they have such a policy.

Can you explain why this distinction would be important in your opinion?


 

Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:39
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Precisions Jun 21, 2009

ScottishWildCat wrote:

Be more precise


Hi ScottishWildCat. To be more precise what I mean is :

- Using the collaboration of other translators at a lesser price, i.e. making a profit of it

- Bidding or advertising with the intention of having the job done by other translators

- Making this a regular practice, and not exceptionally

The whole together means, in fact, someone registering as a translator whereas s/he should register as an agency. The main intention being, obviously, to escape taxes as an agency.


 

Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:39
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
shady area Jun 21, 2009

Well, it does get a bit tricky in cases like this one:

A translator got a well-paid job from an agency and then asked other translators (including myself) via mass email whether anybody would be interested in doing the translation - at a much lower rate than what the agency was going to pay her.

This would be OK if the agency was informed about it, but I strongly doubt that. The agency was spending good money in order to get the best possible translator and awarded the project to one particular translator who they thought was qualified. The much lower rate offered by the outsourcing translator, however, and the mass mail seem to indicate that she, on the other hand, was aiming at the lowest bidder, qualifications much less important.

This is a case where I coincidentally had noticed the job being offered first by a reputable agency. I don't know how many times this happens without anybody noticing it.

This is similar to agencies about to submit a tender for highly paid government jobs. They recruit translators with the highest qualifications by offering extremely high rates. The translators submit proof of the qualifications, certifications, degrees, only to never hear again from those agencies who - after being awarded the contract - have the work done by much cheaper translators not in possession of the required qualifications.

I'm not sure about the legal standing in this type of cases, but IMO this comes pretty close to fraud.


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:39
French to German
+ ...
Non-commercial benefits Jun 22, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Yes, I think that is the same in Germany. As a Spaniard I don't quite get why this is so. Do you get special (lower) taxes being a translator than if you are selling other people's work? (Not the case in Spain, where taxes are in the end more or less the same in both situations).


Hi Tomás,
speaking of France: from a fiscal / legal point of view, freelance translators provide services and therefore fall into the category of non-commercial benefits. This to the contrary, agencies sell products (translations made by third parties) and take a margin on them. The benefits made are commercial and are taxed in a different way.


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:39
French to German
+ ...
EU translations too Jun 22, 2009

Heike Behl, Ph.D. wrote:
This is similar to agencies about to submit a tender for highly paid government jobs. They recruit translators with the highest qualifications by offering extremely high rates. The translators submit proof of the qualifications, certifications, degrees, only to never hear again from those agencies who - after being awarded the contract - have the work done by much cheaper translators not in possession of the required qualifications.

I'm not sure about the legal standing in this type of cases, but IMO this comes pretty close to fraud.


One translation agency did at least once last year while submitting their offer for EU-related translations.

Greed, once rooted in the human mind, is an octopus-like beast that never gets enough food.

Laurent K.

Edit: I find it rather curious, to say the least, that agencies can get such contracts before they have drummed translators together. I have no idea about the submission procedure, but guess a) that there is much red tape involved and b) that agencies get such contracts only on behalf of their written submission. This means the end client doesn't bother to check whether the conditions stated in the submission are met or not.

[Edited at 2009-06-22 09:10 GMT]


 

nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:39
English to French
+ ...
EU translations - some insights Jun 22, 2009

The issue as explained by Laurent and Heike was discussed at different proz conferences (in Germany I think and in Budapest too) where a EU project manager was there.

They are more or less aware of the situation, but ignoring the identity of the high profile translators, EU cannot contact them to check even if they are sometimes suspicious.

I worked as an IT consultatnt before - the situation was exactly the same : my agency answered to some EU bid insisting that they had hired high-profile developpers, then they got the job and assigned it to some less-payed newbies under supervision of a PM - only the PM was in contact with the EU people, but not the developpers.

The only thing is that if the final result is sub-standard, then the provider (being IT or translation agency) gets a low ranking on EU list of providers. Next time when he submits a bid again he will not be short-listed, even if his answer seems very brilliant, which means that he will not be given the chance to upgrade his low ranking. After a few times he will even go out ot the list of possible providers !


 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Why should we care? A bit flippant, dontchatink? Jun 22, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:

As long as someone stays within the confines of contract law, civil law and criminal law, it's really no business of mine what he or she actually does. Nor is it yours. And there is no "black market" for translation, though one could certainly say there are many black sheep.

Really, we all have more important concerns.



Why shouldn't we care? This is supposedly a 'community' and why should the community have to tolerate fraudulent behaviour? Especially the kind that preys on people's feelings of 'belonging' to Proz and relies on their gullibility to believe that a "fellow Prozian" only means well?


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't count me in, please! Jun 22, 2009

writeaway wrote:
Why shouldn't we care? This is supposedly a 'community' and why should the community have to tolerate fraudulent behaviour? Especially the kind that preys on people's feelings of 'belonging' to Proz and relies on their gullibility to believe that a "fellow Prozian" only means well?


Sorry, I am not "the community". I am me, myself, and my circumstances! Please do not assume that you speak in my name when you speak about "the community", when it comes to regulating, prohibiting, changing rules.

A community is for sharing and respecting each person's business and attitude to life. Count me in for that. When it comes to prohibiting and letting a few criticize and rule over the rest... sorry I don't want to be in that boat. We already have too many rules and a detailed scrutiny of "the society" and "the community" into things that should be exclusively our private business. We don't need the same attitude in this "community".

Edited to add this: If we believe too much in "the community" to impose rules and govern our private life, it's not a "community", but a "soviet regime". Let's not wish for that folks.

[Edited at 2009-06-22 16:55 GMT]


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:39
French to German
+ ...
About the notion of community Jun 22, 2009

I guess we all more or less know the following lines:

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less... any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind...

Perchance he for whom this bell tolls, may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me... may have caused it to toll for me... and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.


[Edited at 2009-06-22 18:44 GMT]


 
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