An offer to translate China's Four Great Classical Novels from English into all languages - a scam?
Thread poster: Tania Samsonova

Tania Samsonova  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:29
Member (2007)
English to Russian
+ ...
Jul 28, 2012

I have received this message a couple of days ago, and at least one other translator I know received an identical one:

Dear (manager),

Our company is located in Kunming city of Yunnan Province, China. We are one of the major import and export companies in the southwest of China . we need to translate four books , They are《Dream of the Red Manson 》 for 1,075,000 words《Water Margin 》for734,321 words《Romance of Three Kingdoms》for 960,000 words《Journey to the West》for 820,000 words ,we hope you can translate from the English to French , German ,Russian , Italian ,Arabic and Portuguese .So can you translate ??If you can ,Please calculate the price by USD or Euro . I am Looking forward to hearing from your as soon as possible.Thank you! We hope to establish a long- term cooperation relationship with you. Hoping to have a pleasant cooperation with your esteemed company

May everything goes well .

Your reply would be very appreciated if in English.

Kunming Ao Qiao Bao Import & Export Co., Ltd, Yunnan, China

Please Contact :Yao Yunjie


I was quite puzzled as I know for sure that these novels have been translated into most languages before (here's the Wiki article on them), so I got curious and I wrote the following:

At least two of those were translated into Russian in 1950s and published.
>You will probably do better to find these existing translations than order a
>new translation from the English translation (which is not very good, at that).


Here's their response:

Dear sir .

Thanks for your letter .yes ,We need to re-translate these books .We are not only to re-translate ,but also re-publish them .So if we don't translate these books .We will not have the right to publish them .So we need to re-translate them .So if you can ??PLease send your quotation to us ,It will conveniet to consult with our director .We hope we can have a good cooperation in the future .

I am looking forward to your replying
Best wish
Mr yao


I strongly suspect that it is a scam, similar to one described here: http://www.proz.com/forum/scams/229813-scammer_identity_thief.html, especially when I consider that the e-mail address at which they wrote to me is not related to translation in any way and I don't use it for translation clients. Has anyone else received such e-mails? What do you think?

[Edited at 2012-07-28 07:16 GMT]


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:29
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Import & Export Co., Ltd Jul 28, 2012

Hi Tania,

aside from the fact you have stipulated that these novels have indeed been translated into all major languages, I am wondering what an Import & Export company has to do with the translation of novel.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 04:29
Chinese to English
Could just be incompetence Jul 28, 2012

1) Chinese companies often don't have corporate emails. Many legitimate business people use free webmail.

2) There are ongoing attempts to project Chinese culture to the world. Past translations of these classics are often pretty poor, and there is likely a need for updated versions.

Sometimes random little companies get involved - they know someone in some government department, and they think they can get a grant for a big "cultural project". So it could be honest. But you still don't want to be involved. Even if they are for real, the rates will be laughable, and the management chaotic.


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 22:29
German to English
+ ...
Why from English? Jul 28, 2012

Surely, these novels would be best translated directly from the Chinese? After all, if the old translations are no good, then that would presumably also mean the English ones.

Odd!


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:29
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
100% scam Jul 28, 2012

http://gzly.mofcom.gov.cn/website/comment/foreign/message.jsp
http://www.fraudwatchers.org/forums/showthread.php?p=151652
http://www.fraudwatchers.org/forums/showthread.php?t=49386


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 04:29
Chinese to English
Lack of qualified people Jul 28, 2012

There are quite likely literally no good translators from Chinese into Arabic - there are only five offering that pair on all of Proz! You'd think that there might be a decent translator into Portuguese in Macau, but maybe they're too busy gambling down there.

It kind of makes sense that they should think about going through English as an intermediary language.

But still, the rates will be pitiful. I bid on a similar project (different book, big classic history of China) a little while back, and got nowhere. The government wants to make Chinese culture accessible to the world, but it hasn't yet come to terms with the fact that that's going to cost a lot of money.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:29
Russian to English
+ ...
Why would anyone want to translate novels from any other language Jul 28, 2012

than the original. It cannot really be done. It is the sign of the company's complete incompetence. Some advertising materials can sometimes be first translated into one language, and then into other languages: food labels, and things like that, but not novels or poetry. Novels are not really translated -- they are being recreated in another language.

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Tania Samsonova  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:29
Member (2007)
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That closes it Jul 28, 2012



Thanks Natalie, this is a definite answer!


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