Bizarre offer re. "cell phone testing"
Thread poster: LEXpert

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:24
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Jun 17, 2013

Not that I really considered it, but I received an e-mail from someone from the Polish branch of a large and leonine translation company, encouraging me to take part in a project to supposedly test cell phones for a company in LA. People are supposed to obtain prepaid phones or post-paid phones with a subscription from a provider in their country, test out the phone's functions (web, sms, etc.), and then send the activated phone (with SIM card!) to the company in LA for "further testing".
You would continue to pay the phone bill, which the translation company promises to reimburse each month based on your invoice. For your trouble, you would receive a modest "management fee" per line/phone.

Even if the "phone testing" is on the level (maybe some kind app developer trying to figure out if their apps will work on various combinations of providers and devices throughout the world?), sending your activated phone to someone you don't know is probably a monumentally bad idea.







[Edited at 2013-06-17 16:56 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-06-17 16:58 GMT]


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 08:24
English to Polish
+ ...
That could make a contract breach vis–à–vis the provider Jun 17, 2013

As per title. Such an arrangement might be in violation of the terms and conditions of the telecom provider, in addition to the concerns you mentioned.

I've noticed that the translation 'industry' has a tendency to incorporate some tasks and ventures that aren't really translation but somehow involve the language, but I'm not normally interested in any of that.

I generally tend to stay away from such super deals.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:24
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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Smells fishy Jun 17, 2013

I would not participate. They do not need a translator for that. They can use regular users, which they can find in any shopping centre.

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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:24
German to English
Continuing to pay the phone bill -- ?? Jun 17, 2013

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

You would continue to pay the phone bill, which the translation company promises to reimburse each month based on your invoice. For your trouble, you would receive a modest "management fee" per line/phone.


[Edited at 2013-06-17 16:56 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-06-17 16:58 GMT]


Continuing to pay the phone bill makes this stink. Do you provide credit card information? If so, it stinks even more.


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:24
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Yeah, right... Jun 18, 2013

So, you order a phone, in your own name, and pay the bills (and let's say you do get reimbursed), while someone else is using it for who knows what purpose... If the phone is tracked or traced for a criminal investigation, you would be on the hook.
I would very much question the legitimacy of any "translation company" who would take part in such an arrangement.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Are translators considered gullible people? Jun 18, 2013

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
I've noticed that the translation 'industry' has a tendency to incorporate some tasks and ventures that aren't really translation but somehow involve the language, but I'm not normally interested in any of that.


While I do go beyond translation often (e.g. DTP; video editing, subtitling & dubbing, DVD authoring, etc.), I wouldn't touch this phone testing assignment with a barge pole.

For some reason, the concept of 'translators being gullible people' has entered the general culture. IMHO this probably stems from numerous desperate bilingual individuals around the world who will undertake a translation job for peanuts in order to - as we say in Brazil - buy milk for their children.

When someone's health and well-being is at stake, nobody will take chances. They won't offer a licensed physician (actually, they won't 'offer' anything, they'll be charged fees) what they'd expect to pay a healer under a tent at some carnival fair.

However translation... let the reader try to figure out what they mean there. If they can't, blame their illiteracy, not the cheap amateur who translated it.


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Simona Micutari  Identity Verified
Sweden
English to Romanian
+ ...
wow Jun 18, 2013

What an odd, creepy scam! That's really shady on so many levels... I'm not sure how they can even get away with something like that.

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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 08:24
English to Polish
+ ...
That might be one of the causes Jun 18, 2013

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

For some reason, the concept of 'translators being gullible people' has entered the general culture. IMHO this probably stems from numerous desperate bilingual individuals around the world who will undertake a translation job for peanuts in order to - as we say in Brazil - buy milk for their children.


But another one could also be the fact that translators just can't be specialists in everything -- I mean substantive specialists, not translation specialists in a field. Amidst the general corner-cutting proofreaders are cut out of the loop and specialist consultants (professionals from other fields who are bilingual or highly proficient) are no longer consulted. When that happens, the agency will get scoffed at by the same client who had scoffed at the agency's full regular fees, and the agency just might pass that on to the translator.

Yet another is the hackneyed slogan that, 'the customer [or at least 'client'] is always right,' which has no place in a profession. If a non-lawyer (non-jurist for where 'lawyer' implies bar admission and licence to practice) tries to argue a point of law with me when not actually being right (an accountant could be better at tax law, a copyright rep at copyright law, perhaps an economist at some aspects of business law, why not), then I tell him to go sign up at law school and come back after graduating. I'm inclined to do the same in matters of language when faced by amateurs and their demands, but most translators are not.

... Instead, they adopt some kind of coping mechanism wherein every single proofreader or reviewer is right when correcting or evaluating them, no matter that such opinions would be found mutually exclusive of each other in any normal comparison. Okay, I'm exaggerating, but this impression is not without foundation.

Plus, translators allow amateurs to request rewrites without a good reason, and that makes amateurs think they're better writers themselves than translators are. As a result, they stop valuing the translators' education, and they start to think that translators are probably idiots because with all those degrees they know less than whoever requests and gets a rewrite, while an intelligent person having received a comparable amount of education should really be a competent expert.

This is why I'm quite terse with DYI proofreaders and reviewers or professional ones that fail in their roles. (Doesn't apply to people who are just double checking in order to make sure nothing slips or others raising their doubts respectfully.)


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