Thread poster: Michael Newton

Michael Newton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:39
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Apr 24, 2015

Today I received a customized email which offered me a humongous number of Japanese characters with a very tight turnaround time (easily worth several thousands of dollars (in Japanese this would be referred to as "oishii hanashi"). After I filled in their on-line application, I was shunted to a "membership page" and told to pay $120 for a "membership" which would allow me to bid on the project. (this is a translator website which I used to belong to but stopped because they never listed the end-client).Needless to say, I went no further as theoretically they could send "customized" emails to many dozens of translators and garner a considerable amount of revenue from memberships with only several "lucky" translators. This looks like a lottery and I am not a gambling man. Making bids on projects is part of the system on and everyone knows the stakes. But think if started a "pay-to-play" system, who would respond? Perhaps there are other translators who have been contacted about this "pay-to-play" system.
Michael Newton
Boston, MA USA


Teresa Borges
Local time: 04:39
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Scam? Apr 24, 2015

I can’t tell if this is a scam or not, but as far as I know most (all?) online freelance job portals like are membership-based. What is covered by this $120 membership fee? Isn’t this an annual membership?


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:39
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The concept Apr 24, 2015

All honest translation portals - like Proz and a bunch of others - will allow free users AND paid subscribers. The latter will have some additional privileges, however free users will not be precluded from seeing and bidding for jobs, though often in less favorable conditions than paying members.

This is done to enable free users to see what's in for them IF they decide to pay for the membership. I registered with all such honest sites, so I could monitor the demand for my services in my language pair.

The fact is that I stayed on Proz for 5 years before I saw the demand for my language pair (ENUS-PTBR) grow and stabilize at a level that would justify the membership fees. I hope the post will not be deleted for mentioning them, but another translation portal where my specific pair has some noticeable demand is TC, however it is not sustainable yet, so I remain a free user there until it holds. On the other hand, if my languages included PL, I think I'd be better off at Globtra.

This should give you a clear picture of how it works.

However I've seen some shady self-claimed translation portals that boldly advertise an endless stream of jobs, as soon as you pay their "admission fee". One of these had very low security, so I hacked into their jobs list. It's been a long time, however my faint recollection is that after they'd pocketed your $120, you'd have access to a list of jobs you could bid for. No details on the clients there; they would mediate the contact. Of course, they could keep inventing countless fake jobs and, every time, tell you that they had been assigned to someone else.

The entire setup is like a costly fishing expedition... to a swimming pool!

So, if you don't stand ANY chance, no matter how thin, of landing a job before having paid something up-front, it meets all requirements to be a scam.


Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:39
English to Czech
+ ...
Fishy from all possible angles Apr 24, 2015

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

It's been a long time, however my faint recollection is that after they'd pocketed your $120, you'd have access to a list of jobs you could bid for. No details on the clients there; they would mediate the contact.

That's surprising, I've always thought those websites don't have any jobs whatsoever, just scams pure and simple.
Actually Michael says he used to be a member of that website.... so this was for free and then they switched to a payed membership?
And as to the honest vs. scam websites, on the former you'd rather be told in advance the membership is payed. Not that you fill out the form and then surprise, surprise, we want your money! Which raises the question whether they get your data anyway.


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