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AATII (no, not argentinian legit AATI)
Thread poster: Susana E. Cano Méndez

Yom Shamash
Canada
Local time: 21:44
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Name Removal Apr 19, 2016

My name was on the site as an Accreditation Committee member. I have never agreed to be a member of the Accreditation Committee.

Here is the letter I sent to the Founder and President:

WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Dear Mr. Clint Cheng.

It came to my attention that my name is cited on your website

(http://www.aatii.org/index-1.html#experts) as being a key person of an

"Accreditation Committee" of the AATII organization of which you are the

Founder and President.

In my conversation and email exchange with you and your representative,

I understood that your interest in me had to do with my qualifications as

a translator and teacher.

At no time did I agree to be a member of an Accreditation Committee.

Please remove my name from your site within one week of the date of this email. If you fail to do so I will take whatever legal action is necessary.

> Sincerely,
>
> Yom Shamash
>
> cc. STIBC


 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 23:44
German to English
+ ...
to Karen's re: accreditation committee Apr 20, 2016

Karen Pellerin wrote:

It appears to me that the profiles of the Accreditation Committee are bogus. .....

Thank you for that information.

In addition, in Canada there already is accreditation - called certification - which has legitimate recognized status, and these titles make a mess of the whole thing. We get accredited by the Translation Bureau of Canada, and certified by the provincial bodies of the CTTIC, which in B.C. is the STIBC. An agency or platform whatever this organization is giving out similar titles, that just seems wrong.


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:44
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
hilarious stuff Apr 20, 2016

"– You may not use AATII.COM for any illegal or unauthorized purpose nor may you, in the use of the Service, violate any laws in your jurisdiction (including but not limited to copyright laws) as well as the laws of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

[…]

We respect the intellectual property of others, and we expect our users to do the same. "

(https://aatii.com/t/conditionsofUse )

This guy is obviously insane.

Michael


 

Chiara Sodi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:44
English to Italian
Yes,hilarious.... Apr 20, 2016

if it wasn't for the fact that sooner or later someone will actually believe him.

He seems to have invested quite some time in building the website and include all those policies (admittedly with quite a few mistakes all over the website and funnily enough he is the first person to ignore and abuse those very same policies).

Not everyone (translators/interpreters or clients) will be aware of conversations like the one we are having here and potential clients are not likely to research as much as we usually do.
So sooner or later, he will actually get business, by using deception and very very misleading information. In fact, maybe nothing on those websites is true (is his name even his actual name?).

His LinkedIn profile and his Princemountain pages still boast of having more than 100 thousand translators on the directory......He seemed to have been fast in removing people's names from the public list, but if he hasn't changed the overall information, then maybe, he hasn't really removed them.

Obviously no one here will ever believe anything he says when trying to justify his action (i.e. trying to confuse everyone pretending of having made a mistake), but someone who only checks his website, might believe that what he says is actually true.

One last thing. He seems to be a member of a real professional association, have they realised that maybe he is in breach of their code of conduct and of falling well short of any professional standards?


 

Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 07:44
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
My 2 cents Apr 21, 2016

AATII wrote:

Clint Cheng, the CEO of aatii.com, has to work today to finish a rush work for a provincial regulatory body in British Columbia… He used to be among top earners in Canada and because he wants to help other translators to get business via aatii.com, he is now making just $20 an hour and stays in office seven days a week.


So someone who is presumably (the nature of the rush job was not revealed, but one can surmise) struggling currently as a translator and/or business owner is equipped to "help" translators get more business and become more successful?

I won't go into much details about the demagogy and cynicism in most of the statements made by AATII on this matter, including the above quote, nor will I expand on the very questionable way AATII chose to offer its "help"so far. What I'll comment about is the the way the so-called translation community has reacted to this incident.

AATII must think everyone is stupid, and unfortunately so far we -- the so-called professional community -- are proving them right. Why does the so-called professional community allows every random someone to step all over it and create their own cynical narrative on its expense, while all it does is form passive-aggressive echo/venting chambers and engage in various DIY solutions is beyond me.
Instead of wasting time "feeding the troll" (while providing strategic information that can be used to thwart and impede efforts to settle this once and for all), at least equal efforts should have been made on calling out our professional associations (although individuals can also take action) for their painful absent from the conversation, especially those from which the identities were leaked, demanding them to get proactive and protect the interests of their members. They should have the resources for it, the members are paying for them! Otherwise, what is even the point in having them?
If everything here is above board, then there is no problem to wast time over. But if there is, let the professionals handle it it. Isn't this is what we are preaching to our clients?

[Edited at 2016-04-24 01:48 GMT]


 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 23:44
German to English
+ ...
On this part Apr 21, 2016

[quote]Shai Navé wrote:

... at least equal efforts should have been made on calling out our professional associations (although individuals can also take action) for their painful absent from the conversation ....

The first thing that I did was to alert my professional organization. After all, this is happening on Canadian turf, and titles similar to the legitimate recognized titles are being used. But I don't see why the organization would be having a conversation in a discussion forum. The more important thing is for them to act. If I hear back, I'll make a note about it here.


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:44
French to English
A bit yes, a bit no. Apr 21, 2016

Shai Navé wrote:

AATII must think everyone is stupid, and unfortunately so far we -- the so-called professional community -- are proving them right. Why does the so-called professional community allows every random someone to step all over it and create their own cynical narrative on its expense, while all it does is form passive-aggressive echo/venting chambers and engage in various DIY solutions is beyond me.


I'm not sure what's "passive-aggressive" about it (there again, I'm not sure about 95% of the cases I see passive-aggressive used - feel free to elucidate!). "Echo chamber" is sometimes a valid criticism of forums such as this very website, but not, in my view, in this case. Perhaps it depends on how you define an echo chamber used metaphorically - I tend to see it used for (unthinking?) support of a usually negatively expression of opinion or state of affairs, with no practical outcome. Someone posting a good old moan, everybody responding "yeah, you're right" and nothing changing.
Here, there was a moan, for sure, everyone responded "yeah, you're right" and.... the situation changed.

Meanwhile, the perpetrator of the events in question has singularly failed to establish any kind of a narrative, and either whines about being a "small start-up" or exacerbates his position with further statements of ... debatable veracity, shall we say.

The public face of the solution (AFAIAC that means here and Twitter, presumably Facebook but I'm not a member) might have been a bit DIY, but it has basically achieved the desired result, I think.

... least equal efforts should have been made on calling out our professional associations (although individuals can also take action) for their painful absent from the conversation, especially those from which the identities were leaked, demanding them to get proactive and protect the interests of their members. .... But if there is, let the professionals handle it it. Isn't this is what we are preaching to our clients?


I'd agree I didn't see active response at the time from professional associations. Of course, the heat only really got turned up on Friday, and the database was down/hidden by Sunday. And I assume professional associations need to be really certain of facts before making public pronouncements (not just react to tweets where their handle has been added!).

So on the one hand, yes, I'd have expected to see some responses by now (in fairness, at least one or two have); on the other, the situation has basically been resolved, for now at least. If the baying mob *had* left it entirely in the hands of professional associations, I fear resolution might have taken longer, and I think speed was of the essence here, to stop people getting ripped off.
And of course, the fact we (well, me, anyway!) didn't see much interaction from professional associations doesn't mean there was none. I know some people sent private emails to associations. Perhaps not enough, for sure (I didn't contact the CIoL, but I couldn't find myself on the database and prejudged their response if I basically wrote "this doesn't affect me, but...." - perhaps I was wrong).
I also suspect, frankly, that the whole issue of the *legality* of this database (not the ethics) remains somewhat hazy, especially given the cross-border aspects, and probably acted as a brake for some in terms of responding too quickly.

To sum up: I think you've been a bit harsh about the "translator community's" response. I do think you have a point about professional associations, or at least you will have, if they continue to be mainly silent.


 

Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:44
English to Czech
+ ...
Not "resolved" at all Apr 21, 2016

@Charlie Bavington:
I don't think "the situation has been resolved". This guy still has the stolen data and who knows where and how they're going to resurface next time (this attempt has probably been stopped).
Moreover, these data have been stolen from somebody.... the finger has been pointed at Translation Directory. None of their members here has mentioned this website sending some warnings or in any way acknowledging (or denying) this to their members (which I luckily don't belong to). Of course, I wouldn't call the TD "professional" (whatever the noun) in any sense of them term, now or before this leak/hack, and they've now clearly proven they aren't.
So yes, the translators here have barked this guy into submission but that's hardly a "resolution" imho.

[Edited at 2016-04-21 14:13 GMT]


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:44
French to English
Fair point, but... Apr 21, 2016

Katarzyna Slowikova wrote:

I don't think "the situation has been resolved". This guy still has the stolen data ......
So yes, the translators here have barked this guy into submission but that's hardly a "resolution" imho.


The points you make are all valid (except about TD specifically - see previous posts in the thread - a number of people were on aatii who were not on TD, basically. And I doubt TD is the kind of organisation Shai had in mind anyway.).

However, it all rather depends on what one perceives the "situation" to be. My perspective was that Saint Clint was using other people's details to attract custom to his site without the permission of those people, misleading said customers as to the attitude of those people to his website, ratings, prices, etc. and, ultimately, intending to make money by misusing the reputations, skills & credentials of those people. This is no longer the case, for the time being at least, as the information is no longer visible.

Yes, I have no doubt Clint still has the database.
Yes, we'll have to keep on eye out for it resurfacing.

But what else can we (collectively, the "community", professional associations, everyone) do? While I'm sure we'd all like to see Clint's database and others like it eliminated, there is no way of ensuring that is achieved. I think this is a case where we can only deal with the visible symptoms, not the cause, but I'm happy to hear other ideas, obviouslyicon_smile.gif

(As an aside, I find it interesting linguistically that we talk about data "theft" in cases like this. If I steal your car, I have your car and you don't. English law would talk about you being "permanently deprived" of your car. Because I've got it instead of you. If I steal your data, 99% of the time, you've still got it, and you are not deprived of it at all. I've got it as well as you.)


 

Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:44
English to Czech
+ ...
Not "resolved" at all 2 Apr 21, 2016

Charlie Bavington wrote:

The points you make are all valid (except about TD specifically - see previous posts in the thread - a number of people were on aatii who were not on TD, basically. And I doubt TD is the kind of organisation Shai had in mind anyway.).


I know he didn't.
I just find it peculiar this website doesn't give a damn about the rumors (true or not) of their members' data being stolen. Can you imagine similar situation with any other website, say LinkedIn, FB? They'd go crazy to clear their name. Says a lot about that TD thing, imho.
The fact some translators appearing in the AATII database aren't members of TD obviously doesn't prove the TD wasn't the source of part of the data. Interestingly, no other suspects have been named here.
I'm not a lawyer but it seems what AATII has done is criminal... so if being shamed in a public forum is the only consequence, it's rather disappointing.
I don't think I'm in that database (hope I'm not wrong ://), so take this as a kind of bystander's comments.

[Edited at 2016-04-21 15:26 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:44
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
TD do make it very easy Apr 21, 2016

For €862 - if you declare yourself to be a small company - anyone can buy the entire TD database of (currently) 38,530 translators. That's presumably what he did.

http://www.translationdirectory.com/translators.htm


 

Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:44
English to Czech
+ ...
Wow! Didn't know this! Apr 21, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:

For €862 - if you declare yourself to be a small company - anyone can buy the entire TD database of (currently) 38,530 translators. That's presumably what he did.

http://www.translationdirectory.com/translators.htm


So basically you give your data away for sale... or actually even pay for them to be sold... brilliant business idea!
Now I know why I smelled fish since I first saw this website.


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:44
French to English
Quite (three times!) Apr 21, 2016

Katarzyna Slowikova wrote:

Says a lot about that TD thing, imho.


Quite. I finally deleted my profile during a housekeeping exercise last year, but I'd realised years ago that the emails it sends were of no interest to me. Interesting that, like Saint Clint of British Columbia, TD also sometimes refers to church-related aspects... a TD email I have from some years ago starts "May God, Jesus Christ, the newborn Messiah, shower His choicest blessings on you and your family!" - I may no longer be a member but I've kept the blacklist-related stufficon_smile.gif

Update - just seen the info from Sheila, and "wow, I did not know that" was exactly my response!

The fact some translators appearing in the AATII database aren't members of TD obviously doesn't prove the TD wasn't the source of part of the data. Interestingly, no other suspects have been named here.


Quite. As previous posts here also said. Some people on Twitter seem to suspect the ATA database has been harvested, and some Canadian organisations, particularly for the "Accreditation Committee".


I'm not a lawyer but it seems what AATII has done is criminal... so if being shamed in a public forum is the only consequence, it's rather disappointing.

Quite - certainly a quick skim of our Data Protection Act would indicate a probable offence if he'd done it in England*. It would need a Canadian to take action, I guess, if the same offence exists there.

* (for the sake of interest) section 55: "A person must not knowingly, without the consent of the data controller,... obtain... personal data." There are certain defences in the section, none of which apply, but I would make the proviso that I haven't found any 100% certain info on what happens if that information is already in the public domain, although section 10 seems to offer protection. In England.


 

Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:44
English to Czech
+ ...
Slightly OT: Translation Directory Apr 21, 2016

Charlie Bavington wrote:

Interesting that, like Saint Clint of British Columbia, TD also sometimes refers to church-related aspects... a TD email I have from some years ago starts "May God, Jesus Christ, the newborn Messiah, shower His choicest blessings on you and your family!" - I may no longer be a member but I've kept the blacklist-related stufficon_smile.gif


Haha, you're right, look here:
http://www.translationdirectory.com/god_has_created_this.php
I've never noticed that before on the website, nor in the emails. I mean, I used to be registered there some years ago, maybe like 2012, but after seeing what kind of job offers they have, I realized I'm not interested in applying, not to mention paying to apply. So now I'm no longer there and I can only hope they removed me from those directories that they sell, too... :/
Just out of curiosity, I checked the website now, to see whether there's at least some mention, before you start registration process, of your data being put for sale afterwards.... haven't found any. Also not too many info about the site around the internet, except on Proz... weird and suspicious...


 

Catherine Howard
United States
Local time: 00:44
Portuguese to English
+ ...
AATII published list of which T&I associations it got names from Apr 22, 2016

There sure has been a lot of speculation about where AATII got its 20,000 names, but the mystery has already been solved. AATII itself published the list on Sunday of which association directories it harvested. Here's the link from its blog, in case you didn't see it (scroll down below the letter): https://aatii.com/blog.

This chart shows precisely the strange logic AATII used to generate its so-called "quality ratings" for each person while the AATII directory was still online. The chart shows how membership status in each association qualified someone for one, two, or three stars. These stars were then magically converted into a "quality rating," ranging from 3 stars ("excellent") down to 1 (merely "acceptable"). Huh, come again?? Some of the categories that got only two stars include some of the most famous and respected translators in the entire world, such as those in the category of "Honorary Members" in the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI). So this means that legendary translators like Sergio Viaggio and David Bellos get a lower "quality rating" than AATII's owner, who awards himself 3 stars, "excellent." Ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Oh, and if, like most of the people listed, you got a pitiful one-star "acceptable" rating and worried about what potential clients you might lose (who wants to hire a merely acceptable translator??), AATII generously gives you the option to pay them $260 to review your credentials and issue its own home-brew "accreditation" that you could proudly display next to your name. Come again??

Dig around some more on the AATII website, people. It's either hysterical or infuriating, depending on your perspective.

[Edited at 2016-04-22 22:51 GMT]


 
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