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Supplying passport info to agency?
Thread poster: lingo_montreal
lingo_montreal  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:58
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Mar 4, 2011

Could anyone please tell me if it is standard practice by translation agencies to request a copy of the translator's passport to verify identity? I answered a posting (Norwegian-to-English) from an agency apparently located in Argentina (I am in Canada). After viewing my résumé and additional info I'd forwarded to them, the agency now requires that I scan my passport info and send this on to them, in order for them to be certain of my identity. Is this prudent and a common practice? I've done work for companies abroad (Norway and USA) for many years, and this has never been asked of me before. All information/advice about this would be appreciated!

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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:58
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Ask them for the same Mar 4, 2011

Ask them to send you certified copies of their business registration, a certificate from the local tax agency showing that they are up to date with their taxes, and perhaps a recent utility bill that confirms their address.
See what they say.
Katalin


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Andrei Yefimov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 03:58
English to Russian
+ ...
same here Mar 4, 2011

Recently I registered with a Canada-based agency, and they asked me for two (!) ID proofs. When I asked them to elaborate on that requirement, they said it was for the sole purpose of verifying my identity, which would give them a competitive edge on the market.

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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 02:58
English to Russian
+ ...
I see only one reason Mar 4, 2011

In some countries, you may be required to submit your passport to verify that you are indeed a foreigner and not subject to income tax, but then the agency should be able to give you a reference to the relevant law.
On the other hand, you may just want to explain to them that sending all passport information leaves you exposed to potential identity theft, and send them a scan with all sensitive fields blacked out.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:58
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just with your invoice Mar 4, 2011

OK. I can understand that companies want to verify people's identity but ask for the same: a photocopy of their VAT certificate or equivalent document, just for your tranquility.

Also verify their location, call them over the phone to talk to the contact person about this, and establish whether they are a legitimate oursourcer. If this company has any kind of bad comment in the BlueBoard... you better refrain from working from them.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:58
Member (2008)
French to English
Truly necessary? Mar 4, 2011

Considering that there is no obligation to even have a passport and that passport information is a hot commodity in the identify theft market, it does sound like an unusual requirement. Only once have I been asked for this - from a Chinese firm - and when I queried the need and stated my concerns they suddenly found they could do without it.

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lingo_montreal  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:58
Norwegian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to all of you for replying so promptly! Mar 4, 2011

After the advice I've just read from each of you, I think I will tell the agency that I'm not comfortable supplying such sensitive data to them and that, surely, there must be other forms of proof I could give them to satisfy that requirement. Thanks so much for your help.

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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:58
French to English
+ ...
Passport... Mar 4, 2011

A passport is a document whose legal purpose is to allow you to pass from country to country. Why is the passport office an authority on your tax status or anything else other than whether or not you are entitled to enter or leave a country?

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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 00:58
Japanese to English
Not safe Mar 4, 2011

If they want to ask for ID they are free to do so, but a passport scan is a dangerous thing to have floating around the Internet. I wouldn't do it.

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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:58
French to German
+ ...
Forget it! Mar 5, 2011

lingo_montreal wrote:

After the advice I've just read from each of you, I think I will tell the agency that I'm not comfortable supplying such sensitive data to them and that, surely, there must be other forms of proof I could give them to satisfy that requirement. Thanks so much for your help.


It may not be an attempt to collect data about you, but it is preposterous any way one looks at it. Quite in the same way as the (real) policy of an agency deciding that "natives in X" can only live in the country where X is the official language.

Thanks but no, thanks - Have a nice day - Goodbye


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Why do they assume you have a passport? Mar 5, 2011

lingo_montreal wrote:

Could anyone please tell me if it is standard practice by translation agencies to request a copy of the translator's passport to verify identity?


In large countries (Canada, U.S., Russia, Mexico, etc.) lots people don't have passports, since they can travel thousands of kilometers without crossing a border. Seems like a ridiculous requirement for employment. In any case, in all my years in this business, no one has ever required me to produce proof of identity, except my local notary when I've had to sign notarized certificates of accuracy.

[Edited at 2011-03-05 13:55 GMT]


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:58
German to English
+ ...
Why should they need that? Mar 5, 2011

In the many years I have been translating, I have never had to produce a copy of my passport (except in the situations Steven has mentioned), not would I.

Cheers!


[Edited at 2011-03-05 18:46 GMT]


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yyang
Local time: 20:58
Chinese to English
+ ...
Maybe for govt-related work? Mar 7, 2011

Some US agencies who do govt-related translation do ask for proof of citizenship via a passport scan, but otherwise it's smart to protect your info.

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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:58
Spanish to English
Well really! Mar 8, 2011

As many others have already commented, in all my years translating I have never been asked to identify myself. In the end, if your translation is good, what concern is it of the agency what your identity is?

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Daniel Grau  Identity Verified
Argentina
English to Spanish
They would not think it unusual Mar 8, 2011

In Argentina, having your personal documentation photocopied whenever you enter a business transaction is very common. Perhaps this company has just started outsourcing internationally and they are not aware that in other countries even your zodiac sign is considered sensitive information.

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