Beware the anti-spam
Thread poster: Neil Coffey

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:19
French to English
+ ...
Aug 2, 2011

I was recently contacted by a new client asking for a quote. I replied as usual with my offer as usual. Not hearing anything for a while, I assumed they'd found another translator and didn't think any more about it.

Then, out of the blue, they replied several days later asking me to go ahead, but I noticed that the subject of the e-mail had been flagged by an anti-spam program and the e-mail had obviously been rescued from a spam folder. Apparently, the offending part of my e-mail was where I had indicated my accepted payment methods, the word "Paypal" triggering the full brunt of the anti-spam system into life.

Luckily in this case, my e-mail had been rescued from the anti-spam system. But that got me wondering: what other words of a typical translation quote might cause our correspondence to get blacklisted due to such a "false positive" on the part of the anti-spam system? Have any other translators had similar experience and are there any words that we as translators may use that may be "triggers" for anti-spam systems?

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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:19
German to English
"Reply to:" different from "From:" Aug 2, 2011

For a while, due to technical issues too complicated to explain here, I had to send e-mail via an outgoing server unrelated to my incoming server. I had two customer contacts during that time, and my responses to their queries landed in their spam traps. In one instance the customer contacted me by phone to follow up on his query. In the second instance I was out of the country and couldn't be reached by phone, but the query was from a long-time customer who for some reason decided to check his spam filter.

Something similar happened with respect to e-mail I had sent to an agency regarding a late payment. Apparently the invoice entered on their online invoicing system got lost in cyberspace, and since the agency was normally very prompt to pay, I sent a polite inquiry containing the saved invoice page in html format. This e-mail got lost in their spam trap due to the html coding. Since there was no response, I called a few days later and was told that they hadn't received the e-mail. I converted the html to a pdf file and sent it. The agency was very apologetic and sent out a check that day.

I suspect that some corporate servers automatically filter out Hotmail and other similar free mail services. I know of a large multinational that screens out e-mail containing zip files.

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Werner Maurer  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Paypal = spam??? Aug 2, 2011

Kind of horrifying to think the word PayPal triggers a spam alert!

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Ambrose Li  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:19
Chinese to English
+ ...
The spammers have already won Aug 3, 2011

I have long held the opinion that the spammers’ real goal isn’t to sell stuff, but rather to destroy email as a viable means of communication. With all the misguided “anti-spam” measures that have been put in place, I think the spammers have already won.

Having your email put into a spam folder isn’t really the worst (after all, the spam folder has become just another inbox these days, with all the false positives); the worst kind is when the receiving server plainly bounces your mail or, even worse, dumps your email into a black hole. When this happens, well, let’s hope the phone still works…

[Edited at 2011-08-03 08:11 GMT]

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Beware the anti-spam

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