The world wide web is a vast and wondrous space. But with so much out there online, sometimes information can get into hands of scammers. One scam to be aware of? Translation scammers. Here’s our guide to translation scammers and how to avoid them.
What Are Translation Scammers?
Translation scammers are people (or groups of people) who approach potential clients, posing as legitimate translators. They often find and “borrow” CVs or profiles from professional translators. Translation scammers will then offer their services but deliver substandard work or pass text through free machine translation and call it done. Below, we’ll discuss some common red flags to look out for.
Look for Impersonal Messages… and Put Them in the Trash
If you receive an offer of service without a personal greeting or that is sent to several recipients at once, it could be a sign that it’s not legit. In any case, cold-emailing clients and you can’t take the time to personalize your messages? That doesn’t say anything good about your professionalism. Poorly written offers of service can be another sign that the message doesn’t come from a language professional.
Look for Rock-Bottom Rates… and Say Thanks but No Thanks
Not everyone who offers low rates is a scammer. But if it seems too good to be true, take the time to think it through. How realistic is it that a professional translator would offer these rates? Why are they so low? What’s in it for them? The answer could very well be that it’s a scam.
Look for Improbable Language Combinations
We all know that one person who can magically absorb languages. But most translators generally stick to one main language combination and translate into their native language. For example, a francophone translator working in Quebec will translate from English into French. So if you receive an offer to translate Greek into French and German into English, and vice versa, you may want to do some follow-up checking.
Double-Check Contact Info and Follow Up
One quick and easy way to check whether an offer of service is from a real translator is to take the time to check the contact info provided. You may be able to contact the translator directly on LinkedIn or through a translation directory, like the OTTIAQ directory in Quebec. Sending a quick email verifying that the offer of service did indeed come from who it purported to come from can save you a headache and is generally appreciated. You can also check potential scammers’ contact info on the translation scammers directory.
Ask for References… and Call Them!
Before you commit to using an unknown translator, ask for references and get in touch with them. Some scammers will abandon the scam as soon as they’re pressed for details, so any extra verifying is a plus.
- Look out for a few basic red flags to ward off translation scammers. Is the offer of service you receive personalized? Is it well-written? Do the prices match up with your expectations? If not, best to take a closer look before saying yes.
- Look for improbable language combinations. Sometimes, translators can translate into and from several languages. But more often than not, they stick to what they can do best.
- Check contact info and references and follow up. Making sure contact information matches up. And references vouching for a translator can increase help you avoid scams.
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