Many translators will have experienced some sort of translation scam such as:

  • a client who looks like a genuine translation outsourcer and has real assignments but will never pay for them;
  • the translator version of the money stealing scam involving for instance, a potential client offering a steady flow of work if the translator agrees to work with a specific piece of software which the client happens to sell at heavily reduced price – once the tool is bought, the translator never hears from the client ever again.

There are several other types of scams, and I highly recommend reading Translator scam and how to protect yourself from them and Scammers – Love them or hate them?. Generally speaking, if something looks a bit fishy, it probably is. Make sure you google potential clients before accepting work from them or undertaking any financial transactions. Lists of known scammers are regularly published and updated online.

Another type of scam affecting the translation industry specifically targets translation agencies, and consists in individuals posing as real translators using CVs found online. The number of emails I receive from such scammers has dramatically increased over the past year, to such an extent that most of the ‘translators’ offering to work for the Translation Service are now scammers.

Red signs reading 'Fraud alert'
Do you need to review your web presence to identify and mitigate risks?

The vast majority of them are easy to spot: the formatting of the CV and the email is generally quite poor, different fonts are used in the CV (in particular for the email address), the information is inconsistent, the rates offered are very low, the email address is odd, the spelling of the translator’s name shows some variations etc. Even if I’m not able to identify scammers as such, our process which involves completing an application form and a test translation protects us from ever recruiting them.

That being said, this new development in the translation industry entails significant risks for you. Are you fully in control of your web presence? If you are unsure, it might be wise to review your online presence and determine if you’re at risk of identity or CV theft. Marta Stelmaszak at Want Words recommends a number of easy steps to protect yourself. This is well worth reading.