Some while ago, I had written a post on scammers and how to avoid them. If that post was written from a freelancer’s point of view and it touched on scammers posing as clients, this post is written from an agency’s point of view and it touches the fake/scammer translators aspect.
Since the translation industry in the UK is somehow unregulated – there is no such thing as authorised/certified/ sworn translator, basically anyone can call themselves a translator.
One thing we have noticed lately is a surge in fake translators posing as the real deal. How? Most of the times they impersonate genuine translators by using their names and /or CVs. How to avoid having your CV stolen? There are quite a few posts on the matter and Marta Stelmaszak has written a comprehensive one on her blog on steps you can take to avoid being a victim.
This post is for agencies and outsourcers and also clients who want to make sure they work with professional translators and not scammers. We have received dozens of fake CVs and most (if not all) of them have a few things in common that bear all the tell-tale signs of a scammer:
While not necessarily everyone who sends their CV this way is a scammer, we haven’t had a scammer filling in the application form. I suppose they can’t be bothered. It’s easier to just send bulk emails.
One other sign is that in the To field of the email, invariably you’ll see undisclosed-recipients, meaning they have sent the same email to a bunch of agencies, hoping one will actually take the bait.
In our profession, it is expected that people we work with are very skilled linguists and a poor level of English in the cover email should be viewed as suspicious. I am not talking about the odd typo or small mistakes (we are all prone to make them, native speakers and non-native speakers alike; I know I’ve done my share), but blatant ones, such as in the examples below.
I live in Italy and so is my nationality.
I have BA in translation in from: Italian Certification as a flight attendant.
Language pairs: Italy to English to Italy
If their CV looks like a mishmash of different fonts and layouts, the probability is that the CV has been stolen form various translators and the lazy scammer has just done some copy-pasting.
We know there are also agencies that charge ridiculous rates (that is another story), but I for one am very reluctant if a professional translator charges £0.02/word for example. I have noticed however that even scammers have started to raise their rates, maybe to alleviate suspicions.
As others have already explained, look at the author of the CV (in the document properties). If it is not the same as the person claiming they are, it may be stolen. I use the word ‘may’ as there may be the odd case where they used a template created by someone else, so don’t use this as the only criterion, but do consider it important.
Sometimes all you have to do is run a small excerpt from the CV through Google search (using the exact match function) and you will instantly be able to notice whether the same CV has been circulating on the Internet under different identities. It also wouldn’t hurt to alert the victim that his or her CV was stolen.
Last but not least, I would like to thank the Translator Scammers Intelligence Group. They are doing an amazing job and I cannot thank them enough for their efforts to put together an extensive list of scammers along with the details we should be looking for. I must admit that it is the first place I check if I receive a suspicious CV and more often than not the names were there, saving me a lot of time and hassle. Just the other day I sent them a number of new names, as it seems these scammers are relentless. I encourage you to do the same and send them any emails you receive from scammers, so we can all benefit from an updated list.
I hope I haven’t missed any points. If I have, please do let me know and I hope the more we write about this issue and we spread the news (like the famous song goes), the less the chance to become a victim.