The translation industry is a great market opportunity that provides a promising financial benefit for everyone who masters more than one language. It was once a difficult job type that has very few opportunities for beginners and newcomers who want to work as translators since the global market is limited only to those who have a connection to it.
In the era of globalization and the internet, global outsourcing and recruitment campaigns soar, giving access to everyone interested in this field. Though, deceptions, frauds, and scams on the internet are also increasingly trapping people in a difficult and disadvantageous position. Thus, it is necessary for junior translators to learn about the guide to accepting translation jobs and avoiding scams.
Types of Scamming in the Translation Industry
Scamming in the translation industry basically targets the translator’s identity and money. There are many types of scamming in the translation industry but only four occur repeatedly targeting both translators and language agencies, which are called overpayment, non-payment, pay to work, and CV theft.
The first common scam practice is called overpayment. Scammers often deceive freelance translators as if they are a translation agency looking for translators to work on a large project. Upon completion of the translation, the translator is usually paid by money order for an amount that exceeds the initial agreement. Instead of receiving payment, the translators are asked to return the overpayment so that the rest of the payment can be finalized. Since the money order is forged, the translator will never actually receive the payment.
The second type of scamming is non-payment. As its name suggests, scammers will employ translators to work on a certain project and they will disappear after the project is completed. These scammers will fake their identity or use another reputable translation agency’s name to deceive the translators.
The next type is pay-to-work scamming which requires translators to pay a certain amount of money if they are interested in joining. These scammers may also offer paid memberships to reputable organizations, provide fake certifications, or sell translator tools that do not even work.
Not only money, a translator’s CV is also a valuable resource that can help scammers to get bigger targets. CV theft is the last type of scam that even translators are not aware of and poses a great threat to translation agencies. CVs are often obtained through fake job recruitment posts on online portals. These postings often look good and convincing even to professional and experienced translators. Once they have obtained the desired CV, they will modify it to suit their needs in order to bid for prospective translation projects from real agencies. They will offer a competitively lower translation price than others to close the deal.
If they get the project, the scammers will only use machine translation to finish the translation and send a real invoice with a forged identity and bank account. Smaller agencies often fall for these scams and end up paying money that they should not have spent on the service.
What is the Guide to Accepting Translation Jobs?
If you work as a translator from home and submit job applications to prospective clients yourself, you may have gotten a suspicious email directing you to do something out of the ordinary. Nowadays, scammers are getting better at looking convincing in the eyes of their targets, especially, newcomers and those who are vulnerable to fraud and scams.
According to the bad experiences of some fellow translators, a ‘red flag’ email should have several characteristics. For example, scammers will likely use a free email account to contact you. They actually generate hundreds of emails using multiple email addresses when launching their fraud and scam campaigns. While not all free email accounts are scammers, you should be aware of them when they write to you on behalf of an organization or company.
Sometimes, scammers are making a lot of mistakes in writing emails and you may notice some flaws or inconsistent arrangements as well as information in the email body. Many scammers are experts in using the internet and technology to exploit bugs for their benefit. Yet, they are clueless in language and barely understand good writing practice.
Even when you get a convincing email inviting you to join a translation project, you still need to be wary of researching the email sender online. Search engines nowadays seem to be a reliable tool to do the job as fighting fraudulent campaigns has become their top priority.
The other step suggested by the American Translation Association is to check the availability of the document online. If you can find the entire document on some websites, file-sharing portals, or online libraries, then it might be taken from there and scammers are sending you for a fake job. For such an occurrence, you need to verify it and look for references regarding your potential employer. If you are not so sure but you decide to go on, you can ask for an initial payment using a verified payment method or propose a mids-term payment.
Regarding CV theft, you need to be selective to choose your client or employer. Online verification is a must as you can feel assured to whom you are sending your CV. For your security, it is better for you to not write everything, especially about your personal details, on your online CV. You can protect your CV using a PDF password or just render it into a PDF image with your own watermark. Recruiters will understand if you want to protect your personal data from internet scammers.