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5 Ways to Spot A Scam Translation Agency

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

Scammers, especially on social media, are a scourge in the translation industry that costs a lot of time, effort, and money to the freelancers. Let's take a look at a few solutions on how to spot such fakers who set their eyes on your hard work as a translator in pursuit of undeserved gain.

If you are a freelance translator that takes the profession seriously, most probably, every morning, your inbox is overflowing with emails from your job alerts on job-seeking websites, your phone's lock-screen is covered with notifications from the social media groups that you are a member of. And unfortunately, some if not all, are scams as you all well know. But this is not something to be afraid of. Whether this scam found its way to you via your email or you just happened to see one on social media groups, it is actually pretty easy to spot them. Now let's take a look at those simple steps which help you recognize those frauds that are ready and willing to exploit your labors.

Web Presence

An online presence is one of the most important things that a translation company needs to establish to make sure its online content marketing succeeds. In order to achieve that, they'll surely work hard on the content of their website, create blogs, put sub-links, publish the companies they work with, get testimonials, etc. Long story short, with a quick look at their website, you can tell how much effort put into building it and whether it is something genuine if they have a website at all.

Another way to check web presence is a simple google search on the company/person at hand. Just google their name and see what comes up. A genuine company is bound to have profiles on famous platforms such as LinkedIn, Proz, etc. Or if it is the name of an individual you have, by doing research, you'll probably see how active that name is on the web.

In other words, any person or company that is in the industry in earnest is bound to have an active and profound presence on the web and if you do a thorough research, there is no way for you to miss it if that is the case.

Check the Writing Quality and Specifics of the Email You Received

The first step, check the sender's email address. If it is a personal email address taken from free mail providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. you should get suspicious. If the email address looks as if it is written in gibberish, with lots of numbers and words that do not make sense, just delete it without a second thought. Any respectable agency would use a company email address and any HR department member would contact you through the company's email address. But fair warning, as far as I can tell from some of the scam emails have received, some scammers have started going the extra mile and using a professional email address so take care.

You might also want to take a quick look at the recipients. Scammers are usually not that patient and will probably send the same email to dozens, maybe hundreds of people at the same time. If that is the case, I'm sorry but most probably that is a fake as well.

Another point that would be a dead giveaway is surely the writing style of the email. Wrong words, simple grammatical mistakes, a bad template, and many other things that you can think of are a dead giveaway about whoever wrote that mail has no idea what they are doing.

An Offer Too Good To Be True

Every professional translator has a basic understanding of the market that they are working in and know the price range for their language pair. If you received an offer that is well beyond the reasonable price range of your language pair, I'm sorry to tell you but you are not special. Scammers are also well known for trying to pull people in with offers that are above the current market price.

Power of Social Media Platforms and Blogs

Translation agency scams have been around for quite some time now. Most of the translators that have been a victim of a scam usually start a post on social media groups or in a blog where translators are collaborating. If you are not sure about the offer that you have received, it might be a wise idea to check if there are any complaints about previous scams. , is known to be a reliable source when it comes to exposing scams. You can use the Translator Scam Alert Center or Scam Forum to see whether the person or agency you are dealing with is safe or not.

Checking such posts or blogs also have another advantage. Although established and legal, some companies are also known for not paying their translators for various reasons. In these cases, the fault might lie in any of the parties so it is not easy to determine what will become of your payment. But most probably, if an agency has too many bad reviews or complaints from the translators, it would be in your favor not to work with them. As the saying goes, "There is no smoke without fire".

Weird Requests

If by any chance, your initial screening didn't give you a clear idea of whether you are facing a scam or not, as the correspondence progress, you should be very careful about the requests made to you. Most of the legitimate agencies out there have similar recruitment processes. They'll ask for a resume and references if possible and if you are cleared, they'll send you forms to fill in with your details. If they are asking you things like downloading suspicious software from suspicious sources, take extra care and my personal recommendation is to steer clear of them.

Ask For A Sample

Before accepting the job, ask for a sample or the whole of the document that you are supposed to be translating and just google the contents. If it is some sort of document, text, or an article taken from the web, again, most probably you are targeted for a scam.

Scams may not cost a fortune to a translator out there but having your time, effort and hard work stolen from you is frustrating for anyone. Please share your own experiences about scams or any attempts for a scam so that more people can be spared from this unfortunate fate.

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