Hello fellow-translators,

I’ve come across quite a few translation job scams recently. Fortunately, I’ve been wary enough not to fall for their fake offers, but others might not be so lucky – therefore I thought I’d share with you all some tips on how to recognize a true translation job scam. One or two of the below points might not always be indicative of a fraud, but the presence of 3-4 or more of these is a clear sign that the translation job offer in question has “SCAM” written all over it.

  1. Entity – the job ad is usually placed by a person rather than a company, although that is not always the case.
  2. E-mail address – the domain name of the scammer’s  e-mail address and/or the whole address often look  suspicious.
  3. No contact details – although some scammers would go to great lengths to make themselves look legitimate, in most cases you wouldn’t actually be able to find any contact details of that person (or company), other than their e-mail address.
  4. English level – usually the job ad itself, and the consequent correspondence from the scammer is written in poor English, with lots of spelling, grammar and stylistic mistakes. While this may seem to be expected from non-native speakers of English, it sure looks suspicious when coming from a native speaker, which is what  the scammer would usually claim to be.
  5. Payment method – the proposed way of payment is invariably either a bank cheque or money order – both of which happen to be the most common payment methods used by all sorts of online scammers these days. Even if you ask for a different payment method, such as paypal, bank transfer, etc – you would get a response that the only way they can pay you is by cheque/money order. This should immediately alert you to a potential fraud.
  6. Volume & deadline – the document for translation is usually of a substantial word count, and they would give you plenty of time to handle it as well  – by setting a remote deadline for delivery. A lucrative-looking and very tempting for any translator project, especially in combination with the following:
  7. No price resistance – they would promptly accept ANY rate you offer them for translation, even the highest possible one – no negotiation, no attempts to lower the rate whatsoever. Tempting as it might look to take on a project like this, such attractive offers should immediately put you on your guard – when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is – it’s as simple as that.
  8. Topic of material to be translated – usual topics include (but are not limited to) global issues like terrorism, war, racism. The job advertiser would gladly explain to you how they need the material translated so they can use it in lectures and other acts with the noble purpose of fighting against and ultimately eradicating the respective global „evil” in question.  The noble project, meant to touch your heart and lure you to be part of it by translating the “lecturing material”, would also involve investitors, organizations & institutions – any specific names though are, of course, conveniently omitted.

In conclusion, I’d like to say that while every effort has been made to cover the most common red flags that shout “scam”,  you can never be too careful. Some scammers can be very persuasive and resourceful, so… always be on your guard!:-)

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