Thanks to Neil Payne at Kwintessential for bringing this next case out, in which both translators and agency are affected when the scammer poses as a legitimate, existing company. I reproduce here a version of the post originally made on Kwintessential’s blog (scroll down for the link to the original posting):
By very good fortune a translation scam using Kwintessential’s name and brand has been exposed by an eagle-eyed translator.
The email was sent to the translator, who shall be called Mr X, requesting information for a large project.
Dear Mr. X
As translation office on the west coast of the US, we are looking for freelance translators in languages: German, French and Spanish.
Our research for translators in the German language has brought up your name again and again. You have been highly recommended by some of our valued customers and colleagues.
We need to request information on your current rates, your fields of expertise (law, merchandising and advertisement needed), words per day translated also a time schedule of your availability for the months of March, April and May 2011.
The project we will be working on, enfolds a value of 80.000 words, was commissioned by a notable US American company.
We will need your documentation not later than March 01.2011.
[Contact information removed from this post]
Emails went back and forth between [the sender] and Mr X with the former potentially placing a large amount of work. It was by good fortune that Mr X was suspicious of the email due to 1) the email being a non-company address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and 2) the misspelling of Kwintessential. Out of prudency Mr X decided to reply and CC’d our USA office whose address was used in the signature. Our Manager in the USA immediately drew our attention to the matter.
It appears the scam works in the following manner: a translation agency wins a contract to carry out a translation job. In order to increase their profit margins they send emails to freelance translators requesting they take on the assignment. The poor translator naturally feels they are in good hands but will eventually come to realize they will never be paid. The scamming agency therefore makes a 100% mark-up. All the translator can do is come to the real Kwintessential who will obviously have no idea of what has happened.
It is extremely unfortunate that people feel they have to carry out their business without principles and ethics. It is these scammers that give us reputable agencies a bad name. On top of this they are taking advantage of the good will of translators who work extremely hard, are true professionals and do not deserve such treatment.
Thankfully Mr X was clever enough to work out the bad intentions of [the scammer]. We have written to [the scammer] but surprise surprise no reply.
Message of the story for translators is always check the credentials of the agency and ensure 100% they are the real deal.
See the original post at Intercultural Communication and Translation News