You may already know that legitimate translators and translation firms worldwide are being inundated with emails containing fake translator resumes.
In our experience, the ultimate source of fake translator resumes appears to be individuals located in Palestine and Saudi Arabia, from whom we receive fairly good looking resumes using false identities. If you dare, as we did, call the scammers out on their deceptive actions, they can lash out by creating blog posts named after you or your company, containing vehement complaints about you or your company, without, unsurprisingly, any mention of the names of the people making these complaints. Other scamming tactics include actually sending resumes with the claim that they have been filtered as not being fake, and scammers will even offer to filter out resumes for you using their “tools.”
Whether these people who create fake resumes with false names and false credentials ultimately use legitimate translators or not is a risk you take when you do business with them. Clearly, if they were reputable and deserving of your trust, they would not have to resort to such misrepresentation. You also have to wonder if the actual translator is being paid and whether he or she is aware of the subterfuge. This situation hurts the translation industry, which is made up of mostly honest and hardworking people. Unfortunately, translation hubs such as Proz.com, TranslatorsCafé.com and the like do not filter out these fake resumes, thereby compounding the problem.
However, there are some clues that can alert you to a fake resume.
No telephone number. You have to wonder why a translator would not supply a telephone number in a resume. This is basic information that needs to be supplied for adequate communication. You can ask the translator to actually call you from his or her home or business number to have a discussion. Any refusal should be considered a big red flag. We actually filter out any resume that does not include a telephone number.
Sending emails using free addresses with Outlook.com, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo mail and the like. Fake resumes travel through these services because they are free and devoid of scrutiny. Any serious translator can and probably should have a unique email address that makes them look professional. We filter out all emails sent by translators using these free email services (using keywords). Also, any serious translator can and probably should have a website, since this also shows a certain level of professionalism.
Mass emailing. If a translator’s resume ends up in your junk email box, was tagged as being spam or was sent to unknown recipients, it was probably mass emailed, which may indicate that it is fake. If translators are serious about doing business with you, they should take the time and make the effort to send you a personalized message.
Accepting PayPal or epayments only. PayPal is an unreliable method of payment. We have unwittingly done business with fake translators, believing that their emailed resumes were real, and when it was time to pay them using PayPal, the name of the person we were asked to pay was that of another unknown person, usually in the Middle East. Does the translator exist? Probably not. Does the translator get paid? Unknown. Is your reputation at risk? Absolutely. We now have a strict policy whereby we will only pay using a direct deposit in the translator’s bank account, and only in their name — or by sending a check, in their name, to their legitimate address. This is mentioned beforehand in any contract that must be signed by the translator and our company before any work can begin, which is binding upon the translator and our company.
The bottom line is that the onus is on you to do some due diligence to ensure that you are dealing with real translators who are worthy of your business, and thereby protect yourself and your clients.