• Alysa Salzberg

Scams happen everywhere, even in the world of translation

Due to events like the Fyre Festival debacle (and documentaries), the unveiling of the nearly unbelievable story of Anna Delvey, the college admissions scandal, and so much more, 2018 and 2019 have both been dubbed “the year of the scammer”.


It turns out that scamming even happened in what you might consider an unlikely place: the world of translation!


But this isn’t a recent trend, as the existence of the Translator Scammers Directory (TSD) shows: it’s been around since 2013, and I’m pretty sure that some form of translation scam existed well before that!


TSD has released a report about translation scams in 2019. But what, exactly, does “scamming” translate to in the translation world?


There are two main kinds.


The first kind of translation scam targets potential clients. Scammers pose as job sites, recruiters, or potential clients, who then doctor the CV’s (resumes) that real translators send to them. These doctored CV’s now have the scammer’s own contact info, but keep a translator’s list of professional experience and qualifications. Unfortunately for the company that hires them, of course, the translations they produce will probably be shoddy, unedited machine translations. Then they’ll take the money and run, leaving the client to clean up the mess.


The other common translation scam involves scammers posing as clients who are going to hire a translator. They ask for the translator’s bank or PayPal account information so that they’ll be able to pay them, and steal from them instead.


Read on to learn more about 2019’s biggest translation scams.


And then read this guide for tips on how to avoid being scammed if you’re a freelance translator, or this guide if you’re a client looking for a translator.




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