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This year's craziest translation job request
Thread poster: LegalTranslatr2

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:05
Romanian to English
+ ...
And the test!!! Dec 15, 2011

Nicole Schnell wrote:

You forgot about the tax forms.

Tsk, tsk.


What about the unpaid test translation of 800 words which must be completed within 1 hour after receipt, followed by a would-you-be-so-kind-to evaluation of the test pieces of fellow translators, using a complex evaluation form?

Plus a local (i.e. Romanian) gem: "please also send three blank pages with your certified translator's seal so that we can just print your future translations on them when needed in urgent cases".


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 09:05
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
You are joking, Dec 15, 2011

but it is not so unusual practice. Not in my case, I am not a sworn translator, but when a sworn translator trusts to an agency, he/she can give them some stamped pages (according to Slovak laws, stamped blank page needs to be added to original and translated text and all the pages then need to be bind together and knots need to be sealed). I do not know if it is legal, but I heard about two cases, when the practice was exploited extensively. For the sworn translator, it can mean considerable sa... See more
but it is not so unusual practice. Not in my case, I am not a sworn translator, but when a sworn translator trusts to an agency, he/she can give them some stamped pages (according to Slovak laws, stamped blank page needs to be added to original and translated text and all the pages then need to be bind together and knots need to be sealed). I do not know if it is legal, but I heard about two cases, when the practice was exploited extensively. For the sworn translator, it can mean considerable saving in costs of delivery of finished texts. Naturally, confidence is of utmost importance.


Annamaria Amik wrote:

Plus a local (i.e. Romanian) gem: "please also send three blank pages with your certified translator's seal so that we can just print your future translations on them when needed in urgent cases".
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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 09:05
English to Czech
+ ...
Geeez! Dec 15, 2011

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

but it is not so unusual practice. Not in my case, I am not a sworn translator, but when a sworn translator trusts to an agency, he/she can give them some stamped pages (according to Slovak laws, stamped blank page needs to be added to original and translated text and all the pages then need to be bind together and knots need to be sealed). I do not know if it is legal, but I heard about two cases, when the practice was exploited extensively. For the sworn translator, it can mean considerable saving in costs of delivery of finished texts. Naturally, confidence is of utmost importance.


Now you're really kidding, Vlado, aren't you?!

I could think of a hundred ways in which such blank sheets (stamped) could be misused. Not to mention that if there is any problem with what the agency actually prints on those blank sheets, I'd be held responsible, not the agency.

That's not even about confidence; it's about sanity!

[Upraveno: 2011-12-15 01:23 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Crushing evidence Dec 15, 2011

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

but it is not so unusual practice... when a sworn translator trusts to an agency, he/she can give them some stamped pages (according to Slovak laws, stamped blank page needs to be added to original and translated text and all the pages then need to be bind together and knots need to be sealed). I do not know if it is legal, but I heard about two cases, when the practice was exploited extensively. For the sworn translator, it can mean considerable saving in costs of delivery of finished texts. Naturally, confidence is of utmost importance.


Annamaria Amik wrote:

Plus a local (i.e. Romanian) gem: "please also send three blank pages with your certified translator's seal so that we can just print your future translations on them when needed in urgent cases".


These ancecdotes bear out my theory, arising from my own personal experience, that "official" or "sworn" translation certifications are often not worth the paper they are printed on. Someone can have all the credentials in the world and still be a below-par translator, and an unscrupulous individual to boot.

Caveat emptor!


 

Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:05
English
+ ...
This one is real; just received it today. Dec 15, 2011

"looking for excellect English to Dutch translator
ear Sir/Madam,
Nice to contact you!

We are now looking for some Dutch-English translators who are experienced in automotive area as our long-term partners.
Job description:
1.This job is only for freelance translators whose mother tongue is English or Dutch,no translation agency please.
2.You should have some work or translation experience in Automotive area, that is you must be good at translating Aut
... See more
"looking for excellect English to Dutch translator
ear Sir/Madam,
Nice to contact you!

We are now looking for some Dutch-English translators who are experienced in automotive area as our long-term partners.
Job description:
1.This job is only for freelance translators whose mother tongue is English or Dutch,no translation agency please.
2.You should have some work or translation experience in Automotive area, that is you must be good at translating Automotive projects.
3.As there are many matches parts in our projects, CAT tools are used to keep the consistence of the terminology and thus there is a CAT discount.
4.This is a long term relation, that is there are consecutive projects from us.
5.Usually the CAT tool we use is XLIFF, if you haven't used it before, you should have interest learning it. Trados and other CAT tools are also sometimes used.
7.More info, contact me."

Do they want English to Dutch translators? Or the other way around? (I do NL>EN).... Nowhere in my profile do I say I have anything to do with "Automotive area" and what happened to no. 6?

[Edited at 2011-12-15 11:08 GMT]
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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Reciprocity? Tit for tat! Dec 15, 2011

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:
... Naturally, confidence is of utmost importance.


Annamaria Amik wrote:
Plus a local (i.e. Romanian) gem: "please also send three blank pages with your certified translator's seal so that we can just print your future translations on them when needed in urgent cases".


Confidence???

So the natural response for the certified/sworn translator in this case should be: "I will be sending you 200 blank certified translation sheets, all signed and sealed, in exchange for the login and password for your verified PayPal account, so I can process your payments to me as you make my official translations. This should expedite matters significantly on both sides."


On another front, the closing paragraph in my sworn translations (regulated by Law in Brazil) includes "Nothing further. I certify that the preceding is a true, faithful, and complete rendering into English of the document as it was presented to me, in witness whereof I have printed this translation on XXX standard pages, set my hand and seal."
How can I certify/witness to anything if no document was ever presented to me?


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:05
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
XLIFF Dec 15, 2011

Suzan Hamer wrote:

5.Usually the CAT tool we use is XLIFF, if you haven't used it before, you should have interest learning it. Trados and other CAT tools are also sometimes used.


Their CAT tool is XLIFF ???


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 09:05
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
No, I am not kidding. Dec 15, 2011

Actually, if a translator gives some small number of blank stamped pages to a trustworthy agency, their use (or misuse) can be easily and quickly tracked (if he gave them, say, 5 blank sheets and did for them 3 certified works in the last month, then there must remain two stamped pages). Moreover, why should an agency (that is also profiting from the business owing to faster turnaround and/or reduced costs) totally destroy its reputation among sworn translators?
I am neither advocating th
... See more
Actually, if a translator gives some small number of blank stamped pages to a trustworthy agency, their use (or misuse) can be easily and quickly tracked (if he gave them, say, 5 blank sheets and did for them 3 certified works in the last month, then there must remain two stamped pages). Moreover, why should an agency (that is also profiting from the business owing to faster turnaround and/or reduced costs) totally destroy its reputation among sworn translators?
I am neither advocating the practice nor I have any knowledge of a degree to what it is widespread, but I heard about much worser case.

What about a sworn translator (broken, overdebted sworn translator), who sells piles of blank stamped pages to another translators without even seeing resulting translations? And the translator do it for years! It is real situation, I am not pulling your leg.


[quote]Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

but it is not so unusual practice. Not in my case, I am not a sworn translator, but when a sworn translator trusts to an agency, he/she can give them some stamped pages

Now you're really kidding, Vlado, aren't you?!

I could think of a hundred ways in which such blank sheets (stamped) could be misused. Not to mention that if there is any problem with what the agency actually prints on those blank sheets, I'd be held responsible, not the agency.

That's not even about confidence; it's about sanity!

[Upraveno: 2011-12-15 01:23 GMT]
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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 09:05
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
I rather think Dec 15, 2011

that we are talking about 5-10 pages. Just to enable to a translator to avoid of visiting an agency (or going to a post office) with each marriage certificate. And I have never ever heard about an agency that would require such blank pages, only about two translators, who offered to an agency(ies) this option and the agency(ies) accepted it.

Personally, I would not dare to accept such a risk. But it is also one of the reasons, why I do not even consider obtaining certificate of swor
... See more
that we are talking about 5-10 pages. Just to enable to a translator to avoid of visiting an agency (or going to a post office) with each marriage certificate. And I have never ever heard about an agency that would require such blank pages, only about two translators, who offered to an agency(ies) this option and the agency(ies) accepted it.

Personally, I would not dare to accept such a risk. But it is also one of the reasons, why I do not even consider obtaining certificate of sworn translator. I remember the times before e-mails and fax machines, when I had to personally visit agencies with each translation twice (once at taking an original text and then on delivery) and the costs of travelling were sometimes higher than price of translation (not even talking about lost time).

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:
... Naturally, confidence is of utmost importance.


Annamaria Amik wrote:
Plus a local (i.e. Romanian) gem: "please also send three blank pages with your certified translator's seal so that we can just print your future translations on them when needed in urgent cases".


Confidence???

So the natural response for the certified/sworn translator in this case should be: "I will be sending you 200 blank certified translation sheets, all signed and sealed, in exchange for the login and password for your verified PayPal account, so I can process your payments to me as you make my official translations. This should expedite matters significantly on both sides."


On another front, the closing paragraph in my sworn translations (regulated by Law in Brazil) includes "Nothing further. I certify that the preceding is a true, faithful, and complete rendering into English of the document as it was presented to me, in witness whereof I have printed this translation on XXX standard pages, set my hand and seal."
How can I certify/witness to anything if no document was ever presented to me?


[Edited at 2011-12-15 10:10 GMT]
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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 09:05
English to Czech
+ ...
Okay Dec 15, 2011

Hi Vlado,
I feel that we are slowly hijacking this thread, but I can't resist to post just two brief comments on this, bearing in mind that you are just reporting on this (mal)practice, not advocating it. Thus, any comments that may sound personal are in fact not.

Actually, if a translator gives some small number of blank stamped pages to a trustworthy agency, their use (or misuse) can be easily and quickly tracked (if he gave them, say, 5 blank sheets and did for them 3 certified works in the last month, then there must remain two stamped pages).

My question would be: why on Earth would I want to do that? I don't like putting myself into dangerous situations, and this one stinks a mile away. Even one single blank page with my seal and signature could mean a serious loss to me worth several tens of thousands of euros. Once the loss is incurred, it's too late crying over spilt milk. No, thank you.

Moreover, why should an agency (that is also profiting from the business owing to faster turnaround and/or reduced costs) totally destroy its reputation among sworn translators?

Dunno, but my experience is that people who need a sworn translation can usually wait a day longer for the documents to be delivered to the TA's office. If they can't, they will find the sworn translator in the public register themselves and pay him/her a visit.

Moreover, to most translation agencies the translation of driving licenses and marriage and birth certificates is totally uninteresting. It's too much hassle with too little profit.

[Upraveno: 2011-12-15 10:53 GMT]


 

Gary Smith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:05
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Illegal Dec 15, 2011

Somebody was jailed for something similar in Spain not long ago. An Arabic guy who lived in Barcelona and left blank sheets in his office with his stamp on them for others to fill in while he was back in his country.

There is also the case of an agency in Madrid that was given a near-monopoly on the court interpreting jobs though it had no experience (and one honest judge who looked into the matter found that their "interpeters" not only were unqualified but often could speak little
... See more
Somebody was jailed for something similar in Spain not long ago. An Arabic guy who lived in Barcelona and left blank sheets in his office with his stamp on them for others to fill in while he was back in his country.

There is also the case of an agency in Madrid that was given a near-monopoly on the court interpreting jobs though it had no experience (and one honest judge who looked into the matter found that their "interpeters" not only were unqualified but often could speak little Spanish, let alone handle court procedures). They basically paid awful rates to people who weren't interpreters and took a huge percentage. We are talking about criminal cases here, where a badly-interpreted innocent person may be sent to jail. The agency is quite well-known and I see it has quite a good BlueBoard rating. (Unfortunately people only use the Blueboard to say if they got paid or not). I can only say I hope their day will come, but seeing "justice" these days I doubt it...backslapping and nepotism often seem to be more respected and successful than professionalism (another thorny issue in the Kudoz system's side, too).

Personally, I think we should all steer clear of such practices and denounce them publicly, as in this forum. Never forget that sworn translations are accepted in a court of law, and if they are not up to scratch, someone may have to pay a high price.
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Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 09:05
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Okay, Stano, let's stop hijacking, Dec 15, 2011

I don't want to be called hijacker at all:-) But it is interesting topic, isn't it?

As for your question - Why there are translators (even English native-speakers) who are willing to work for prices as low as EUR 6.6 per standard page? How it could be that the selling practice of the broken sworn translator I have mentioned below was not disclosed and punished for all the years (we are talking about at least six or seven yers and hunderds of pages per year)? Why there are translator
... See more
I don't want to be called hijacker at all:-) But it is interesting topic, isn't it?

As for your question - Why there are translators (even English native-speakers) who are willing to work for prices as low as EUR 6.6 per standard page? How it could be that the selling practice of the broken sworn translator I have mentioned below was not disclosed and punished for all the years (we are talking about at least six or seven yers and hunderds of pages per year)? Why there are translators who wait for payment overdue for as much as six months and still beg the very same agency for another works?

I can't change it, so the only thing that I can do is to make as good work as possible and believe that the effort and skills will be rewarded.

Have a nice day.



Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Hi Vlado,
I feel that we are slowly hijacking this thread, but I can't resist to post just two brief comments on this, bearing in mind that you are just reporting on this (mal)practice, not advocating it. Thus, any comments that may sound personal are in fact not.

Actually, if a translator gives some small number of blank stamped pages to a trustworthy agency, their use (or misuse) can be easily and quickly tracked (if he gave them, say, 5 blank sheets and did for them 3 certified works in the last month, then there must remain two stamped pages).

My question would be: why on Earth would I want to do that? I don't like putting myself into dangerous situations, and this one stinks a mile away. Even one single blank page with my seal and signature could mean a serious loss to me worth several tens of thousands of euros. Once the loss is incurred, it's too late crying over spilt milk. No, thank you.

Moreover, why should an agency (that is also profiting from the business owing to faster turnaround and/or reduced costs) totally destroy its reputation among sworn translators?

Dunno, but my experience is that people who need a sworn translation can usually wait a day longer for the documents to be delivered to the TA's office. If they can't, they will find the sworn translator in the public register themselves and pay him/her a visit.

Moreover, to most translation agencies the translation of driving licenses and marriage and birth certificates is totally uninteresting. It's too much hassle with too little profit.

[Upraveno: 2011-12-15 10:53 GMT]


[Edited at 2011-12-15 11:42 GMT]
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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 09:05
English to Czech
+ ...
I still don't get it Dec 15, 2011

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:
But it is interesting topic, isn't it?

Indeed it is.

As for your question - Why there are translators (even English native-speakers) who are willing to work for prices as low as EUR 6.6 per standard page?

Honestly, I don't know. I don't think that the situation between the two countries of ours is a whole lot different, but the rate you mention is a student (3rd year) price over here. Maybe the translators in Slovakia have submitted to the pressure exerted on translation rates by some (most?) agencies far too easily. I myself work for a Slovakia-based agency at a fair rate, but maybe it's an exception that proves the rule?

How it could be that the selling practice of the broken sworn translator I have mentioned below was not disclosed and punished for all the years (we are talking about at least six or seven years and hunderds of pages per year)?

Most probably because there hasn't been yet any single case of real misuse, but IMO it's just a matter of time. As the saying goes, pitcher goes often to the well, but it is broken at last.

Why there are translators who wait for payment overdue for as much as six months and still beg the very same agency for another works?

Honestly, I don't know either. But I think the reason is hidden somewhere in my above reply.
Anyways, the situation in Slovakia, as you describe it, is probably dire. OTOH, I don't think that selling a few, or even a few hundred blank pages with my seal will improve this situation in the long term: the current situation needs to be dealt with at its roots.

I can't change it, so the only thing that I can do is to make as good work as possible and believe that the effort and skills will be rewarded.

Indeed, and I wish you and all the others much luck!

Have a nice day too.

Stano


 

Leena vom Hofe  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:05
English to German
+ ...
XLIFF and sometimes Trados... Great! Dec 15, 2011

Suzan Hamer wrote:


5.Usually the CAT tool we use is XLIFF, if you haven't used it before, you should have interest learning it. Trados and other CAT tools are also sometimes used.



Great! They seem to be an experienced partner in translation. Trustwothy aren't they?



 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:05
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
A recent exchange of emails Dec 15, 2011

... between an agency and me.

"Hi
We have an academic transcripts to translate from French into English

If you are interested in taking the job, please send your full resume for consideration and your best rate in USD"
[their email address]
THanks

Andrew"

"Dear Andrew,

Thank you for your enquiry. As you have given no information at all about the transcript(s?) (e.g. is the subject matter sociology or nuclear phys
... See more
... between an agency and me.

"Hi
We have an academic transcripts to translate from French into English

If you are interested in taking the job, please send your full resume for consideration and your best rate in USD"
[their email address]
THanks

Andrew"

"Dear Andrew,

Thank you for your enquiry. As you have given no information at all about the transcript(s?) (e.g. is the subject matter sociology or nuclear physics?) it is impossible for me to give you an answer about this particular job. I do not accept payment in USD, only in EUR or GBP. I have also had a brief look at you agency's website, which is written in truly dreadful English. I regret that does not make me feel terribly positive about the possibility of working with A** Translation.

Regards,
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