Are We Missing Something?

Have you been receiving strange, unsolicited job applications, even if you are just a one-person business and are not looking to hire? We've received a large amount of these lately, and we are curious to hear whether our dear fellow linguists have also received these messages. We've been getting junk mail/spam by supposed translators who supposedly want to collaborate with us. These messages are all quite unprofessional, come from free e-mail addresses and are full of grammar and spelling mistakes. All these message do have a résumé attached, making them seem somewhat legitimate at first glance. However, common sense and a quick Google search tell us that the schools where the alleged linguists studied do not exist and that the positions these folks have allegedly held sound less than believable. 

So, sure, we hit the delete button. But the question remains: who are these people? What do they want from us? Scammers look for a way to make money, so perhaps these folks really think someone will hire them and they can do a Google translate job and then charge for a translation? Perhaps. In that case, though, they'd be better off contacting unsuspecting small businesses. Why would they e-mail professional "colleagues" who can see that these folks are impostors in 30 seconds? Very odd. If we were scammers, we wouldn't try to scam the folks who know the particular business model really well. It's analogous to a seller of fake purses contacting Gucci and trying to sell them fake Gucci purses. Or are we completely missing something here? (It's happened before.) Any thoughts, readers? 

For your Friday entertainment, here are excerpts from applications/résumés. Enjoy!

I am a super organized and responsible person, what you would call a perfectionist, always looking after the details and things to be perfectly executed and for yesterday. I love the follow up of every issue already on the way/began and have them done. I am very good at setting up meetings and a scheduled time-table. I am looking for a position, where I can work on full time basis, from home. I am a highly motivated woman, very energetic, organized, responsible and with a keen ability to multitask. I learn fast and like to learn new things. I love debate and discussion.  

I do translation in the following areas: Business Letters; Tenders; Biddings; Contracts & Agreements; Brochures; Handbooks; User´s Manuals; Training material; Technical areas; Catalogues; Software applications; Articles; General letters & texts.
My rates are flexible according to the turnaround time, specialization involved and also for large volume of short texts. I am also available to work after-hours at no extra charges.


Riccardo on July 28, 2011 at 10:12 PM said...

Sounds like most (though not all) ProZ "translators".

hbehl said...

I think the most frightening possibility is that these are actually would-be translators.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on July 28, 2011 at 10:32 PM said...

@Riccardo: we thought about that too, but can these really be our "colleagues" -- fellow "translators"? We've seen some pretty weak applications, but upon a bit of research, we realized that these were legitimate folks who just aren't that professional. Lately, the applications have been getting odder. The question still remains: why target "fellow" linguists? Thanks for commenting. See you in Boston?

The Intercultural Kitchen on July 29, 2011 at 12:11 AM said...

Hi, I'm also a one-person business and keep getting lots of these awful e-mail applications. I've been also wondering about the purpose and the only explanation I can think of is what Riccardo already suggested. These fellow "translators" don't even bother selecting their targets!
First comment here, please to meet you all ;-)

Simone on July 29, 2011 at 4:50 AM said...

I think it may be people who really believe someone will fall for it. They don't have any translation degree (but want to make some money with Google Translate or similar), and they know that they need to make their resume shine, so they simply invent stuff. And then they send their applications to every potential candidate they'll find (without checking who you really are). You won't believe how naive people sometimes are. I still have a rather useless profile at one of those freelancing portals out there, and the other day, a woman from the US (!) came to the forums and told everybody how happy she was about having landed her first job -- with a rate of about $1/hour! When people told her that she had made a terrible mistake, she felt insulted and couldn't believe that others wouldn't take her serious. So, these folks sending you their applications might be as naive as that woman. Sad...

DawnM on July 29, 2011 at 6:05 AM said...

I wonder if your email address is included in one of those agency email lists that are sold on the internet. I can imagine someone buying one of these assuming he can send a doctored CV, eventually get jobs and just use Google Translate or deliver something substandard. I'm afraid there are enough agencies out there that do not check CVs carefully and then simply forward a job without checking it.

Jennifer Bikkál Horne on July 29, 2011 at 6:34 AM said...

As someone who is also starting out in the business, I can see why people would take this approach. Most books, websites, and blogs directed to translators mention that beginners should find a mentor. It seems as though this is what's going on. They see how experienced and renowned you are in the industry and then just give it a shot! They are just not realizing that even though they are offering their services, their approach is actually turning people off. When I felt the need to find a mentor, I actually posted a discussion on a website forum and was lucky enough to find someone I like and that is experienced and honest. Since I am enrolled in a class, I am also meeting experienced people there. The process was definitely more natural and nobody felt awkward! =)

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on July 29, 2011 at 5:02 PM said...

@Noema: thanks for your first comment and keep on reading and commenting. We are just floored that these folks would be real translators. We still tend to think that they are not, as the schools they are listing on their CVs do not exist. Odd indeed.

@Simone: wow, that story with the woman charging $1/hour made us cringe! Terrible, terrible. We still think there's something else going on with these CVs. We see plenty of bad CVs from people with identifiable past employers and schools. They are true linguists, but are just not that good at creating a solid CV. These other folks seem to fall in another category.

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on July 29, 2011 at 5:04 PM said...

@Dawn: wow, sounds like you just solved the puzzle for us -- we bet you are right. How annoying that we ended up on one of these lists, but it does make for good Friday entertainment and food for blog posts. :)

@Jen: welcome to our blog and thanks for commenting. We completely agree -- finding a mentor is key. We are both happy and proud mentors to fellow linguists, and we wish we'd had mentors when we started out.

Jennifer on July 30, 2011 at 10:18 AM said...

I also believe there could be malware inbedded in their resumes. That happened to an artist friend who received some very unusual and misspelled requests to buy some of her work.

Anonymous said...

I also receive such emails on my business email account, via my profile and even from translation agencies that are writing me about services they offer, dumping rates they have, etc. I delete them immediately, but they are really annoying and based on the last 2 such emails, I simply think those people make poor google research and send applications to all websites that appear as searching results for "translations", not even checking the websites they open, only the contact information.

There was a discussion in forums a long time ago, where some agencies were complaining they receive applications that don´t match their profile, i.e. agency is offering services in 2-3 european languages and they receive applications for Asiatic languages (for example).

It is probably some translators´ marketing strategy :) Good luck to them! :)

p.s. I read your blog regularly and enjoyed your book! Thank you for your great posts!

Rose on August 3, 2011 at 2:16 AM said...

I was getting some dodgy requests for a while, however I replied (not incredibly politely, but pointing out similar things to those you have mentioned above) to a couple and they seem to have stopped. For now. I also told them it was illegal to send a marketing email between EU countries without an unsubscribe link. It could be that someone complained to whoever they bought the list from, who removed my list as they did not like me informing their customers that they were breaking the law.
I also made sure to change my email as it appears on my website. It now says info AT lingocode DOT com. Few spambots can work that one out. (be warned that some spambots can read images, if you plan to post your email as an image).
I think they got our email addresses through Google, Judy, because we rank quite highly. I think some people have seen my blog about translation and so assume I am an agency. Perhaps they don't think a freelancer would be capable of writing a blog?
And as Holly says, it really is possible some are genuine freelancers. Others may indeed be naive enough to think we just have not discovered Google translate.

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