A few weeks ago an "agency" emailed me regarding a translation project. The use of double quotes is necessary and I'll explain straight-away what I mean.
As I was reading through the email, the alarm bells starting ringing. Something did not feel right. The sender's email address was ending @hotmail.com and there was no professional email signature. The alleged translation agency had a website on which there were no contact details and not a single face or name revealing who is behind the company. After googling the name of the sender and the email address, it was obvious that this was a scam.
There are scams in every profession and we all need to be able to read the signs. I was able to see through them, but unfortunately, the individual who contacted the "translation agency" didn't. The email sent to me by the "agency" contained attachments full of personal data. This means that someone who wanted English into Greek translation of their personal documents trusted this their information in the wrong hands.
To protect my clients, including private individuals, I am writing this blog post, listing 3 simple signs indicating when a translation provider is professional to help you choose wisely.
1. Is your translation provider qualified for the job?
Translation isn't a commodity. Professional translators have degrees in translation or languages or both. Some of the Universities are also part of the wider European Master's in Translation Network (EMT), an EU initiative standardising the educational path leading to qualification. Your bilingual cousin, your language teacher or your French neighbour might be able to translate something for you, free of charge, but how good will it be, how long will it take them and are they going to do it on time? If you are outsourcing to an agency, you won't know if the translator they will use is going to be qualified. You can, however, check on the agency's website if they have any selection criteria according to which they recruit their translators.
2. Is your translation provider a member of a Professional Body or Association?
In the UK there is the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIoL). There are other Associations too, such as the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI), and the list goes on. In fact, usually, each country has its own Association. It is important that your supplier is a member of one of the Associations. If they are, this means that they went through an application and screening process, they've passed exams, they've had references, but above all, it means that they comply with the Code of Conduct as set by the respective professional body. Translation agencies can also be members of the Translation Associations.
3. Last but not least, does your provider have an online presence?
I know a few colleagues might disagree with me here, but I believe that the more you put your face out there, the more trust you inspire to your potential customers. Imagine a website without a contact email, or a name, or a photograph, or information about where the translator is based. How easily do you answer the phone, if you don't know who's calling? Similarly, if your translation provider, is nowhere to be found online, and you don't know who they are or where they are, would you send them your documents for translation?
Stay safe and read those warning signs!
Vasiliki is a professional translator and
interpreter working with English and Greek. She runs Greek to Me Translations from Oxford, UK. She is a Member of the CIoL and the ITI and she is registered with the Greek Embassy. She specialises in legal, marketing, and psychometrics. Her mission is to help you reach your goals through the power of words. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.