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Translator's Shack is a collection of links, news, reviews and opinions about translation technologies. It's edited and updated by Roberto Savelli, an English to Italian translator, project manager and company owner of Albatros Soluzioni Linguistiche, a team of English-Italian translators, which hosts and supports this blog.

The Life as a PM category, managed by Gabriella Ascari, contains topics that are less technical in nature, but which we're sure will be appreciated by owners of small translation businesses and freelancers.

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Always check the background of potential new clients (or scammers)

It does not happen very often, but our team receives messages of this type every now and then:

We are XXX. Now we have a large translation project from English to Italian. We want to find the translator for this project.

When you have interest, could you tranlate a little text from English in Italian for the test? Looking forward to cooperate with you.

This topic is regularly discussed on various blogs and forums, see for instance:
Should we haggle like Levantines?
Taking free translation tests

We do not have a standard policy about accepting or refusing requests for translation tests (paid or free). Instead, we try to check the background of the company that sends the request. In this case, a quick trip to the ProZ Blue Board (lately one of the few areas of ProZ that we find useful enough to justify the subscription fee), showed the following in this company’s profile:

This outsourcer has been banned from posting jobs at ProZ.com
Well, this should be enough to make a simple decision. I think this is the result of the company having violated ProZ’s policies and is a strong indication of poor reputation.

“Likelihood of working again” is very low
This score summarizes the feedback given by the translator about the company. In this particular case, the company has a long track record starting in 2005. Until March 2007, the feedback given by translators was very high (almost invariably 5 out of 5), but from that date on it deteriorated dramatically, and there is nothing but negative feedback (20 or so comments showing 1 out of 5 points).

The feedback numeric score is available to non-paying users of ProZ. If you are a paying user, you get to see the long list of textual feedback. In this case it reports this outsourcer’s habit of paying invoices with incredible delays.

6 comments to Always check the background of potential new clients (or scammers)

  • I always check potential customers on the Blue Board, but also (and, in fact, especially), on the Payment Practices List and on the TCR list.

    You can find a more complete list of other similar services in Agency rating lists from my blog.

    • Apiatcpreion for this information is over 9000-thank you!

    • I made tortillas once, but can’t remember what I used for the fat. I know it wasn’t lard. I also rolled them out with a rolling pin. They were very good, much better than what we can buy in the grocery store, but it was time consuming trying to roll them out by hand. This post makes me want to try them again using lard. I bet they are so much easier to make with a tortilla press too.

    • Great insight. Relieved I’m on the same side as you.

  • Roberto Savelli

    Hi Riccardo, thanks for the useful link! (I took the liberty to fix the hyperlink, I’m sure you won’t mind).

    I think the Blue Board is a good starting point if you do not want to subscribe to any services and get a general idea about a potential client. For more in-depth information about the client’s payment practices, Riccardo’s post linked above provides… “full coverage”!

  • I also use the Blue Board and Payment practices list.

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