Translation Scams and More…

By Adriana Adarve & Donnamarie Leemann – Head of Marketing at Adarve Translations

“There is a further, greater, dimension to the whole business of translation. It isn’t just a business; it is a labor of love. Most people, given their druthers, prefer to speak just one language. Some people seek out different languages and different cultures in an effort to understand something greater than their own parochial origins.”A couple of days ago I sent out a newsletter to my clients on which the issue of translation scams was addressed. This is a short excerpt of what Donnamarie and I wrote on that e-mail:

“Nowadays it seems that anything and everything can be hacked or scammed.

“In fact, it’s not just nowadays. It has always been true that some people will try to gain access to information that is none of their business, who will try to bend the truth to make money on false pretenses. Just read a translation of an ancient Greek play, scan Shakespeare, plow through a few of Charles Dicken’s books, or read some classic science fiction from the 1940’s. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing).

“It is especially poignant, and frustrating, to those of us who care about quality and accurate translations that scammers have recently focused on the translation business as a way to try to separate credulous people in need of our services from their hard-earned money. While there are many motivations and levels of integrity in any business, quality translators must actually care about and be aware of many facets of cultural and historical elements in addition to the purely linguistic elements of the art of translation.

“This is how you can separate the wheat from the chaff. When a potential client makes an inquiry to a translator, it’s not enough for the client to accept a resume or CV without any back-up evidence that the translator can provide a quality service.”

Client Friendly?

Even though what follows happened to Donnamarie some time ago, it still happens to me on an almost daily basis:

“A couple of years ago, I received a very slick email that purported to have been sent to me from VISA. It was beautifully written and presented, showed the VISA logo and colors, and appeared to be legitimate. It asked me to confirm credit card passwords and other information. I had never given VISA my email address, so when I received the email I contacted them to report the attempted scam.”

The other day Donnamarie received a very crude email that claimed to have been sent from her email provider:

‘(Email Provider’s Name) Internet customers Upgrade! This Email is from (Email Provider’s Name) customers Support to all (Email Provider’s Name) Internet User, we are sending it to every web mail User Accounts Owner for safety. We are having congestion to the anonymous registration of accounts we are shutting down some accounts and yours was among those to be deleted, verify your E-mail by filling out your valid Log-In  information: User name, Password, Date of Birth, Territory. Warning! Account owner that refuses to update his/her account after one week of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently. Provide above email account data’s. Thanks for being our valued customer. (Incorrect rendering of email provider’s name.)’ – From

Donnamarie goes on to saying, “The perpetrators of the VISA scam had an impeccable presentation, and impeccable English. The perpetrators of my Email Provider’s scam showed deficient linguistic ability and should have used a quality translator if they really hoped to snag very many people into giving up personal details and passwords.

“Scams are ubiquitous these days. They appear on the screens of private users such as myself, and on the screens of professionals like the translation team at Adarve Translations. You have to protect yourself every time you turn around, you have to protect yourself coming and going.

“The people at Adarve Translations could have taken the crude scam email that claimed to have been sent from my Email Provider and turned it into as slick a piece as the sham VISA email I received a couple of years ago.

“The Adarve Translation team could have provided a correct translation, but the point is that they would never have done so.

“A quality translation bureau does not simply crank out pages that turn words in one language into words in another language. It isn’t that easy. If it was, we’d all be using computer programs to do it, but as we have discussed on other pages, computer programs are not yet up to the job.”

Something Greater Than Us

“There is a further, greater, dimension to the whole business of translation. It isn’t just a business; it is a labor of love. Most people, given their druthers, prefer to speak just one language. Some people seek out different languages and different cultures in an effort to understand something greater than their own parochial origins. A few of these seekers dedicate themselves to being intermediaries between cultures and languages, and work at translating words as a small part of the greater effort of promoting understanding between different cultures and linguistic groups.

“There are many options out there that purport to be able to meet a person’s or a company’s translation needs. Many of the purveyors of translations have bogus credentials, and can only provide crude or rudimentary translations. Sure, an accredited, experienced and legitimate translation bureau such as Adarve Translations will cost you more than a fly-by-night outfit that uses deficient computer programs and employs people who can speak and write English, Spanish, French, whatever—after a fashion.

Adarve Translations can provide full linguistic, historical, cultural and technical translations. No scams, no shams, guaranteed the real thing in all the many languages our bureau is expert in.”

P.S. “My expertise is in the English language and I seldom agree to translate documents but recently a friend asked me to translate a technical document from French into English so it could be understood and further translated into Chinese. I shudder to think how the final document will read. I agreed to make the translation because the technical document concerned a device that is of great benefit to handicapped people.

“There are people who will scam and lie and cheat to the best of their ability. There are other people who will do their best as a matter of course.  It’s the client who choses, it’s the client who decides to go with a quality, reputable outfit or to cut corners and go with the low-cost, low-quality, low-integrity purveyor of services. What’s it gonna be?”

Donnamarie Leemann

La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

About the Authors: Adriana Adarve is the owner of Adarve Translations and is fluent in three languages (English, Spanish & French), as well as multi-cultural. Donnamarie Leemann is an artist and writer who has for many years contributed to the BBC and to many other public forums.

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