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Sometimes, someone may offer work to a freelance translator claiming to be employed by a reputable translation agency. This could be a scammer who in fact has nothing to do with any real agency at all.

The first thing the scammer does is communicate with the potential victim, who is normally a translator, through email and pretends to represent a professional translation agency with a translating job that has become available. When the translator agrees to take on the job, the price is negotiated. The cost is not normally paid until the translation has been dispatched to the client.

A professional scammer does not front up with the money and the only information the professional translator has is the scammer`s email. The scammer then passes the German translation to his or her client and receives the payment for a translation that he or she never did, leaving the real translator out of pocket.

Another way a scammer works is to hire a good freelance German English translator and pay in advance of the translation completion through the use of a fraudulent cheque. The amount paid is usually far more than any normal rate for a professional translation. Once the freelance translator has completed the job, he or she offers to refund to the scammer the amount of overpayment. This is done by cashing in the cheque and offering the refund.

Commonly, the freelancer is informed by the bank that the cheque is a fake and no transaction can take place. By this time the scammer has discontinued his or her email address so all communication is lost and the freelance translator is left without any payment for might could have been a lucrative job. The scammer has got a free translation which will be sent to a client where payment will be received.

How to prevent being scammed

As a freelance translator it is your responsibility to scrutinise any translation job opportunity and one of the hallmarks of a scammer claiming to represent a good translation company is emailing in poor English. Any translation service that states it handles professional translations to and from English will always use perfect English in an email. If you are offered a job, check the translation company’s name and contact details through a Google search. If the company is likely to be a scammer there may well be information on the internet revealing any scams that other professional German translators have experienced.

In the end the only way to stop this sort of immoral scamming is to draw attention to it through translation forums and other media such as social media websites.