Book translation - Jeniffer B?
Thread poster: Emma Sharp

Emma Sharp
Canada
Local time: 22:54
French to English
+ ...
Aug 18

Hello, I am new to ProZ and was contacted very quickly (despite my lack of experience and of credentials) by a woman named Jeniffer B. (last name omitted for privacy). Her first email furnished me with almost no information except for her name, her email address and her need for an English-French translation. I replied quickly, asking her to give me a document type, length, etc. as well as reminding her to take a look at my profile for my rates. I was very happy to receive some attention despite... See more
Hello, I am new to ProZ and was contacted very quickly (despite my lack of experience and of credentials) by a woman named Jeniffer B. (last name omitted for privacy). Her first email furnished me with almost no information except for her name, her email address and her need for an English-French translation. I replied quickly, asking her to give me a document type, length, etc. as well as reminding her to take a look at my profile for my rates. I was very happy to receive some attention despite my inexperience so I didn't pay attention to the "sketchiness".

I just received her response this morning: 15 600 words in the body of her email, the text to translate I imagine. No greeting, no answer to my questions, not even a title to the text. I was confused, so I fed a few lines of the text into Google and found that the text was actually a book named "The Search for Philip K. Dick" by Anne R. Dick. The book was published by Tachyon Publishing, but they do not have anyone named Jeniffer B. listed in their staff online.

I answered her today, telling her I might need a lot of time to translate such a big document, outlining the total cost and proposing an advance payment at a certain degree of completion. I tagged this onto the end of my email:
"Finally, I would like to know more about the nature of this document. Upon a quick google search of a few lines of the text, I have noticed that it is from a book by Anne R. Dick. I would like to know why you need me to translate this document. Do you work for a publishing firm? I would like for you to send me a bit more information about yourself and your project before I start working on it."

I need advice. As I understand it, it is legal to translate a book without being asked by the publisher (or whoever owns the rights to the book), but it is not legal to be remunerated for it. If she was working for Tachyon, wouldn't she have said so in her first email? And I still don't know what she wants to do with the translated text.

As you can see, I tried to remain polite and neutral, even though I have a lot of doubt about this. This would be my first remunerated translation project and give me a head-start to getting established as a translator. So of course, I'm still very attracted to an offer of this amplitude. However, I'd rather wait a while longer than to participate in something sketchy, or even potentially illegal. This is all very confusing and disappointing.

Does anyone have advice for me? Should I go ahead with this person's offer, or should I decline?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:54
German to English
This sounds like a scam Aug 18

Ask yourself why, as a budding translator, would someone engage you to translate a book-length manuscript?

There are, unfortunately, scoundrels who monitor sites like Proz looking for beginners eager to acquire experience and who are susceptible to what sound like great offers.

Please don't waste time pursuing this "offer"!


Michele Fauble
Yolanda Broad
Morano El-Kholy
Sheila Wilson
Philippe Etienne
Joe France
Teresa Borges
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:54
Member (2012)
French to English
Hi Emma Aug 18

You are right to be wary of such offers.

However, I would by no means say that this has to be a scam. This could be a genuine person who is studying/is interested in Philip K. Dick, and there appears to be no existing translation of this particular work by Anne R. Dick.

Perhaps she cannot afford a huge amount to have it translated, and seeing that in your profile you say that you are eager to gain experience, she might think it would be something you would be able to t
... See more
You are right to be wary of such offers.

However, I would by no means say that this has to be a scam. This could be a genuine person who is studying/is interested in Philip K. Dick, and there appears to be no existing translation of this particular work by Anne R. Dick.

Perhaps she cannot afford a huge amount to have it translated, and seeing that in your profile you say that you are eager to gain experience, she might think it would be something you would be able to try.

I'm sorry, I don't know anything about the legality of translating part of a book without the publisher's permission.

Hopefully she will reply and give you more details.

[Edited at 2019-08-18 20:11 GMT]
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Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:54
French to English
+ ...
Name Aug 18

To me, "Jeniffer" seems an unusual spelling, though not necessarily impossible.

Yolanda Broad
Kevin Fulton
neilmac
 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 04:54
Member (2016)
English to German
Probable overpayment scam / copyright issues Aug 18

Emma, what makes you think that it is legal to translate a book when you do not own the copyright? This might be different by country but in most countries you will need the permission/license from the copyright owner.

Anyway, the most popular scam (particularly against newbies) is the overpayment scam: the other party tries to pay you by forged check and invents some reason for you to send back part of the money, be it overpayment, forwarding of a fee to an alleged third party or w
... See more
Emma, what makes you think that it is legal to translate a book when you do not own the copyright? This might be different by country but in most countries you will need the permission/license from the copyright owner.

Anyway, the most popular scam (particularly against newbies) is the overpayment scam: the other party tries to pay you by forged check and invents some reason for you to send back part of the money, be it overpayment, forwarding of a fee to an alleged third party or whatnot. The fact that the actual translation job is obscure and unprofessional, that the text was probably taken from the internet, that the other side accepted your rates easily and that the other side is reluctant to provide verifiable identity info indicates that it is some kind of this scam.

To be safe here: Never accept checks from an unknown person (even if your bank accepts it, it can bounce even months later). Never, absolutely never "return" or "forward" money that you (allegedly) received.

If you think this is a legitimate job, you can try to ask for an advance payment by a safe payment method (e. g. bank transfer). But since you already showed the other side that you did some diligence, the most likely outcome is that you won't hear from "her" again.
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Yolanda Broad
Kevin Fulton
Elizabeth Bruna Ferreira Alves Pereira
Morano El-Kholy
 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 21:54
English to Russian
+ ...
Pleeeeeease Aug 19

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

This could be a genuine person who is studying/is interested in Philip K. Dick


Elizabeth, please don't confuse the newbie.

A genuine person would have written something very different to Emma.. I just can't imagine such person. Or, if aware of Proz at all, posted a job offer - there is not just a pool but an ocean of choices willing to work for very low rates.

Emma, please do not communicate with the scammer any more.

Don't worry about "privacy", but if you are reluctant to post your particular email in whole. compare it to others - there is plenty available in many, many scam posts. Or check Google "Jeniffer xxx translation scam"


Elizabeth Bruna Ferreira Alves Pereira
Vadim Kadyrov
Philippe Etienne
Teresa Borges
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Robert Forstag
 

Elizabeth Bruna Ferreira Alves Pereira
Brazil
Local time: 01:54
Member (Aug 2019)
English to Portuguese
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


I think you definitely evaded a scam Aug 19

I agree that, if this person were sincere, they would have approached very differently. If this Jeniffer was studying Philip K Dick, I'm sure this would have been explicitly stated in the very first email.
I don't think you will hear from them again after your last response, I believe you did very well in communicating with them. If they do answer, I hope you make the right choice. Pay attention to the scams episodes that were described so many times on this forum, so that you know what t
... See more
I agree that, if this person were sincere, they would have approached very differently. If this Jeniffer was studying Philip K Dick, I'm sure this would have been explicitly stated in the very first email.
I don't think you will hear from them again after your last response, I believe you did very well in communicating with them. If they do answer, I hope you make the right choice. Pay attention to the scams episodes that were described so many times on this forum, so that you know what to be aware of.
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Kevin Fulton
IrinaN
 

Mihai Badea (X)
Luxembourg
Local time: 04:54
Member (Feb 2019)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Risk management Aug 19

Hi, Emma,

Welcome to the translation industry! A really interesting one that is not short of traps, though.

I suggest you might want to acquire a risk management strategy, just to confirm your gut feelings. There is some useful material on this very website.

Good luck!


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:54
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Looks like a scam Aug 19

Hi Emma,

if this Jeniffer was truly interested in your services, she (he or it?) would have provided you with more detailed information such as the title, the budget, delivery date(s), etc.

Sending you the manuscript to be translated in the body of the email is another hint that she doesn't own the copyright or might be entitled to use the manuscript in any way.

The complete absence of courtesy (addressing you properly, providing information about herself)
... See more
Hi Emma,

if this Jeniffer was truly interested in your services, she (he or it?) would have provided you with more detailed information such as the title, the budget, delivery date(s), etc.

Sending you the manuscript to be translated in the body of the email is another hint that she doesn't own the copyright or might be entitled to use the manuscript in any way.

The complete absence of courtesy (addressing you properly, providing information about herself) instantly raises a red flag.

IMO you have saved yourself from falling for a scammer.
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Teresa Borges
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:54
Member (2012)
French to English
Okaaaay Aug 19

IrinaN wrote:

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

This could be a genuine person who is studying/is interested in Philip K. Dick


Elizabeth, please don't confuse the newbie.

A genuine person would have written something very different to Emma.. I just can't imagine such person. Or, if aware of Proz at all, posted a job offer - there is not just a pool but an ocean of choices willing to work for very low rates.

Emma, please do not communicate with the scammer any more.

Don't worry about "privacy", but if you are reluctant to post your particular email in whole. compare it to others - there is plenty available in many, many scam posts. Or check Google "Jeniffer xxx translation scam"


I'm sure Emma is intelligent enough to listen to the advice of everyone who tells her this is a scam, so don't worry too much about my comments.

I was merely pointing out that there is a possibility that this is a genuine person (albeit inept at communication), a private individual wanting a translation done for personal reasons, making a tentative enquiry.


 

Emma Sharp
Canada
Local time: 22:54
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Aug 19

Thank you to everyone who answered my post, I'm very grateful to everyone who took the time to offer me advice! I still haven't received any answer from this person, but I'm having some difficulty imagining the kind of reason they could give me that would legitimize this type of interaction. In any case, I think I'll wait a while longer for my first project; I'm still looking forward to learning more about this industry, including its riskier sides.... See more
Thank you to everyone who answered my post, I'm very grateful to everyone who took the time to offer me advice! I still haven't received any answer from this person, but I'm having some difficulty imagining the kind of reason they could give me that would legitimize this type of interaction. In any case, I think I'll wait a while longer for my first project; I'm still looking forward to learning more about this industry, including its riskier sides.

And concerning my assumptions about the legality of translating a book: what I meant to say was that if I was to translate part of a book for practice and/or for my own pleasure, without publishing it and without making any type of profit, I'm assuming that wouldn't be illegal. Then again, I'm a beginner who's just guessing!

Thank you again for all your support, it's really nice to receive so many responses to my newbie "crisis"
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Elizabeth Tamblin
 


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