Translation Organizations


The global translation industry is expected to grow significantly for the foreseeable future according to the Department of Labor. Despite this expansion, the industry is experiencing negative impact from the emergence of platforms such as Smartling, Unababel, Hyperlingo, Upwork, One Hour Translation and other sites. Most of these online platforms pay ridiculously low rates, some as little as $8 an hour! This, of course, is putting downward pressure on the overall market and consequently rates are being pushed down for translators who are not utilizing these platforms for their clients. Another critical issue is the fact that there is no standardization in the industry protecting translators from clients who are scammers and non-payers.

There is a marked increase within the past few years in companies that set up shop solely to scam translators and many have no intention whatsoever of paying the translator for services rendered. They run this scam until all resources are tapped, declare themselves bankrupt and start up again as a new company with a different name. Many companies have now incorporated this ruse as part of their business model using lame excuses after the project is completed and submitted that the translation is of inferior quality resembling that of a machine translation or Google Translate, or their client has not yet paid them hence they can not pay you or even worse they are not solvent and have no cash flow or operating expenses. This is becoming an increasing frequent problem and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

There is a need for some type of organization or support system for the translator in the vetting process of new clients in order to minimize this onerous risk and loss of income. It is in the best interest of the entire translation ecosystem including the brokers, trade associations, etc. to band together and eradicate these criminals from our infrastructure. The translator community is too fragmented to take this issue on by ourselves – we need the backing and support of the translation institutions at large!


We, as translators, need to band together, let our collective voices be heard and demand that standards be implemented to help protect us and the work we perform in ‘good faith’ from the scammers and non-payers in our industry.

We need to take action now before its too late! We call upon ATA, Proz, TranslatorsCafe and various other translation organizations/institutions to help create global standardization that vets clients who use their brokerage platforms. It is not enough for them to say “We are only brokers and accept no responsibility” any longer. That in and of itself is grossly irresponsible in today’s world of cyber-crime and data breaches.

The ‘honor system’ is broke and it simply does not work in this arena any longer. We are paying annual memberships into these brokers in the tens of millions of dollars per year and at the very least we should be able to expect that they run cursory background checks on any client posting a job over $500.00 to ensure that the client is liquid and legitimate.

Is that really asking too much of these brokers to reinvest a small portion of our membership fees back into their companies to build a mechanism that protects us from these criminals who now know that they can scam us with impunity?

NO MORE SCAMS. It is time the translation industry and the new technology being developed become more translator focused. Everything seems to be geared towards making it easier for the clients i.e. lower rates, online monitoring, longer pay terms, etc. – not the translator. WE do the work and we should benefit from the new advancing technology, as opposed to worrying about whether we are going to get paid or not while at the same time seeing our rates being pushed down to near ‘sweat shop’ labor levels. The only way to get this accomplished is by standing together and demanding that we are heard by the leaders in our industry who have the resources and ability to make these changes on our behalf!



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The Nomorescam: Stop Translator Scams and Non-Payers petition to Translation Organizations was written by Helene Richards and is in the category Employment at GoPetition.