How to Spot and Deal with Fraud Translation Clients

How To Spot And Deal With Fraud Translation Clients

Fraud clients and scammers are everywhere, and the translation industry is no exception. Those scammers have so many motives to approach and contact localization service providers (LSPs) especially the small-sized enterprises or even freelancers, but none of these motives include being “reliable clients” or being keen about their reputation in the market.

There are several reasons that make the translation and localization industry a good environment for fraud clients to easily find their victims and conduct their suspicious business activities with. On the top of those reasons is that the majority of the business operations are being conducted on an international scale and in a virtual environment, which means taking the advantage of different laws applied in each country and perhaps the legal gaps of reserving the rights in such type of business.

Since the issue of fraud clients is becoming insidious due to the fact that most of the communication within the translation industry takes place over the internet where information rules, Information becomes the foundation of each partnership for a translation project, and information dictates trust. However, the right information available is all it takes to gauge who is a real client and who is just fraud.

And while fraud clients come in different forms and manipulate in different ways, the good news is there are a lot of strategies for spotting them and dealing with them.

This is what our blogpost is going to look into; scroll down to learn more.

Fraud Clients: The Real Motives!

Why do they do it? That’s the question. Probably, we will try to answer other questions you might have in mind around this topic but it all comes down to them unethically leveraging and utilizing all the available linguistic resources of those who are on the lookout for beneficial partnership with prospect clients without having to pay them anything in return. This surely brings about catastrophic consequences to LSPs and freelancers.

How to Spot them

Unfortunately, because fraud & non-payer clients would do whatever it takes for the perfect fraud, the lines might be a little blurred between recognizing a real client who is worth your time and effort and another who needs to be immediately spotted and handled. Despite this, their constant attempts have helped in tracking their typical patterns and behavior in conducting the translation scams.

Here are some of the red flags that will help put you on your guard to avoid translation scams. 

Watch out for first and huge projects; usually, it goes like that, a new client comes with a bulky translation project of 100,000 words for example, and because the size of the project is tempting, start-ups or small companies would not refuse the offer and would get immediately to work without any assurances. Not only that, but a fraud client might even request other projects in parallel or perhaps ahead to the first invoice due date. Shortly, after the delivery, the client starts to delay the payment due, and the excuses are numerous, like a problem in the invoice details. They might also pretend to be short in time and so in a hurry to get the translation task done and urge you to get down to work without a contract or a collaboration paperwork and won’t be interested to meet for the initial discovery stage of the translation project. In both cases, the new fraud client usually don’t object or negotiate the rate you might suggest even if your proposed rates are relatively high.

In other cases, non-payers send a document and ask you to work on it as a sample. They have probably divided this document up and sent it to multiple people with the same explanation to get the job for free. Their emails can also be a great indication that it is a fraud; most of the time, they send too many emails, with the intention of looking authentic. This, however, is far from being authentic. The emails usually include unnecessary requirements, with dozens of questions, and frequent complaints on the provided services – they are trying to make unreal troubles to entitle themselves for excuses for not releasing due payments later.

How to Deal with them

By reading these signs and spotting scammers, you are already half way through the issue. It’s about time you deal them, and this shouldn’t be a problem. Translation agencies and companies have been developing strategies and risk management procedures to protect themselves from any scam attempts. The following are recommended precautions to take when approached by any unusual behavior presumably from a fraud client.

1- Try to find out more about the company’s full name, contact details, and verify them by conducting basic Google Search and checking the reviews/feedback provided & available.

2- “It is beneficial to become a member of various online forums that discuss payment practices or to subscribe to databases that list the payment practices of various agencies.” This helps you verify the payment history reputation and financial behaviors of new clients, for instance, the Blue-Board on Proz and Google search. The Blue-Board is a database of language job outsourcers with feedback from service providers. This list should help a great deal in taking the decision to take a job or not.

3- Insist on proceeding with the necessary paperwork (e.g. work contract, NDA & SLA), which should be mutually signed by both parties involved. You shouldn’t get started with anything without the confirmation of these details via a purchase order.

4- It’s always a good idea to divide the payment into batches; don’t wait until delivering the entire project to get your money. Even if it is not a fraud, your client might be a late payer, so it is safer and more professional this way.

5- Use the help of an in-country Payment Collection Agency which can take the negotiations of the whole deal and develop a payment policy to protect your rights, which can also can serve as evidence in case any legal action is required to be taken.

6- Help prevent these scams by reporting on fraud clients and by revealing these incidents and sharing them on Google reviews, for instance, and on any black lists for fraud clients in the translation and localization industry.

Most of all, avoid approving big projects from new clients; this is too good to be true. Unlike what translation professional might think, down payment for up to 20% is still a valid option if you are in doubt, something you certainly need to consider while closing a deal related to a considerably large translation project coming from a new client.

Those precautionary measures should be carried out every time you receive a task request from a new client. Thanks to these actions, you can rest assured you are at least minimizing the risk against any threat to become a victim for fraud clients or scammers.


Translation is one of the many industries that have been plagued by fraudulent activities and scammers. As much as, things seem quite frustrating, and scammers are getting creative pulling their cons, localization service providers are becoming aware more than ever and are taking extra measures to spot and detect those fake clients. This might help a lot in eliminating their threat.

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