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Scam alert: Dr. Paul Vanderser May 18, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert.

Many people on the various payment lists to which I belong are discussing a scammer making the rounds. One person reported being approached by a “Dr. Paul Vanderser” (doyenski09@yahoo.co.uk and puresthoney1@yahoo.com are two of the e-mails that have been used so far) about a 10-page translation job. The document and the wording of the e-mails caused him to be suspicious, so he asked for 50% payment upfront (not a bad idea when dealing with new clients who appear to be private clients). The “client” agreed, and in a few days the translator received a check for six times the amount of the quoted price. The smart and savvy translator was rightly suspicious and found the local branch of the bank, which confirmed that the check was fraudulent. Several other colleagues wrote in reporting similar requests from this “gentleman” (and I use the term loosely). He has been trolling the ATA directory and ProZ.com for Hungarian and Dutch translations (among others I’m sure).

Dr Vanderser will most likely be sending the translator an e-mail informing him that he inadvertently sent him an amount in excess of the agreed fee (or a payment intended for another translator, etc.). He will then ask the translator to transfer the overpaid amount back to his bank account. By the time the translator’s bank determines that the check is fraudulent the money and the bank account holder will be long-gone.  As one colleague wrote, “While most (intended) victims will ensure that his cheque clears before parting with their own funds, some will be trusting enough to fall into the trap.” Don’t be that person!

This should serve as a reminder that caution should be exercised when dealing with people with free e-mail accounts or people you do not know and do not have a known reputation in the industry. It is never a bad idea to implement a practice such as demanding upfront payment for new private clients, and if the client sends you more than the quoted amount, ten times out of ten (!!) the check will be fraudulent! It is very difficult to prosecute someone for issuing bad checks that are sent to a foreign jurisdiction.

Snopes.com is a good source to research Internet scam and fraud cases. This particular type is called the ‘Cashier Check Scam’ http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/cashier.asp


A Modern Language Analyst by Everette E. Jordan May 18, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA, Fun stuff, Translation.

As most of you regular readers know, I am moving in a few weeks and am purging my belongings. I have almost finished going through 8 years of ATA Chronicles and just found this little gem. For those of you who didn’t get the pleasure to hear him live, Everette E. Jordan was the keynote speaker at the ATA’s 44th Annual Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on November 6, 2003. He was the Director of the National Virtual Translation Center at the time. The NVTC is a federal center that helps translate a backlog of documents for the CIA, FBI, and other government agencies. I have since become disillusioned with the NVTC (and he is no longer the director there), but in my eyes Mr. Jordan was, is and always will be a rock star. He speaks a ton of different languages and is a very poised speaker (not to mention good-looking and a really nice guy who is devoted to his family). I have a framed photo of us from that conference in my office. At the time ATA and the federal government were really working hard to establish a relationship, and the NVTC was trying to recruit linguists for their herculean effort of translating the backlogs of documents.

Anyway, back to Mr. Jordan. He was an outstanding keynote speaker. In fact, I think this is the only keynote speech that has ever been reprinted in the ATA Chronicle. To end his speech, he recited a poem he and a colleague had written styled after the famous Gilbert and Sullivan song, I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General, to describe the job that a government language analyst performs on a daily basis. It brought the crowd to its feet.

I am the very model of a modern language analyst
I scan and translate info that the average person might have missed.
I’m quite adept at understanding language spoken quite absurd
If modesty permits me, I’m a master of the garbled word

I’m very well acquainted, too, with leaders quite political
And deal with situations from the mundane to the critical
I’ve heard the best and all the rest and dabbled in analysis
While trying to avoid the dreaded translator paralysis.

I’d like to think my studies have equipped me to work miracles
To tackle concepts ranging from the humorous to lyrical
I’ve met and mastered every grammar point designed to trip me, all
The adjectival short-form passive future participials.

It’s safe to say I know my subjects by their name without a doubt
I keep them on a list to say what’s hot, what’s not, what’s in, what’s out
My scientific knowledge must be stunningly meticulous
My slang and techno-jargon, all stupendously ridiculous.

For all and any question you encounter in this lurking trade
Consider me a living, breathing, walking, talking, language aid.
So when you need someone to translate what mere mortals might have missed,
Just call on me, the model of a modern language analyst.

If you want to read the entire Keynote Address, you can read it on pages 9-11 of the January 2004 issue of the ATA Chronicle, which can be found on the ATA website. However, you must be an ATA member to access old issues of the Chronicle online.

Shoes missing from German town May 13, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in German culture.
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Since I occasionally like commenting on German culture, this story on NPR this morning is just so bizarre that I had to share it with you all. I have never heard of an animal stealing shoes, but there you have it… So think twice the next time you take your shoes off on the porch. They may not be there when you get back.

Voting for Top 100 Language Blogs has begun May 12, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Translation.
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Hi everyone,

Sorry I have been MIA lately. Business has really picked up, but my main focus is packing up my place for my move on June 1st. I can’t believe all the stuff I have accumulated in the last 8 years. It’s unbelievable. I just returned from my third trip to the recycling center. The back seat of my car was stuffed with broken down boxes that aren’t appropriate for the move and old issues of the ATA Chronicle, Real Simple and Shape magazine – not to mention tons of papers I have kept over the years. Everyone should have to move every ten years if only to just get rid of all the garbage one really doesn’t need!

Anyway, the reason I am writing today is to let you know that voting has begun for Lexiophile’s Top 100 Language Blogs. This little blog is one of the 400 blogs in four categories that has been nominated. I am once again honored that someone (or several people) nominated me. Thank you to all my readers. I promise I will have lots of new blog posts once this move is behind me! If you would like to vote for me, be sure to click on this button:

Vote the Top 100 Language Professionals Blogs 2010