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AATII is having a bad day April 15, 2016

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Scam alert.
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I woke up this morning to a flood of emails from pissed off translators on listservs covering both sides of the Atlantic. People were pissed because they were listed in a directory no one had heard of before. No one had signed up for the directory, and everyone was apparently offering $0.08 a word and had five star ratings. Every single translator. They were wondering whether it was identity theft and how they got our contact information. One enterprising translator requested a 4 word job and tried to hire herself. The job disappeared into Nirvana. As the morning went on translators were sending them irate emails, official cease and desist letters, filing reports with their local police, and even talking about a class action suit. I only wish I had popped some popcorn.

SCAM ALERT: LISTING OF T&I NAMES IN FALSE DATABASE
Is your name and profile there?
Many of you may have received an email announcing a “translation contest” sponsored by an outfit calling itself AATII (suspiciously using two names, “Alliance” or “Association of Applied Translators and Interpreters International.” The text to be translated is marketing copy for their company (although they claim to be nonprofit). Supposedly the prize is $1,000 for each winner in around 8 languages (“That’s $2 a word!” they joyfully proclaim), and a chance to win a $100,000 trip. Yeah right. I know none of you fell for it. The Translation Scammers Directory has posted an alert http://www.translator-scammers.com/translator-scammers-note…
However, it gets WORSE. This outfit has stolen the names and identities of at least 20,000 translators, fabricating specialties and other professional information, and adding a “rating” next to each name (1 to 3 stars, from “acceptable” to “excellent”). They posted rates for each individual (funny thing, everyone was charging 8 cents a word) until this evening after receiving many outraged phone calls and emails. But the names and false info are still there.
IS YOUR NAME IN THE AATII LIST?? Check it out at www.aatii.com. Above all, don’t be silent or let them get away with this. It is illegal identity theft and it will cause reputational damage to every translator or interpreter listed.
Extra info: http://www.translator-scammers.com/translator-scammers-notes.htm#n123

The CEO issued a statement in a discussion on Proz.com trying to explain their actions.

We’d like to thank everyone for your interest in AATII and our contest. We are a young company who soft-launched a few months ago, and #IAmATranslator was created to announce our presence with a splash.

As the day went on AATII started feeling the heat and mass deleted all the profiles from their database. The CEO then issued another statement:

The database is cleared and under review

Hello fellow translators,
We have heard a lot of concern about how your names are listed on our website. I understand why some of you are upset, so I have instructed our IT department to remove all the accounts from the website except for those users who signed up for themselves. We supposed to send invitation to everybody first, but a mistake was made so some of you received the message about the translation contest instead.

Just like you, I am a hard working translator who started working from his home and growing. AATII.com never meant to do any harm to anybody but aiming to build a community and marketplace that will attract customers without being limited to borders. There are some misunderstanding about us and we’d like to clarify the facts. What I can tell you is that nobody has even lost a dollar to us. You have my word.

AATII.org as a not for profit organization is aimed to establish internationally compatible standards for translation, so that service providers listed on AATII.com can be recognized by customers who are not translation savvy. We take every effort to keep everything legitimate here. We are small now and have big goals to benefit customers and language workers alike. We are not born a giant multinational, but we are not ashamed of it. Life is worth living for because we have dreams, isn’t it?

You are welcome to check back at aatii.com and make sure you are not listed if you have not given us the permission.

Yours truly,
Lixin Cheng, “Clint”
CEO, aatii.com

João Roque Dias responded perfectly:

1. You were forced to scrap your illegal and fradulent database.

2. On your last (first) post, you are, once again, trying to confuse people with your outfits:

aatii.COM = the “Alliance” created by you and your translation company, “Princemountain Transnational Services Inc.”

aatii.ORG = a “Translators Association” with the same name as the Alliance’s, also created by you and your translation company, in which the “certification examinations” are to be done by your Princemountain translation company!!! I also read the “Bylaws”.

3. Dream all you want, just not at other people’s professional reputation and credentials’ expense.

c54650b7278f88a3eeaa7aa7d5fce4f7In any event, be sure to keep an eye on AATII.com. There’s some question as to whether the profiles have been deleted or are simply hidden for now until the heat blows over. Have a good weekend.

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Comments»

1. giolester - April 15, 2016

Together we are stronger. Thanks for the update, Jill.

2. Jayne Fox - April 15, 2016

Thanks for the update, Jill. What a frustrating business this has been! I’m glad to hear that the database has been taken down.

Catherine V. Howard - April 15, 2016

Someone in Proz says the company *still* has our data; it’s merely hidden the listings from public view. She tested it out and reports this: “When searching the database, my name doesn’t come up [any more]. HOWEVER, I tried asking for a password reset (to check my email was actually deleted), and I got it. I also got to log in into a profile I NEVER created.”

There are many things this outfit can still do with its database, none of which are savory. We shouldn’t be so quick to think this is the end of the story (look at stories in the Translation Scammers Directory of how T&I databases are abused in various ways). Let’s stay vigilant.

This is not the first time the names of translators and interpreters have been harvested from reputable associations by fly-by-night outfits with questionable morals; it just happens to be the biggest one so far.

3. J. Roque Dias - April 16, 2016

As our colleague Dmitry Kornyukhov wrote in his The Open Mic, «Lucky for us, scammers often underestimate the power of translation community and how quickly news can spread among us.» Indeed, Dmitry, indeed.

4. Jonathan Downie - April 16, 2016

A little note, the founder of AATII is an associate member of this association: http://www.stibc.org/page/code%20of%20ethics.aspx#.VxLDcHqurfc Perhaps worth contacting them to let them know what went on. It seems to be a breach of their code of ethics. notably section &8.1 & 78.2, 79, & 80. He does not state this clearly anywhere, in fact, to me, he seemed to come across as a certified member. Only checking the two directories makes it clear which level he is at.


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