Guess I am getting popular, though it is not the kind of popularity I am after. A couple of months ago I received a call from the Society of Translators and Interpreters of British Columbia (STIBC). They informed that someone had photoshopped and posted online my certificate of the English to Russian translator under a different name and with another language pair. Details of this virtual art theft are below.
I rushed online to check. A company International Language Translation Service (ILTS) based in Iran claim to provide translations between English, French, Persian and Russian languages. So in order to provide evidence of their certified status in Canada, they downloaded my certificate of the English to Russian translator, made a little magic by replacing my name with Mr. Saeed Azizi Jamnani and English to Russian with English to Persian (Farsi) and voila!
For obvious reasons I do not want to include a link to their site, however, check the screenshots below and play a find 10 differences game.
As you can see, all the details are present: same date, same signatures, even the same document skew due to my inaccurate scanning.
I went to their website and sent a fuming letter, requesting to remove the fraudulent certificate, at the e-mail address, specified on the contact page. To my surprise, I received a quick answer: “that website is dead and not active- however I will ask the company to totally shut it down. Thanks”. No apologies whatsoever, and no name under this letter.
Conclusions and lessons learned
Two months passed and the website is still alive and kicking and displays the scammed certificate. I guess there is nothing I can do about it, but warn my colleagues to be careful when publishing online your certificates, awards, and other credentials. From now on, I add watermarks to all images with my name that I want to display on the Internet.
Of course, I would also recommend all clients to think twice before approaching translators who impersonate themselves as members of translation organizations. No doubts, there are many professional and honest translators out there, just do not rely blindly on shiny images and always check credentials online.