Apr 22, 2012

Spamalot: desperate translation agencies

Soon after I started this blog in 2008 I found it necessary to take various measures to protect against spam comments. In the early days, the spam was a lot of the same that somehow makes its way to my e-mail inbox, usually real estate scams, offers of wondrous herbal mixtures to supersize various anatomical parts or God-knows-what in Chinese. Spam filters have become sophisticated enough to catch most of that now, so that the trash encountered most of the time now appears to have a bit more human intelligence behind it. That is, if you associate bottom-feeding translation agencies with human intelligence in some misguided way.

I have a definite impression that the competition in the race to the bottom for low prices and garbage quality has led some of these agencies to think they can improve their position in the global dog race by getting backlinks on popular translation blogs. This is done in comments on blog posts, sometimes as a link embedded in the rather vacuous text (as Rosetta once did to a New York agency rival's blog below) or in the link associated with the poster's name (as "Cassy" - surely not its real name - tried above on behalf of "LanguageTran"). What started out as the practice of a few sleazy Pakistani agencies years ago seems to have become routine for a number of UK and US bottom-feeders.

I've seen this happen on almost every translation blog I read. There are so many attempts made on my blog that I make it a point to check the name link on every comment that seems a bit "vacant", and a very large number get flushed to where they belong.

I'm not against comments from agency owners or personnel - quite the contrary. These people are a legitimate part of our business and have a lot to contribute to discussions - and many do. I love it when they or others have something interesting to say in a post discussion, particularly if they can point out an error on my part or add some useful point. But if the point of the visit is simply to post drivel in the hopes of getting a link to drive traffic to your agency's site or improve its search engine ranking, y'all can save yourselves the trouble because you will most likely not be getting through.


  1. I write a post on a similar vein from time to time... so far without any noticeable effect. I also don't mind it if a translation company wants to comment, but what they think they are gaining by all those "Very informative post, thanks! For X to Y translation see Bottomfeeder.com" is beyond me.

  2. Thanks, I was recently gamed by both "Cassy" and "Rosetta".

  3. Dear all, I do not know you but apparently I must have done terrible things to you -- perhaps it has slipped your attention that Spamalot Translation Services is NOT an agency but simply myself trying to get by. In fact I really cannot complain after what has been two excellent years and the first year of my self-employment was solid as well. So if you would like to talk about desperate, please be sure to find the right addressee as I do not outsource, do not pay others and whatever old rates you might have found on the internet about me, those are from ages ago (most of those in secondary employment) and I have developed.
    My very best regards, Spamalot Translation Services (Camilla E. Grothe, self-employed translator) www.spamalottranslations.com


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