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Fraudulent accounts on Fiverr are hurting real members

I am a native Japanese speaker and I do translations here with my husband who is a native speaker of English. I’m always finding gigs that are claiming to be native speakers of English or Japanese and it is CLEAR not only by their writing but by their price that they are not.

One gig that is trending now is offering $15 for 1000 words. To put into comparison the next closest competition is offering $40 and the average is $50.

I decided to get a quote for something absurd… 20,000 words and they offered $200. Let me just tell you that NO ONE who is a native speaker of Japanese would do roughly 20 to 30 days of work for $200.

When is Fiverr going to have ID and photo verification?

People like that are simply making it more difficult for real translators to do their work by setting unrealistic standards and offering native work by non native speakers.

I’m sure this problem extends into other fields as well.

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I’m sure this problem extends into other fields as well.

There are unicoders who sell 10,000 words for like $10 with a 5 day delivery time (whereas I charge $400 with a 21 day delivery). That’s annoying, to say the least… Plus, having them there doesn’t help to manage buyer expectations. Many undervalue the work done and the effort put into writing a good story or novel.

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I’m sorry to hear that. It seems you’re experiencing a similar problem.

It really makes me wonder WHY they don’t make more of an effort to verify sellers.

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There is already ID and photo verification.

Is there? I don’t recall submitting my license to prove I’m Japanese but maybe I’m mistaken?

I agree with you. I’m a native British writer, journalist and editor with 25 years’ experience behind me. I’ve taught English and writing to adults at college level, and journalism at university level. I offer proofreading services on Fiverr.

Without blowing my own trumpet, I know my stuff when it comes to the English language. Like you, it offends me when I see people who are clearly not native, or even at a proficient level of English, selling proofreading and writing services in English.

Often their profiles are littered with mistakes. But of course many people who are looking for proofreading services in English can’t spot the clues - because their own English is just as bad.

These type of sellers aren’t qualified to sell the work they do. The buyers are being cheated into parting with their money and receiving a second-rate service.

No online platform is perfect and you are always going to get the good and the bad sellers. But sadly the bad sellers devalue the market for all of us.

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How does price tell you whether they are native speakers? I don’t understand that.

Sure, it can suggest how much work is put in, but at the end of the day price reflects skill. I don’t understand how you can gather that conclusion about a person by just seeing their rates.

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You can also blame the technology for the problem you are facing. So many things can be automated, recalculated, there are algorythms for everything today. But is it worth it to lose energy on that, blaming technology or blaming bad sellers?

Fiverr does photo and ID identification, but that is not the problem. You need to accept the fact that you are competing in something that is highly automated today (translation), higly competitive and accept the fact that this situation with your competition will only get worse in the future.

So, maybe it is better to concentrate on how can you stand out from your competitors in your domain and charge what you want to charge. There are many buyers who understand this and will look for something professional, done by a native japanese/english transaltor. You need to market that the best you can. But you need to accept the fact that there’ll always be buyers, and a lot of them, for which automated 15$ translation will be enough, no matter which language we are talking about.

Its all about what you’ll put your focus on.

The price alone doesn’t prove that someone is no native speaker, of course, but if you’re a translator yourself, It’s often crystal clear from a combination of factors (not to talk about the really incredible things like … a “native speaker” who stole your bio messaging you in English instead of your, and supposedly their, mother tongue to outsource a job to you, or literally beg you for telling them, on a scale from 1-10, how bad a translation they outsourced to someone else is … there’s stuff for a movie or maybe even a Netflix series right there, maybe Fiverr should look into that; of course, every episode ending with a happy buyer who found a “real” seller who does real work for a fair price and whom they’ll stick with until the end of time, and with the fraudulent seller getting their account suspended, after all their former buyers got a refund, and moving over to DownWork ;)).

When you get some of the buyers who paid for native but didn’t get native from other Fiverr sellers and see the texts, it’s not a matter of guessing that some sellers aren’t native speakers based on their gig prices then, it’s a matter of knowing that some sellers aren’t, based on the texts they deliver.

Sadly, it’s not so clear for customers often if they “don’t know the signs”, or ignore them, because cheap and fast and native sounds too good to resist (and often is too good to be true), and often, you can’t know from the seller profile alone but will only know once you have your translation and let someone check whom you know you can trust.


I don’t think that she has a problem with accepting that fact but with the fact that there are buyers who pay for supposedly native translations but get automated translations instead, completely unedited, with errors that even a child who is a native speaker would spot immediately, a translation that nobody in their right mind would call or expect as a “native translation”, and rightly feel cheated.

If non-native speakers offered translations as what they are, unedited Google translations, for a cheap price, sure, no problem, if buyers want to buy that instead of using Google translate themselves, please go ahead, for all I care, but the issue that actual translators take is that non-native speakers pose as native speakers and sell translations as native manual translations but don’t deliver what they promise. That’s where OP’s question about photo and ID identification comes in, I guess.


They have, but only since a while, and there’s a backlog. I’m also not sure in how far they’ll check gigs against that info, it might be more to fight multiple accounts.


That’s what I do, but still, OP’s point that those fraudulent accounts hurt real members stands. Not all buyers who got cheated will go to “real members” instead but will leave the platform, and real members get fewer orders because of fraudulent accounts.

This isn’t about buyers “for which automated 15$ translation will be enough” but about buyers who are led to believe that the 15$ translation they buy is a not-automated translation.

Again, if a seller clearly says something like … "Basic Gig: automated translation 15$, Standard Gig: automated translation, edited for grammar/spelling 30$, Premium gig: Manual translation: 50$, no problem, great, the buyer can decide what is enough for them then. But you’ll rarely see this, I think I’ve only seen a similar gig offer only once so far. Or if it just says “translation”, and the buyer doesn’t ask and receives an automated unedited translation, well, you could argue about that, I guess, but if the buyer pays for a native translation (never mind which price), they don’t expect to get an unedited automated translation which never would pass for a native translation, and they shouldn’t.

But yes, sure, my focus is on other things too, and I’d also suggest focusing on buyers who understand these things. However, it’s OP’s experience, which I’m pretty sure many translators who are native speakers share, and a valid concern.

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I share you sentiments :thinking:. The problem extends to many, if not all fields.

It seems with competition on the platform a lot of sellers are actually offering services at ridiculous prices. These come at a dear cost to the buyer though as often the quality of the work is very poor.

Looking at it closely, it does really affect the morale of the genuine freelance and impacts negatively on the reputation of the platform.

This is a deep-seated problem that needs attention, especially with the surge of new seller sign-ups fueled by the pandemic.

Perhaps, Fiverr would put in place industry standards where minimum offers are recommended and put the sellers through rigorous assessment before being allowed to sell. It’s just a thought. Maybe the reason why PRO Sellers exists.

Hey, I’m also a translator here and you’re absolutely right. I also get many messages from potential customers asking for a quote and then later they complain that I’m so unbelievably expensive because there are other sellers who charge $5 for 3000 words or something…

But don’t worry about it, the real customers look for real translators, it’s impossible to deliver high-quality translations for such a low price even with automated systems helping you. So, they will receive negative reviews sooner or later, and then they’ll disappear. Just keep delivering good translations and you’ll be fine, don’t worry about the scammers, their business strategy doesn’t go well for too long.

Greetings from Tokyo :slight_smile:

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Not everyone is asked to verify their ID. But if you search the forum, you will see that a number of sellers was asked to do it, and that some accounts got restricted because the verification failed.

You did but youre right: Fiverr doesn’t screen people that way. They don’t say “You’re Japanese, so you get to teach Japanese.” I agree that there should be vetting, but this approach wouldn’t be an appropriate way to screen for skills.

I would find a way to indicate your credibility.

I notice that at most of my orders. Usually my clients order voice over services with me and they bring a very poor translation of the text. Most of the times they buy a translation to one specific accent and they get another one (different grammar rules) and I end investing time to correct the scripts to be able to record the text and deliver a very good job. I used to do it for free, but since I noticed that most of my international clients have that issue, I started to charge a fee for proofreading.

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My point was that technology also contrubutes to having that kind of trickster sellers, especially in your domain. And also, I tried to point out that there must be some kind of direct evidence to put on your profile that you are a native speaker, like recording yourself speaking the language etc. so you can stand out from that kind of trickster sellers. In my opinion, tricksters dont last too long, they get reported, they get bad reviews etc. the only way they can get away with it if they do provide quality work in some strange obscure way.

But if fiverr can make a selection process more efficient to get rid of trickster and scammer translators, I am all up for it.

yeah, we already had a similar discussion about photobashing recently and that the seller should clearly state if its photobashing or not. But its difficult to expect from every seller to be transaprent and state that they are e.g. using automated translation when they do. I wish them all to be like that, in every domain, but thats quite impossible at this stage of human evolution, unfortunately.

I totally agreed with you. I’ve had many similar messages over the years from potential buyers telling me how ‘expensive’ my quotes are.

Some phrase their response in an accusatory way like I’m ripping them off. I tend to reply to these with “Good luck and hope the project works out”. I have no interest in trying to win these people around as they are simply looking for a cheap job.

Some are more reasoned with their response though and want to know why my quote is more expensive than others. With these people I will often take the time to send a quick reply with a short breakdown of the value for money they will get from me. I often end up working with them - and they’re happy!

But it does go to show how the desperate and unqualified sellers muddy the waters for the genuinely experienced and skilled freelancers.

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