Fiverr Community Forum

People lying about their fluency in English

English is one of the most common languages in the world of business. This is not a surprise. The United States has a huge economy. It is beneficial to understand English.

Unfortunately, a large number of people on Fiverr are lying they are fluent in English. I avoid doing business with anyone, who lies about their abilities. I do not trust a dishonest person.

I just blocked a guy, who messaged me. His profile says, he is fluent in English, but his message was in broken English. I am American, I do not speak in slang in my business and personal life. More importantly, I should speak clearly when conducting business. Speaking properly tells a client that I am fluent in English and my profile is honest about me.

A few months ago, I inquired a guy for work on my website. His response was in terrible English, despite claiming he was fluent in English on his profile. I kindly said I was no longer interested in his services.

Do you have similar experiences? What can Fiverr do to stop this?

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Some services require sellers to take a proficiency test to create a gig and I think that’s pretty much all Fiverr can, and should, do.

Some users may think that would help them and others may just not be aware their english skills are not good enough to be considered fluent.

Fortunately it only takes one message to verify their fluency (or lack of) so I don’t think that’s too much of a problem, specially because you can filter sellers by their country so narrowing it down to native speakers shouldn’t be too hard.

Keep in mind a lot of people learn their vocabulary from movies, tv shows and music in general so they may not be aware some words don’t belong in a formal environment.

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It’s a never-ending issue. I purchase a lot of writing services on Fiverr, in addition to offering writing gigs in Norwegian.

Whenever I post a request or contact buyers because they claim to be fluent, I receive tons of messages in broken English. Fiverr has a language test that sellers can take to prove their skills. You can see this on their profile (if they have taken it).

Even so, this is a problem for many buyers. Separating the wheat from the chaff is part of what buyers have to do before making an order. I tend to make sure the seller has:

  1. An excellent, error-free gig description.
  2. Great reviews from native buyers (meaning US and UK buyers left positive reviews)
  3. I tend to go with sellers from the US or UK if I need a native-level job done.

That helps. But it involves a lot of work on the buyer’s part, so I’d love to see a compulsory English test for anyone claiming to have more than conversational skills in any language.

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I’m a seller and I have the same problem, but with buyers. My rule is simple - if I can’t understand you clearly, I won’t do business with you. It should be the same for a buyer, but even simpler as you have nothing to lose, really.

Contact a seller (never order without prior contact). Judge their response. If they are not what you’re looking for, contact another. Many things can be faked, english proficiency really can’t.

And there’s nothing Fiverr can realistically do to stop it, short of conducting interviews with each seller. Try hiring Pro’s, they are individually veted.

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If they’re not aware, they shouldn’t claim to be fluent. That’s the point. The sellers who learned to speak and write English from movies and writes messages full of slang or inappropriate terms and words lie about their fluency.

If they were honest and claimed they were conversational, it would be a different story. Besides, there’s a ton of gigs on Fiverr that doesn’t require you to be fluent at all. But if I expect a buyer to be fluent because they told me they are, and the message I receive is “hi, how r u I expert!!” that won’t do. That’s why I would love to see a language test requirement for anyone claiming to be fluent.

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As a writer on Fiverr, I have a particular issue with individuals claiming to be “fluent” in my native tongue, but who can’t seem to write a paragraph’s worth of bio content without significant spelling and grammatical errors…let alone what that says about their “writing” skills.

Honestly, I don’t think Fiverr will move to change the status quo simply because they’re making money. Companies, barring a fit of ethical pique, seldom move to do anything that doesn’t either keep or grow profit. The latter is iffy because it’s speculative, so they tend to stick with what they know works, even if we experience it as broken and unethical on our side.

I think Uber/Lyft/etc. has the right idea with their in-app “take a selfie right now and prove you’re you” challenges they pepper in as you’re logged in and working as a driver. Spot-check grammar questions like pop quizzes, locked into a browser window that can’t be navigated away from, right here on Fiverr. If you can’t answer a relatively simple…say best 3 out of 5…grammar questions in under a minute apiece, you don’t get to list yourself as fluent, and are blocked from listing gigs in certain industries, like writing. I’m fine with allowing periodic re-takes to restore your status, but maybe every 30 days or so to discourage gaming the system.

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This makes me miss @cyaxrex. I’m sure he’d have something read-worthy to say about the self-awareness of some sellers. But let’s just say I’m pretty sure that there are many who aren’t aware that fluent doesn’t mean what they think it means.

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Unfortunately descriptions can be copy-pasted and online tests can easily be circumvented. The ultimate solution would be something like a one minute videochat with an operator, but can Fiverr afford that? Could it be in their interest? No.

The DIY solution is to only check boxes for gigs whose sellers come from the US, the UK, other Commonwealth/high fluency rate countries like those in Scandinavia, or see if natives left positive reviews on their gigs. Chatting with them a bit in the PMs may be an alternative, even if annoying.

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Wait, where’d @cyaxrex go? Is he okay?

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Or go with Pro sellers, they are individually veted. In any case, a previous chat is absolutely necessary if you’re talking about anything creative. Why would it be annoying? What’s annoying is the type of client that wants something unique done and thinks it’s just a matter of clicking a button. It isn’t. Expectations must be aligned, the vision must be understood correctly, the budget must be discussed, etc.

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If Fiverr ran copyscape on everything that went through the system, as other freelance platforms do, there’d be a lot less of that C&P behavior. A startling number of my clients come to me because they find out weeks or months later that their “writer” simply copied and pasted product descriptions off of another site, and the original site is mad - I’d say half or more of my work is redoing that crap because they went low-bid initially and the client didn’t copyscape what the first writer turned in.

If online colleges can manage to work it out so I can’t navigate away from a window during a test without an auto-fail, Fiverr can. And yeah, you could research ion another device, but the folks fluent enough in internet searching to nail it in under a minute probably aren’t faking English in the first place. Also, make it a point to change up the test bank every two weeks with fresh questions and be liberal with the DMCA takedowns on any site posting answers and you should be able to stay a step ahead. There’s workable solutions out there if the site really cared to eliminate the liars.

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While on theory that may make sense, I’m absolutely against more DMCA takedowns and copyright infringement policies because they just incentivise abuse. I work on a lot of youtube content, and it’s ridiculous the amount of strikes things get even though they have licences / are completely legit. That would just open the door to people getting banned left and right through no fault of their own. Honestly I don’t trust Fiverr to correctly assess it, from what I’ve seen in their past behaviour.

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I think it’s pretty cut-and-dry usage of DMCA to stop sites from posting test answers, but I understand your point about abuse and definitely agree that giving Fiverr credit not to completely foul that implementation up is way too optimistic.

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I very much hope so, I’ve just not noticed any posts of his lately. Let’s hope he’s too busy for or fed up with the forum, or enjoying the Maltese summer with Chico.

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cyaxrex said some time ago he was off - something about it being annoying here.

I will admit to a little worry - Malta’s not doing well last time I looked.

But cyaxrex appears to be still working …

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Actually, I have an idea. :thinking:

What if there was an alternative fluency verification method along with the tests, which involved briefly chatting (for 2 or 5 minutes) with a native speaker through audio or video? Using the same videochat platform offered for tutoring gigs.

Fiverr could find good speakers of X and Y languages through various parameters, and offer them a place on a mod team. These tests could cost 5$ or more, with the commission paid towards the seller acting as the operator/verifier, like if it was a normal gig.

This way Fiverr has to do minimal work, you’re 99% sure one is fluent, and it’s a little bit more meritocratic. After you finish, you get a coloured badge on your profile: “English - Fluent (Checked by Fiverr Language Team)”, or something catchier…

Thoughts?

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I think that’s a brilliant idea. I wouldn’t mind doing that as a side hustle lol.

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Honestly, yeah - this would be a real, workable solution. I’d definitely give it the thumbs up.

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Hopefully our snarky pal is thriving. <3

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I miss him …
(20 characters)

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