The End of Capita: greediness doesn't pay off after all

Artist : http://www.levalet.org/la-chute

Some good news today: massive boycotting works wonders. Capita, major interpreting agency, featured in our list, is facing some serious difficulties, as a result of its poor decisions and lack of business ethics.
It looks like this company is finally getting the backlash it deserves for its greediness. The boycott started as a reaction to its decision to stop paying for transport costs. Interpreters have also been fed up for too long with the low rates Capita offers (about 20 pounds an hour). The boycott has had a serious, immediate effect on their reputation and they are now on the verge of collapsing. Despite the absence of collective union for freelance interpreters, the mobilisation was unanimous and the sanction radical:
Their history so far:
"Capita is the company that acquired Applied Language Solutions in Dec 2011.They subsequently were granted the exclusive interpreting contract for British criminal courts, and then bungled the job to a fair-the-well through poor decisions (cut interpreter rates, refusing to pay travel) and management, resulting in the current mess in court interpreting in the UK. I refuse to work with them on those grounds alone.They also have a poor payment record (to be fair, some of which was inherited from ALS) but there have also been several negative reports on Payment Practices and other forums since the takeover." Subscribers can see details on:

Some further revelations from a former Capita employee can be found here: 
I personally read that as a great encouragement for translators to keep communicating and networking, in order to bring down such irresponsible and disrespectful companies. To view companies worth boycotting, please check our updated blacklist.
In your opinion, which are the translation companies damaging the profession most, and which one would you like to see professionals boycott?


Crowdsourcing: Conyac pay their slaves 10 USD per day (2000 words)

Conyac pay their slaves 10 USD per day (2000 words)

According to this online PR article, Conyac, a Tokyo based company founded in 2009 by Naoki Yamada, is a young booming company, with promising profits of 50.000 USD a month. It is a startup funded by big japanese firms and its total number of corporate users "exceeds 1,000". It is providing crowdsourced translations online within unbeatable deadlines.

"Since launching in 2009, Conyac’s base of translators has grown to 10,000 individuals around the world who work in 60 languages. Prices range from $3 per translation to a $100 per month packages, and clients usually get their completed projects back within an hour."
"Conyac (pronounced like cognac) is named after the special konjac jelly in popular Japanese cartoon “Doraemon” that gives characters the ability to speak and understand any languages after they ingest it". Read rest here...

Its Crunchbase profile states that its goal is purely to replace translation agencies, and its representatives like to describe its activity as "social translation" (remember this expression, it's the next big thing). Here is another really positive article online:

"Founded in February 2009, Japan-based Conyac matches skillful translators with users who need help in translation. In short, it is a social translation network matching translators and users in one single platform.
To ensure high quality translation work, co-founder, Naoki Yamada told us that Conyac has an evaluation system between translators to maintain the quality. The evaluation work became more efficient after Conyac launched a Facebook application which helps translators to communicate with each other better.
“Our translators are really open to communicate and share information with other translators. We are trying to build up a huge number of translators on Conyac,” said Yamada." (Read rest of article)

According to my own research though, Conyac is a scam agency which does not hire "skillful translators", but non-pros. These so-called "translators" (Conyac uses that word a lot, quite inappropriately) are just random people found on Facebook (no degrees needed to work for Conyac).

A quick search on the net will show you that, like the guys at Dixit who also warmly invite you to become a translator (see blacklist on this blog), the Conyac peeps have the power to turn anyone into a translator, by the magic of a mere click:

Conyac for Business - Translation Solutions

https://conyac.cc/Traduire cette page
Conyac is the Simplest & the Fastest Human Powered Translation Service. You are about to experience a new way of translation.

Become a translator

What do you do when you're on a train, or when your kids are ...

Monthly Plans

Source Language, Target Language, Points(per character ...

Conyac for Personal

( Receive 1 free credit! ) » Register as a Translator / » Conyac for ...

Unlike Dixit though, Conyac don't retribute their slaves with peanuts but with "points" (precisely 500 signs, 5 dollars) while promising to be the fastest agency in the world. Incredible!

So, just like I did it with One Hour, I checked the official website and discovered a few things: first, there is no email or address to contact them.

Here is how these guys introduce themselves: 
"What is Conyac? > Conyac is a human-powered translation service that anyone can join.
Guess what, it's true! It is not selective, anyone can work at Conyac. So I signed in 2 seconds without showing proof of my degrees.
 "Simple and Fast Translation:  >Where normal translation agency and online translation takes more than 3 hours to get your results back, "Conyac" can provide you with your results 15 minutes, the fastest. "
" There are thousands of translators from all over the world ready to process your request."
 Mail received one week only after I signed in:
Thank you for signing up with Conyac.
We've noticed that you haven't logged in for a while.
Have a little spare time?
Why not translate at Conyac and earn yourself some extra money.
Link: https://conyac.cc/translators
Why translate at Conyac?
You can work as often as you want during your spare time.
If you have a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, you can work from virtually anywhere.
Use your language skills to earn a little extra money during your free time." 
So this is what translation sounds like to Conyac: a little job on the side for anyone with a tablet and vague notions of 2 languages. You have a little spare time, why not earn some wee pocket money? Pretty insulting... 

If you are looking for "pocket money" here is what you'll get with them (I have received about twenty mails since last week and can't get rid of them, but that is another story). Blunt mails, without even a Hello message or goodbye, they like to get right to the core of things:
"you got a new translation request on Conyac.

From: English
To: French
Letters: 662
Reward: 66



Many translators are waiting for your review. Review for them now  
  English => French
Finally some tangible info. Intrigued, I took out my calculator. Turns out my intuition was a good lead, and that it is indeed, objectively, a total ripoff:
10 points for each 100 letters, that means you'll need to translate 5000 letters to get the 500 points which are worth 5 dollars. So 5000 signs = roughly 1000 words, that's about 5 dollars per 1000 words instead of 120 dollars (normal pro price). 

Looks like Conyac invented the first job ever to be less profitable than watching TV all day.



Newsletter november 2013

Thank you for joining translationethics

This blog is now reaching translators all over the world and finding new audience each day. Our blacklist is growing with about 170 blacklisted companies now. Many thanks to the translators who publicly shared their bad experience and expressed their support.

If you wish to suggest some ideas or publish articles on this platform I will gladly welcome and examine your submissions.

A page was created to publish petitions or open letters on this blog, so please contact me at translationethics@gmail.com to add yours!

Kind regards,



  • Petition against crowdsourcing (to Facebook and Twitter)


  • Petition to reform/close down proz: 

There is, as far as I know, no such thing at the moment. There has been in the past, but if you wish to suggest one, feel free to do so here. 

Alternatively, if you are not satisfied with Proz's services, you can get a REFUND at any time during the first year, according to their customer satisfaction policy. They should be able to afford it. Proz.com claims to have 300000 paying members and if each one pays 166US$ a year, it makes 49.800.000 US$ a year
If you don't regret your membership, you can still write to Henry Dotterer (proz profile and email) to let him know you wish to see some of this income displayed on the actual site. Because I don't know about you, but I find it looks like it was designed 20 years ago by some trainee IT student and has not been modified since, unlike their code of ethics, quality standards, customer service, rules for posting (outsourcers), or Blueboard entry requirements and notation system.