mercredi 21 mai 2008

Dr Jones has another talent: PLAGIARISM!

Our friend Professor Doctor Jones never ceases to amaze. Not only has he a multitude of addresses and occupations, and more degrees than you can poke a stick at, not only is he president of an international organization of psychotherapists, not only did he publish a book on the subject at the age of 19...but he is a pretty dab hand at copying and pasting too!

On his page, the good professor doctor charlatan has a selection of half a dozen “sample translations”. You don’t have to read far into them to realize he doesn’t know his elbow from his arse. The first sentence of his first “translation” reads:
A reduction in plasmatic testosterone concentration is observed.

(Emphasis added.)

The phrase in italics translates the French la concentration plasmatique de testostérone. Literally. The trouble is that English-speaking physicians never use the word “plasmatic” in that way. There are many possible translations of the French phrase: “plasma concentration of testerone”, “plasma testosterone concentration”, “concentration of testosterone in the plasma”.... No idiomatic English translation of this phrase, however, includes the word “plasmatic”. Only two sentences later, we have reference to a hormone being “salted out” by the pituitary gland. This is totally incorrect terminology, and a very obvious example of someone with no subject-matter knowledge (and I mean less than high-school level) blindly relying on a dictionary. (Grand Dictionnaire Terminologique gives “salt out” for relarguer, which just isn’t in a lot of dictionaries.)

So the guy’s an incompetent charlatan. We already knew that. So it comes as a bit of a surprise to find a relatively competent translation, from English to French this time, a bit further down, under the heading “FONDAPARINUX ET SYNDROMES CORONARIENS AIGUS”. It is amazing how the semi-literate Jones manages to convert the slightly unidiomatic English abstract into a quite well-written French rendering. It almost looks as if the French were the original.

In fact, the French is the original. It is the abstract of an article written, in French, by François Schiele and Jean-Pierre Bassand, entitled “Place du fondaparinux dans la prise en charge des syndromes coronariens aigus”. Naturally, being French speakers, the authors wrote the abstract as well as the article in French, but the journal required an abstract in English too, which Dr Schiele duly provided. Dr Jones’s contribution to the whole thing was limited to copying the original and translation, reversing the order, into his profile.

The French abstract is available online here; there are links to the English abstract and to the full text (in French only).

Not only is this guy an incompetent translator; he’s an incompetent fraud too! Imagine stealing something that’s available online: once someone’s suspicions are aroused, it is just a question of copying a sentence or two into Google to find the original. What a moron!

On past performances, Jones will respond to this revelation (when he finds out about it) by removing the offending material, as if that will save his lying arse. Of course his profile has been archived, immortalizing his deception.

The world, as I have discovered, is full of professional impostors, even in a low-status, low-profile, lowly-paid profession like translation. However, the frauds I have discovered or had drawn to my attention are probably only the tip of the iceberg: they are the ones who drew attention to themselves through absurdly hyperbolic or otherwise implausible claims or through manifest incompetence (or, in many cases, both). A successful impostor presumably has or takes the trouble to acquire a basic knowledge of the subject-matter in which he or she professes to be an expert.

PS: Dr Jones endorses the Professional Guidelines defined by

The guidelines start as follows:
Professional companies and individuals:
  • represent their credentials, capabilities and experiences honestly
  • [...]

Well, it doesn’t actually say that by endorsing those guidelines you are claiming to be one of these “Professional companies and individuals”, does it? You could be just another fraud and hypocrite, couldn’t you?


Once again I must acknowledge the sterling work of a professional colleague who probably wishes to remain anonymous for bringing this matter to my attention.

dimanche 27 avril 2008

Le Médecin Imaginaire—Keeping up with the Joneses

NOTE: This was written in January 2008. The information contained it was accurate at the time. The picture of the cheesily grinning sawbones in the labcoat was taken from Dr Jones’s then current page. He has since removed it. He has also changed his claimed PhD from Paris III to a DEA, but retains the claim to have an unspecified PhD in translation. This blog will be updated when I get time.

I should add that Daniel Alun Jones is not to be confused with David Alun Jones, a legitimate translator in Edinburgh.

If Harold W. Vadney III is the most pernicious and unmitigatedly evil fraud I have encountered in the translation business, Dr Daniel Jones is perhaps the weirdest.

Dr Daniel Jones the wannabe translator

I first encountered the self-styled doctor on the terminology forum, KudoZ. Someone had asked about the French word potasse. This is a rather unscientific and ambiguous word, but it just so happens that the English word “potash” is ambiguous in the same way; so there is no reason to look any further.

But our friend Jones, never shy of displaying his ignorance, suggested “potassium permanganate”. This is, of course, completely stupid. Not only is potassium permanganate not called potasse in French, but even if it were, there is nothing to suggest that it was this particular potassium compound that the original author intended. There is no justification, even if his suggestion were plausible, for putting such a huge gloss when an exact translation is available. By way of justifying his monstrous suggestion, Dr Jones pasted in, without acknowledging the source, a passage from the CNRS about the use of pot. permanganate, in place of chlorine, to kill bugs in drinking water. This was totally irrelevant, as the passage from which the question came was about cleaning the filter column.

Two people disagreed with Dr Jones’s answer. The first was a (genuine) PhD chemist from Cambridge. She got addressed as “dear” and told “we’re not in elementary school”. I was the second, and his response to me included the words “you've understood nothing of the CNRS reference: do you understand any French ?”. (Note in passing the use of French punctuation: this from someone who claims English as a native language!) Of course I was indignant, and wanted to check out who this alleged “doctor” was whose stupidity was matched only by his impudence.

Looking at his profile, I soon realized that I was dealing with a major imposter. He claimed at the time to be a “Docteur en médecine et PhD en linguistique de l'Université de Paris III Sorbonne”. The latter claim was easily checked; the library in Paris III has no doctoral dissertation by a Daniel Jones. (Of course, there is no end of books by the well-known phonetician Daniel Jones, but he died in 1967.) So obviously, he lied about the PhD. He gives an address in Le Pré Saint Gervais, which I will call Address A.

If Jones’s answers on the terminology forum KudoZ put him in a bad light, his questions do nothing to redeem him. He once asked, for example, about the English expression “CI”, in the following context:

The 95% CI was based on the normal approximation of difference in proportions and a two–sided test with p<0.05 was taken as significant.

Anyone with any basic training in any scientific discipline, even a soft option like medicine, would be familiar with the term “confidence interval”, and recognize it immediately in the context, with related terms like “normal approximation”, “two-sided test” “p<0.05” and “significant”. The same goes for anyone with even a modicum of training and/or experience in technical or scientific translation. Hell, I was taught that stuff in high school! Having recognised CI as “confidence interval” (and I think anyone with a scientific background would pick it even given a blank space rather than the abbreviation), even if you don’t know the French term, you couldn’t help but pick intervalle de confiance as a first guess, and Google would do the rest.

 Prof. Daniel Jones the English teacher

This is where it gets interesting. I communicated with a colleague, who actually is a physician with a PhD, and she sent me some links she had found. One was to an English teacher called Daniel Jones, who shares not only a name but also a mobile phone number with Dr Jones the translator. This Daniel Jones is said to have been born on 30 October 1968 and to have an address in Paris 14. (Call it Address B.) One assumes that, sharing the same mobile phone, the two Joneses we have met so far must be the same fellow. Dr Jones the translator says his office is in Paris; so there is no need to be too alarmed about the two addresses.

There is, however, the slight problem of Dr Jones’s age. He looks a bit older than 39 in the picture on his profile. However, not only does his profile at give the date of birth in 1968, but there is another profile for an English teacher called Daniel Jones at that gives his age as 39. The profile also lists his “Nombre année [sic] d’expérience” as 20, and his “Nombre de jours d'animation par an d'expérience” as 200 (it said the same thing in 2006). That’s well and truly full-time for a teacher. So he’s been teaching full-time since 1986, when he was 18, and still found time to put in 9 years of full-time study for his doctorat en médecine and nominally 8 more years for his “PhD” in linguistics or, as it now appears, “LEA option Traduction”. There could be very little cross-crediting between the two domains, but let’s be generous and allow two years. So that’s 20 years of full-time teaching, 9 years studying medicine and say 6 years studying translation or linguistics (which have about as much connection as hydrodynamics and plumbing, but let that pass). So he must have started one of these activities by the age of 4. Quel prodige !!

[PS Since writing the paragraph above, I have heard from a colleague (the same one I mentioned above) that Jones claims to studied medicine in the US. So that puts an entirely different complexion on things! The US MD degree is a four-year postgraduate course. So, allowing 8 years for his “PhD”, 4 years for his US MD, and 20 years’ claimed full-time teaching experience, that makes 32 years out of the 39 he has graced this planet with his presence. So he must have started his academic-cum-professional career at the age of 7. Now that’s much more plausible...isn’t it?]

Oh, and yes, our friend does actually refer to himself (in the third person) as le professeur JONES. For those who don’t know French (or who aren’t familiar with the finer details), I add that, while professeur on its own just means “teacher”, prefixed to a person’s name like that, if refers to a university professor (in the US context, a “full” professor).

 Dr Daniel Jones the Psychotherapist

However, as if that weren’t enough, there is third Daniel Jones, Daniel Jones the psychotherapist. This Daniel Jones also shares a mobile phone number with Dr Jones the translator (not the same as the teacher’s phone number—the translator apparently carries two mobiles in his lab-coat), and also shares his claim to a medical degree. Not only that, he gives the same address (Address A) in Le Pré Saint Gervais as our friend the translator.

Confused? I am! Anyway, don’t relax just yet, because there is another side to this mystery: the Société Internationale de Psychanalyse. This has as its president one Daniel Alun Jones, and the same address (Address B) as Daniel Jones the English teacher! According to the entry for it, it was founded in 1984. This is bizarre. I am still trying to work out whether the SIP is genuine or not. However, most Google hits to Société Internationale de Psychanalyse relate to a body founded by Freud in 1910 or so. The Société Psychanalytique de Paris is often listed as its French branch, although the SPP itself claims affiliation to the Association Psychanalytique Internationale. I suspect this may just be a case of official and unofficial French translations of the (presumably German) original name.

More bizarrely, there is a book advertised for sale on Amazon (single copy, second-hand), by a Daniel Alun Jones, called Psychopathology and Creativity; A Study of Anthony Storr's “The Dynamics of Creation”, apparently published, ring-bound, by the “University [sic] De La Sorbonne Nouvelle (1987)”. Is this our same Dr Jones the two-bit translator and language teacher? He would have been 19 when the book came out, but, given his other precocious achievements, this would hardly be surprising. I wonder, however, why I can find no other reference to this book or to its author as a psychoanalyst, other than as noted above (i.e. dodgy and apparently connected with our friend the charlatan translator). I wonder, too, why the book does not appear to have an ISBN, and why, if it was published by Paris III (where our friend got his imaginary doctorate), it’s not even in their library catalogue....

Daniel Jones the conference interpreter

Another gem of a discovery from my colleague the real physician-PhD is that, in his entry in the database of the SFT (Société Française des Traducteurs), Jones (assuming it’s the same one, as the phone number would suggest) describes himself as a conference interpreter, with the language combination English-English. This must be one of the easier combinations, even for a conference interpreter. I suppose everybody has to be good for something.

 Prof. Dr Daniel Jones the fraud?

So there you have it. Jones the translator, Jones the English teacher, Jones the shrink, Jones the monolingual conference interpreter. All, despite the many hairstyles, apparently the same person, who must have lived a very busy life to accomplish so much in under 40 years.

Either that or he’s just another fraud.

dimanche 16 mars 2008

Ex-Staff Sergeant Harold William Vadney III is totally unqualified as a translator!

Ex-Staff Sergeant Vadney III, who bravely risked his life for his country as a Clerk Typist in Germany in the 1970s, now claims to be a professional translator. But by his own admission, he is totally unqualified!

Recently, on one of his shitty blogs, he claimed I had “only the merest qualifications (unverified)1 as a translator”. However, since his qualifications are demonstrably lower than mine, it follows that, since mine are the “merest qualifications”, then his are no qualifications at all.

For some time now, the brave (and apparently cashiered) Clerk Typist has been claiming to have a “diploma” from the IoL (Institute of Linguists—now the Chartered Institute of Linguists). He hasn’t specified which diploma, quite possibly because he hasn’t got around to making that bit up yet. But it doesn’t matter, because the IoL’s Diploma in Translation (DipTransIoL), of which I have two, is the highest-level qualification ever offered by the IoL. It is the only IoL qualification that the IoL itself regards as being of postgraduate level.

To see this, check out the following extracts from the membership criteria.

First the criteria for membership of the IoL (MIL, now MCIL), the level ex-Staff Sergeant Vadney falsely claimed to hold for many years:

Member is the main professional grade of Institute membership and is intended for those whose professional skill as a linguist is a primary requirement for the work in which they are engaged.

The minimum age for Membership is 21.

To become a Member you must have:

a. a proven degree-level qualification (see Appendix A) and
b. at least three years’ professional experience, one of which must have been immediately prior to application, where foreign language skill is a requirement.

a. a proven post-graduate qualification (see Appendix A) and
b. at least one year’s professional experience (normally immediately prior to the date of application), where foreign language skill is a requirement.

So far so good; so you either need a degree-level language qualification plus three years’ experience or a postgraduate-level language qualification plus one year’s experience. As you would expect, Appendix A clarifies exactly what are considered degree-level and postgraduate-level qualifications. It’s a bit long; so I’ll leave it down the bottom2. The important thing is that, while several IoL diplomas are mentioned as sufficient for membership when combined with three years’ experience, there is only one among the postgraduate-level qualifications qualifying for membership when combined with only one year’s experience: the DipTransIoL. And yes, they do mention proof of oral competence, but I should think my Großes Deutsches Sprachdiplom with the grade of sehr gut (the maximum possible grade) both overall and in the oral would meet that requirement easily3.

Note that, despite all his extravagant (and lying) claims, ex-Clerk Typist Vadney has never claimed any specific translation qualification other than his “diploma” or “Membership” of the IoL—and then only for German (into English, I presume, although even his English is bad enough). He doesn’t even bother to claim to be qualified for any other languages, although he claims to be professionally active in French, Italian and Spanish, too.

For the ultimate in Vadneyoid bullshit, we have the following:
It appear [sic] that Benham simply took the examinations (anyone can do that).

Not quite, ex-Clerk Typist Vadney. I didn’t just take the examinations; I also passed them. And not everybody can do that. In fact, one of those who would have less than a snowball’s chance in hell of passing the DipTrans exams is one ex-Clerk Typist Harold William Vadney III himself. In fact, ex-Staff Sergeant Vadney, I will make a little bet. You attempt to repeat my achievement, DipTransIoL in both French>English and German>English in a single examination session, at next year’s exams (January 2009), and if you are successful in all papers (as I was), I’ll refund your examination fees. I’ll even accept it if you make a different choice of languages, say Italian and Spanish, just so long as you pass all six papers in two language pairs in January 2009. Don’t chicken out! With your 25 years of experience you must be pretty confident of passing. It’s your chance of upgrading your qualifications to my level free of charge!! Of course you will have to send me a copy of your examination entry cards for subsequent verification—a scanned copy to my Vadney-accessible email address Richard_Benham_AU-StopVadneysLies[at] (yes, that’s right: the one you claimed I “forged”, you lying little worm) will do.

What have you got to lose?


1. If ex-Clerk Typist Vadney wants to verify my qualifications, he only need contact the institutions concerned. The IoL for one is sure to give a different answer from the one I got when I enquired about ex-Clerk Typist Vadney’s alleged qualifications.

2. Here’s that Appendix A I promised earlier:




One of the following qualifications (in addition to three years’ professional experience, as detailed on page 5):

  1. The IoL Final Diploma examination
  2. From 1994, the IoL Grade V Diploma of the Alternative Syllabus for Contemporary Languages
  3. From 1990, the IoL Diploma in Languages for International Communication (ELIC)
  4. The IoL Diploma in English for International Communication (subject to proven degree-level evidence of competence in another language)
  5. The IoL Final Diploma in English and Chinese
  6. The IoL Diploma in Public Service Interpreting
  7. International Diploma in Bilingual Communication (IDBC) Modules 1-4
  8. The Diplomatic Service Language Allowance examination at the Extensive Level
  9. The Ministry of Defence Interpreter examination
  10. The Civil Service Commission Interpretership
  11. The Joint Services Language Examinations Board Diploma examination (if taken between January 1992 and March 1996)
  12. The Ministry of Defence Languages Examinations Board Diploma (if taken before March 1996)
  13. A 1st or 2nd class Honours degree of a recognised British or overseas University or awarded by the Council for National Academic Awards in:

    • a modern language or languages.
    • a modern language or languages combined with another subject or subjects,
      provided that in the final year of the degree course at least 40% of the course
      content was devoted to foreign language work and that this was examined at
      Finals level and provided that the degree course included residency for study
      or employment of not less than five months duration in a country of the
      language in which admission is sought, or that the residency requirement was
      met within a year of graduation, or that evidence of oral competence is

  14. Other certificates and diplomas to be considered on their merits and the extent to
    which they cover the syllabus of the Diploma in Languages for International

One of the following qualifications (in addition to one year’s professional experience, as detailed on page 6):

  1. The IoL Diploma in Translation (subject to evidence of oral competence being provided)
  2. A recognised post-graduate degree of a British or overseas University in a modern language or languages, or in bi-lingual translation/translation studies.
  3. Other post-graduate certificates and diplomas to be considered on their merits.

3. For those not familiar with this certification, awarded by the Goethe-Institut on behalf of the University of Munich, it is the only certification in any language recognized as being above the maximum level (C2) on the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference. The required level of competence is described as nahezu muttersprachlich (near-native). Ex-Clerk Typist Vadney has repeatedly claimed to be a native speaker of German, but this is just another one of his lies.

vendredi 14 mars 2008

Vadney’s distinguished military career

Let me start by saying that I believe that nobody should be a prisoner of their background. If you have the misfortune, like Harold William Vadney III, to have been born into a trailer-trash family, then it is not only understandable but also commendable to try to rise above your humble beginnings through talent and hard work.

Of course, if you have no talent, there’s always the military. Not only is the military chronically short of new recruits—so they’ll accept just about anybody—but it also offers its employees dumbed-down “college-level” courses, so that even people whose prospects are so dim that they need to join the military in the first place can hope to exit with a degree. So it must have looked like the natural career choice for the young Harold William Vadney III. In a way, it’s a wonder he didn’t think of it earlier, but then again, perhaps not.

Of course, there is a minor disadvantage to a military career: you may be posted to a war zone, where other soldiers, wearing different-coloured uniforms, may actually shoot at you and otherwise try to kill you. At the time, the US was engaged in an undeclared war in South-East Asia; so the risk was more than theoretical. But somehow, young Harold managed to swing it so he got posted to the war zone of the past, Europe, and never had to face the unpleasantness of physical danger.

So far, so good. But now have a look at Vadney’s military record, kindly supplied by Mr Scott Horne. It seems young Harold left the military in something of a hurry. He didn’t wait to finish his degree, and, surprisingly, he was discharged while still in Germany. And if we look at page 3 of the PDF file, on the last non-blank line (about 12 lines down the page), we see that something has been blacked out before the word “discharge” (by the military, not by either me or my colleague). Normally, you’d expect the word “honorable” to appear there, and the blacked-out section is the right length for that. Could it be that the brass were going to give Vadney an honourable discharge, but thought better of it?

Then there’s the question of the Vadney’s rank. On the covering document (page 2 of the PDF file), it is given as “Specialist 4 / E4” (E4 corresponds to Corporal), but shortly before being discharged, he seems to have made it to “TRANSLATOR / INTPR (E6)” (E6=Staff Sergeant). So why does the covering document (p. 2) give his rank as E4? Why did he apparently not even get an honourable discharge? Why did he leave so abruptly? And why does he never mention this highly relevant “professional” experience on his CVs? (See for example this one, taken from his profile before he became such a liability that they had to kick him off.) Could it be that Vadney got into some kind of trouble, and was demoted and bundled out?

We note from the covering letter to Mr Horne that the records provided to him constitute all information “releaseable” under Freedom of Information legislation, and that the Vadney’s permission is required for further details. In view of the Vadney’s oft-stated commitment to openness, and the obvious pride (and understandable pride too, when you consider his subsequent career) with which he regards his military career and his “Big Red One” (the question he never answers is: big red what?), we are sure that the relevant permission will be forthcoming. And pigs might fly.

lundi 10 mars 2008

Watch this space!

I have far too much work to do right now; so this blog is just a place-holder right now. I have plans for it, but right now, if you want to get the low-down on a low-down liar of a wannabe translator by the name of Harold William Vadney III (!), check my other blog.

You may be wondering why I even bothered to create this blog under the circumstances. Well, the Harold William Vadney III has a blog devoted to defaming me, a professional colleague (of mine—by definition he, being totally unprofessional, can’t have professional colleagues), a couple of newspaper publishers, most of his neighbours.... A few hours ago, he posted a link to a new blog he had created at this address. This was mainly devoted to defaming translators (myself and my colleague), and was taken down shortly after being put up. So I grabbed the name to stop him from putting it back up. It didn’t help much; he started a new blog with almost identical content (but more of it) with a slightly different name.