End of an era: Goodbye, fax-to-email service

Faxes used to be an essential tool for translators, but they seem to be going the way of the dodo these days. Back when faxes were on thermal paper and I got most of my translation documents via fax, having a fax-to-email service was a godsend. It was quicker and cheaper, the faxes were easier to manage, and the image quality was better.

I've been using a fax-to-email service for almost 10 years now. I've most recently been using a Japanese service named faxcast. Last month I got a notice from them saying that they were effectively raising their fee by $50/year (by getting rid of their yearly plan, where we paid 10 months' worth for a year).

This caused me to reexamine my fax usage. Going back over the past year, I found that I've only received two faxes through the service, neither of which were work related. Nowadays, almost all the translation documents I get are in electronic form. Companies that used to send me faxes now scan them themselves and send them as PDF attachments via email.

So there's really not much use in me keeping up this service. I have a fax machine in my office for the rare occasion that anyone would want to send me a fax, and $300/year for a service I never use is a bit much. I therefore decided to cancel my fax-to-email service as of January 20. I guess I should thank faxcast for raising their prices and making me reconsider their service (although it might not be exactly the effect they were hoping for <g>).

12 comments to End of an era: Goodbye, fax-to-email service

  • Kevin

    R.I.P. the fax.
    I was going to comment that since fax technology was used in WWII, it’s had a good long life anyway, but when I checked that it turns out it goes back much farther than that and you can choose 1843, 1851, or 1908 as key dates in the birth of modern faxing. Amazing it held out so long against the email/scanner combination.

  • MT

    You’ve hit the nail right on the head. I used to love my fax-to-email service (I just used a free service because I never got that many jobs by fax). Its best feature was that it allowed time-zone-challenged agencies to send me faxes in the middle of the night without waking up the whole family. As a family it saved us from a lot of midnight ranting and swearing rampages. Not to mention beeping and fax shrieking if we’d forgotten to turn off the sound on the fax machine. Plus the fax-to-email service never ran out of paper. Or overheated.

    Now if a client wants to send me a job by fax, I turn down the job. I’ve got plenty of great work arriving conveniently in my inbox as PDF files. And I’ve found that increasingly over the last couple of years, any client who can’t figure out how to get their job into my e-mail inbox (or snailmail mailbox) and insists on their need to fax it is not a client I want to work with anyway.

  • The good old fax — it has had a great life. My tech guru hooked me up with e-fax, but I rarely use it, and no one seems to want to fax me, which is fine and dandy with me. I chose to forgo the purchase of a scanner/fax combo to save some money early on, and I haven’t missed it at all. For the rare occasions where clients want me to fax them some tax information, I head to Office Max, record the mileage, and get a tax deduction for my $1.25 expense.

    I second MT’s sentiment about turning down potential fax jobs. A close associate of mine wanted to present me with a stack of documents to give her an estimate on (hm… for two inches worth of documents, this will be…. let me get out my calculator.. darn it, I don’t know! :)), but after I explained to her that it was in her financial interest to get me electronic copies, she did. If push comes to shove, I suggest clients scan the docs and make PDFs out of them, which of course can be somewhat painful to work with as well. There are documents that OmniPage has not been able to handle, but luckily, there are few of those. I do charge a very justifiable surcharge to work on PDF documents.

  • Zee

    $300 a year for a fax to email service? Wow! I thought people paying $15 a month were insane, yours was almost double that.

    I also use fax to email service called Onesuite Fax Plus and it only cost me between $3 to $5 a month depending on how many pages I’ve sent because receiving is always free and unlimited.

    Another thing, I didn’t know Fax to email service already exist during the 90’s because based on your story, you’ve been using fax to email for about 10 years now.

  • @Zee “I didn’t know Fax to email service already exist during the 90’s”

    I first got it when I lived in the US. I moved to Japan in 1999, so it’s been around 10 years now. How time flies! 🙂

  • Zee

    Could you still remember which company is that? They must started the technology or at least to the masses.

    For sure its not efax because I haven’t heard about efax until early 2000…then voip follows after that. Now fax to email service is almost everywhere and lots to choose from. Some offers free fax like faxzero with ads on cover page and limited to 3 fax (2 pages each a day), efax @ 20 pages a month and others offer cheap rates like 2.5 cents per page with Onesuite Fax.

    Bottom line, I think people still need fax service one way or the other and online fax just make it easier, accessible anywhere and cheaper.

  • @Zee

    Searching the Honyaku mailing list archives, the first reference to “fax-to-email” is from 1998, with a service called “jfax.” I must have gotten my service around that time, and it might well have been jfax.

    Link to the query.

  • Zee

    Wow…I see the technology is already there in Japan back in 1998 and found Jfax introduced the service back in 1997 and they’re still around albeit now named jconnect.

  • I use eFax’s free service. It’s limited to 20 pages a month, but seriously it’s a busy month if I get a couple pages. I have an Idaho fax number, but it doesn’t cost me a penny and I can easily convert the file using ABBYY FineReader.

  • Zee


    I thought of using Efax free service too but I need to send out fax at the same time. Efax paid service is more expensive than Onesuite Fax service not to mention receiving faxes with Onesuite is free.

  • Adi


    I applied for DID in Japan through MyDivert.com I have 2 DIDs with them which works great and third one will be set up by company as Fax To Email. They charge 3.70 for one line ONLY 3.70euro/month regardless whether line is used for voice call or fax to email. Good news is that if you renew your number manually (charges are on monthly basis) you get 5% off. I checked it and for second month was deducted 3.52 euro. One question to you guys who have been using Fax To Email for long time. How about security? You know clients may send application forms to me with their credit cards number etc. Is it save?
    Thanks For any answer

  • Adi

    ZEE I have checked Onesuite fax but as most of companies they do not offer DID fax in Japan only in US or Canada. eFax however is expensive but at least they give you Tokyo or Osaka DID. I`m open foe any suggestions. By the way, do someone know how to use my exisitng DID number in Tokyo with Microsoft Fax which is built in in VISTA Ulitmate?

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