REM Traduzioni, Padova

The Company

REM Traduzioni S.n.c. is located in Padova (Padua). Its owners are Elisabetta Bezzon and Gloria Cesaro. On its site, REM Traduzioni claims, in somewhat halting English, that “all our translation and interpreting services in and from the various European and non-European languages are carried out in close cooperation with qualified native speakers whose experience and specialist knowledge are our keys to success.”

In other words, their policy is to use non-native-speaking translators.

The History

On 8 October 2008, REM Traduzioni posted an announcement on Proz.com seeking freelance translators in numerous language combinations. REM’s announcement indicated several requirements: freelance translators had to possess a VAT code (which means translators who live in Italy and pay taxes in Italy) and had to use a CAT tool (Trados or similar).

The pay: €10/cartella (which is a measure of 1500 characters, typically including spaces).

That is BEFORE Italian taxes (which can be from 20%-40%).

That is AFTER calculating the so-called “matches” that CAT tools find and which are then deducted from the text on which your pay is based.

That is the pay for HIGHLY TECHNICAL translations in the areas of law, patents, technical documentation and manuals, and mechanics/machinery.

REM Traduzioni claims to be a member of the Federazione dei Centri di Traduzione e Interpretariato (Federation of Translation and Interpretation Service Providers) and the (European Union of Associations of Translation Companies, which is additional evidence of how useless such “qualifications” and organizations actually are.

If membership in high-sounding “federations” such as these cannot even guarantee that its members will pay translators decently, what purpose do they serve?

In a lively exchange with the owner of REM Traduzioni, however, who responded indignantly to my equally indignant email of complaint regarding their outrageously low fees and working conditions, she hotly told me that their fees were low because mother-tongue English-speaking translators were incompetent and thus she was forced to pay twice for each translation: once for the terrible translation and once for the revision.

So let’s think about this logically: You offer absurdly low pay — the kind of rate only students fresh out of school or absolutely green beginners could think of accepting (though they have to be possessed of a VAT code and CAT tools) — and then you’re genuinely ticked off when they send you low-quality translations.

REM Traduzioni, unfortunately, is the rule rather than the exception among Italian translation agencies: Everything is the fault of the translator. The misguided policy to use non-native-speaking translators has nothing to do with it. The decision to offer starvation wages has nothing to do with it.

It would be hard to come up with a better example of “not clear on the concept.”

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