Eurostreet of Biella Gets a Makeover — But It’s the Same Old Eurostreet

I’m not sure I can manage to be cynical enough about Eurostreet Linguistic Services’ new makeover.

Eurostreet (located at Via Losana, 13 in Biella, in the Piedmont Region), which also does business as Eurostreet Services and Eurostreet Cooperative, has been offering starvation wages to translators for years.

Recently, however, Eurostreet has reappeared with a new name, ItaTraCom (ironically enough, this stands for “Italian Translation Community,” though you normally don’t expect people in your “community” to try to drive you out of business), and a new raison d’être. Now it’s not just a translation agency; it’s a translation broker.

Eurostreet/ItaTraCom.com, of course, still offers translations from every language in the world into every language in the world — a sign of quality you can always count on.

ItaTraCom.com, what’s more, now publishes its “Price List” online, just like the bargain menu at McDonald’s. (Click to enlarge.)

The problem is not just that the prices (which are the end prices that Eurostreet/ItaTraCom.com asks of its clients, remember) are outrageously low: the translator typically receives 1/3 to 1/2 of what an agency charges its clients, and that’s before taxes.
And it’s not just that Eurostreet/ItaTraCom.com is engaged in the growing practice of offering take-it-or-leave it maximums to translators and distorting the meaning of “independent contractor.” (More and more agencies, in fact, are following this practice, telling clients up front what they will pay and, in the process, giving translators almost no ability to negotiate their own rates.)
The real frosting on the cake (or the cherry on the tart, as they might say in Italy) is in the small print:

In the event you should consider our prices (indicated above) to be unacceptable or overly burdensome, please send us an estimate of the amount of translation work you anticipate ordering from us in the course of a year along with the percentage discount you consider appropriate. We will contact you to discuss an agreement regarding the price of your translation that does not compromise the quality of service or, in the alternative, to define the repositioning of translation quality in keeping with your actual needs and the price you expect to pay.

In other words: not only does Eurostreet/ItaTraCom.com promote the practice of allowing agencies to dictate price to translators, it’s willing to let that inexcusable custom trickle down to its own end clients.

Eurostreet/ItaTraCom.com also makes clear that it is more than happy to engage in one of the more nefarious and widespread abuses practiced by agencies: the volume discount. Obviously, I have no problem if agencies choose to give their end clients volume discounts. The insult comes when they expect (or demand) that translators do so.
The fact is, it takes a certain amount of time to translate a page of Italian. That time remains constant, whether there are 10 pages or 1000. The volume discount should come out of the agency’s pocket, not the translator’s.With practices like these, though, one begins to wonder. Are we talking about translations or are we dickering over babouches in a dark alley in Marrakesh?

One of the great ironies in ItaTraCom.com’s servile plea to potential clients is the tacit recognition that cost actually is related to quality. In essence, they’re saying, “Look, if you want a really inferior translation, please don’t let price be an object. We can provide bad translations for even less!”

Eurostreet, it’s worth noting, is the agency that recently won a huge annual contract with the Region of Lombardy for translation and interpreting services. Like the Italian Ministry of Tourism (cf. the Trust Traduzioni scandal of early February 2010), the Region of Lombardia has also chosen to award a government contract for cut-rate services to a translation mill.

The only difference is that Trust Traduzioni and the Ministero di Turismo received negative publicity for choosing an agency that denied translators a living wage. The Region of Lombardy and Eurostreet have gotten away with it.

Get ready for a new tsunami of Inglisc and Italish in Italy’s capital of fashion and finance. Eurostreet and ItaTraCom.com are the newest marchet lìder in undervaluing the work of translators.

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3 thoughts on “Eurostreet of Biella Gets a Makeover — But It’s the Same Old Eurostreet

  1. Calliope

    Hi there,Thanks for the enlightening account and the chance to post from my standpoint. I've been posting on proz.com about this issue for the last few days, after I discovered the petition instigated by the Trust Traduzioni scandal. However, all my posts are now being vetted, in essence I have been banned from posting, minutes after posting this http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom_job_systems/161914-new_system_from_a_translation_buyers_perspective-page4.html#1364791 Calliope Sofianopoulos

    Reply
  2. Carlo Cucaracho

    I was stupid enough to do work for Trust Traduzioni. Stupid enough to think that having translated a Ministry website would be an opportunity for publicity.I did not know by that time that Trust Traduzioni was in fact just a subcontractor for another agencyand had no direct business relationship with the Ministry (However, that was the impression the owner created).To cut a long story short, I did three days of work and did not get paid!After having translated and delivered 6 files (which were received without any complaints), I waspromised a contract/purchase order the same day and given another 9 files to translate.Three days later I delivered 7 of the 9 files and retained two, waiting for her to send me the promised contract/Purchase Order. (I had done some research in the meantime and started to smell foul play).She got very angry at me and told me she would assign the remaining two files to another translator.After m 90 days I asked for my payment which was denied. However, all the texts translated by me are used on the Ministry website.I can only warn everybody to do business with that company.Chris, Germany

    Reply

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