Orbe and Manta Translations: Walks, Quacks, & Swims Like a Scam, and ProZ is Helping!

It isn’t clear how much more would be needed to convince translators that Henry Dotterer and the entire, disastrous ProZ model has done more damage to the profession than ten global recessions, but here’s yet another piece of evidence for the affirmation that Dotterer doesn’t give a damn about translators or translation. (Please don’t stop sending in your annual dues, though!)

The low-paying agencies Manta Translations and Orbe Translations (well, to be precise, they are “low-rate-offering” — the equivalent of $0.04/USD per word is reportedly their typical pay) have been on a phishing expedition. Lately, they’ve even been abetted by ProZ, which recently sent a mass recruitment mail on behalf of Manta to thousands of ProZ members. Not that Manta isn’t doing a great job of spamming translators on its own, with a flood of other emails sent to addresses evidently gleaned from various online groups and mailing lists. (A certain “Raffaella Isaia” wrote to Italian translators; the entire sad, rambling email, in Italian, is at the bottom of this post.)

Orbe Translations and Manta Translations are, to begin with, one and the same company. Both websites are registered to Javier Bergero at Lautaro 642, Córdoba, Argentina (543514616764, javier@gb-software.com.ar and marcelojavierbergero@hotmail.com).

The agencies, however, send messages from an IP in Romania. They also claim to have had an office in Turin, Italy since 2002, though they do not appear in the Turin yellow pages and their phone number (02.36311200), includes a Milan city prefix rather than a Turin one. If you research Manta’s supposed street address on Google Maps (Via Duchessa Jolanda 21bis), you’ll see a window sign for Fidiline, apparently a real-estate lending agency, whose logo is surprisingly similar to the logos for Orbe and Manta and whose office, according to its very minimal site (www.fidiline.net), is supposedly in Milan.

But no sign of Manta, at least not from outside the building.

Curioser and curioser.

Manta Translations is on more than one translator blacklist and is the subject of a recent “scam alert” on LinkedIn. Questions about Manta were being raised on the Italian-language translator payment-practices list, “The Checklist,” as early as 2005. On the WPPF (WorldPaymentPracticesFree) Group on Yahoo, Manta is also blacklisted and is reportedly “renowned for low rates.”

Meanwhile, the English on the Manta site demonstrates the mediocre, non-native quality typical of third-rate bottom-feeding agencies who trade in non-native translators and heavily hammer the idea of CAT tools and translation memories (which Manta/Orbe helpfully provide). 

Interestingly, Orbe/Manta also profess to provide translations exclusively using teams of in-house translators which is, first, a fairly obvious lie for the volume of business they claim and the geographic area they say they cover. But they only adopted that model because of their concern about the terrible “suffering” of freelancers, which they aim to remedy:

Not having a suitable place of work, suffering interference from other household members or the monotony that solitary work can cause are factors that are usually reflected in the quality and level of (freelancers’) productivity. Also, freelance translators are often forced to accept very large or complex jobs for which they do not have sufficient knowledge. They do this only in order to preserve continuity of work and to not risk losing a customer. These difficulties lead to insecurity, stress or a state of distress for fear of failing to meet delivery commitments.

Isn’t that thoughtful? An agency that really cares about translators! Being underpaid or having to hound your client for payment, that’s not stressful. But working as a freelancer … that’s stressful. So does that mean Orbe/Manta is offering full-time jobs with regular employment contracts? Sounds unlikely, doesn’t it?

Then there’s the alarm bell that starts to sound when they talk about their “training programs”:

Manta Translations provides courses for internal personnel as well as for students and professional translators. These courses take place in our own offices or in the offices of other institutions. The most popular courses are those related to computer-assisted translation (Transit XV/Nxt, Trados Studio, Across), Microsoft Office oriented translation tools and graphic programs. Also very popular are the translation workshops, project management courses, quality control systems courses and the introductory course to the overall translation market.

Following the email blast, several of our colleagues in various language combinations wrote to Manta to seek clarification about the company’s/companies’ specific offer, rates, contracts, etc. As of this writing, none of them has received a response.

Now, it took TranslatorLeaks less than an hour to gather the information above. No one can be even slightly shocked that agencies like Manta exist, especially in an Argentinian market destroyed by greedy translation wholesalers who took advantage of that country’s currency devaluations (read Aurora Humarán’s Globalization Gone Awry in English or Spanish on the No Peanuts! for Translators site) and in Italy, where years of “crisis” panic have produced substantially the same result.

But we might have thought ProZ would do a little of its own due-diligence research before helping Orbe/Manta shaft translators. But that’s our ProZ. Still “enhancing the lives of its members” after all these years.

______________________________________

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Manta Translations <manta@manta-translations.com>
Date: 2013/11/8
Subject: Proposta di collaborazione
To: “ProZ.com Member” <proz-lists@proz.com>

Cari Colleghi,

mi chiamo Raffaella Isaia, abito a Torino, e sono la Rappresentate
di Manta Translations per il mercato Italia.

Il mio primo contatto con la Manta Translation avvenne nel maggio del 2012 ma all’epoca, malgrado fossi molto allettata di far parte di questa grande organizzazione, non avevo la possibilità di dedicarmi interamente alle traduzioni in quanto collaboravo all’interno di un’altra struttura. A settembre del 2013 mi posi nuovamente ed esclusivamente in contatto con la Manta Translations dando piena disponibilità lavorativa e, da qui, iniziammo a collaborare. Come avevo immaginato, l’impatto fu molto buono: l’organizzazione, la professionalità, l’ambiente lavorativo ed il supporto mi stupirono in positivo. Inoltre, col tempo e in base alla mia personale esperienza con altre agenzie di traduzioni italiane e straniere, sono giunta alla conclusione che la Manta Translations è una compagnia profondamente seria, il cui scopo è quello di sviluppare e superare le continue sfide del mercato delle traduzioni.

Grazie al lavoro degli ultimi anni, la Manta Translations ha iniziato una nuova politica di espansione e crescita che prevede di creare diversi gruppi di lavoro sia in Europa sia in altre Nazioni. Tra le altre, da ottobre di quest’anno è operativa la sede della Romania, a Bucarest, a carico di Irina Zbravoz che rappresenta un esempio eloquente di come la Manta Translations desideri instaurare il rapporto con i propri collaboratori: il primo contatto tra Irina e l’azienda risale a giugno del 2012.

Dopo diversi test ed interviste via Skype, a novembre dello stesso anno iniziò la sua collaborazione con il gruppo. A febbraio di quest’anno la Manta Translations ha invitato Irina a recarsi presso la sede argentina per un periodo di cinque settimane facendosi interamente carico di ogni spesa e del compenso. Ne è emersa un’esperienza positiva e motivante: Irina è rimasta favorevolmente impressa dal gruppo di persone, dall’ambiente di lavoro e dalla professionalità dell’organizzazione. Quelle settimane le son servite per stabilire legami con gli altri colleghi, stringere amicizie e, soprattutto, per capire la filosofia di base dell’azienda. Una volta tornata a Bucarest, per lei è iniziata una nuova fase di crescita professionale tanto che attualmente è la rappresentante di Manta Translations per la Romania ed il capo ufficio della nuova sede di Bucarest.

Manta Translations non solo è alla ricerca di traduttori ma anche di professionisti che vogliano diventare veri imprenditori per gestire nuovi clienti e diversi settori, province o regioni del mercato Italia. Per riuscirci, potete contare pienamente sull’esperienza e sull’appoggio della Manta Translations.

Se reputate interessante l’idea di far parte di questo Team, Vi invito a leggere con attenzione le informazioni contenute nel nostro sito web www.manta-translations.com che Vi permetteranno di avere un’idea più approfondita dell’azienda. Vi invito, inoltre, a caricare sul sito il vostro Curriculum Vitae e di utilizzare il nostro indirizzo email (manta-it@manta-translations.com) solo nel caso in cui si verificassero problemi o errori nel sito. Si accettano esclusivamente caratteri minuscoli (a-z) e maiuscoli dell’alfabeto latino (A-Z), punti (.), numeri e spazi. Per favore, non utilizzate lettere accentate o con altri caratteri particolari.

Infine, desidero informarVi che la Manta Translations nel mese di giugno 2014 organizzerà un incontro con tutti i suoi collaboratori residenti in Europa per scambiarci opinioni e rispondere alle Vostre domande. Per partecipare, potete mandare un’email al seguente indirizzo: manta-it@manta-translations.com.

In attesa di incontrarvi personalmente, Vi porgo i miei più cordiali saluti

Raffaella Isaia
Rappresentante
Manta Translations
Mercato Italia

—————————————-
This message was sent to you via the ProZ.com directory.
Sender: Manta Translations
Sender’s profile: http://proz.com/profile/1843439
Sender’s IP address: 86.120.84.155

IP Geolocation Information

COUNTRY: Romania ro flag
STATE/REGION: Bucuresti
CITY: Bucharest
LATITUDE: 44.4333  (44° 25′ 59.88″ N)
LONGITUDE: 26.1  (26° 5′ 60.00″ E)
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4 thoughts on “Orbe and Manta Translations: Walks, Quacks, & Swims Like a Scam, and ProZ is Helping!

  1. Marina

    Thanks for the alert post! I just got an email from Manta Global Translations through Proz.com. I guess they’re out fishing for English-Spanish translators; well, they won’t be getting a reply from me.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: ¡Hartos de mentiras, hartos de calumnias, hartos de HUMARÁN! |

    1. TranslatorLeaks Post author

      We don’t know why Mr. Chiosso doesn’t just dry up and blow away, but continuously posting libel-filled screeds online — and continuing to try to comment on the TranslatorLeaks’ blog — isn’t getting him anywhere. We’ve repeatedly said that Ms. Humarán has absolutely nothing to do with anything we published. That remains true. With regards to Manta/Orbe’s low-rate job offers: We have the proof; we’ve published the proof; we’ve provided it to Mr. Chiosso. Continuing to insist otherwise doesn’t actually change the facts.

      Reply

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