Category Archives: Agencies Sucking Translators Dry

Manta/Orbe Translations – Methinks He Doth Protest Too Much

For months, Guillermo Chiosso of Manta/Orbe Translations (also known as Manta Translations, Orbe Translations, and Global Manta Translations) has been engaged in an email campaign of protest against translators who have criticized his agency’s practices. Over recent weeks, that campaign has intensified.

At the bottom of this post is a 16 December 2014 email from Mr. Chiosso that was forwarded to TranslatorLeaks. It’s typical of his recent messages.

Mr. Chiosso is specifically vexed because of the post that appeared on TranslatorLeaks on 10 November 2013: “Orbe and Manta Translations: Walks, Quacks, & Swims Like a Scam, and ProZ is Helping!

Mr. Chiosso’s basic claim, which he repeats like a verbal tic in the apparent hope that it will become true (though he carefully refuses to provide any evidence to the contrary) is that there is no truth to what TranslatorLeaks reported on 10 November 2013.

He also insists that the president of the International Association Of Professional Translators and Interpreters, Aurora Humarán, is the author of the TranslatorLeaks article simply because she shared the post via

In his 16 December 2014 email, he further insists that Ms. Humarán is also the author of the 26 November 2014 post, “Life at the Bottom: Manta/Orbe Translations,” published on the Translation Tribulations blog and quite clearly authored not by Ms. Humarán or TranslationLeaks but by Kevin Lossner.

In addition, Mr. Chiosso writes, in what has by now become his email complaint template: “The curious thing is that never before [the TranslatorLeaks article] had anybody talked negatively about us.”

Mr. Chiosso is incorrect on every single count.

  • Manta Translations was listed on an Argentine translators’ “Lista Nera” (Blacklist) as of July 2013 for offering 0.10 ARS (Argentine pesos) per word (equivalent, at today’s exchange rate, to 0.012 USD/word)
  • In May 2013 and again in September 2013, Manta Translations was discussed on the Yahoo Group WorldPaymentPracticesFree as a blacklisted, low-paying agency.
  • Beginning on 5 November 2013, Manta was discussed on the Yahoo Group “the-checklist” following the mass email sent to Italian translators on Manta’s behalf by Raffaele Isaia (the email is reproduced in “Orbe and Manta Translations: Walks, Quacks, & Swims Like a Scam, and ProZ is Helping!”). Translators noted strange inconsistencies in the email, including the fact that the sender identified herself as Italian, though the IP used was in Romania, and wondered whether a possible translator scam was underway (in which disreputable companies solicit and collect CVs without actually intending to offer jobs).
  • Beginning on 4 November 2013, Manta’s mass emails to members also began to be discussed in a forum on LinkedIn. Several translators expressed concern about Manta’s approach and the degree to which the agency’s lack of transparency (and fishing for copies of CVs, including the requirement that applicants submit a password) had the earmarks of a “scam.”
  • Prior to TranslatorLeaks’ article, two Italian translators wrote to TranslatorLeaks in private to confirm that Manta had offered them, for English>Italian translations, the equivalent of 0.04 USD/word when they responded to its email blitz in or around November 2013.


  • All of the above took place before TranslatorLeaks was alerted to Manta/Orbe Translations by its colleagues and published its 10 November 2013 article regarding Manta’s mass-recruitment mailing to ProZ members.
  • All of the above took place before anyone “scooped,” reposted, shared, or commented on TranslatorLeaks’ article.
  • Long before the TranslatorLeaks’ article, people were, in fact, “talking negatively” about Manta/Orbe Translations. If Mr. Chiosso genuinely did not know that (which seems hard to believe), he knows it now.


TranslatorLeaks stands by its article of 10 November 2013. We have every reason to believe the information in that post was accurate at the time.

If Manta/Orbe Translations has changed its ways since November 2013, please send us evidence of that fact. We will publish it.

In the meantime, Mr. Chiosso’s rambling, threatening emails – full of inaccurate information and paranoid accusations – prove nothing.

For the record, we continue to believe that’s collaboration with low-paying agencies and refusal to halt bottom-feeding on or through its site has damaged and continues to damage translators’ livelihoods.


With specific regard to the truth of what TranslatorLeaks wrote on 10 November 2013 – and what was written before that date by members of LinkedIn, the “WorldPaymentPracticesFree” group, “the-checklist” group, and the compilers of the Argentine “Lista Nera” – TranslatorLeaks has these questions for Mr. Chiosso.

1. Do you deny, on behalf of Manta/Orbe Translations, that, in or around November 2013, Manta/Orbe engaged in a campaign to recruit new translators for its agency/agencies, whether that campaign took place through online job postings, lists, or private emails?

2. At the time of the translator-recruitment drive that took place in or around November 2013, what rate did Manta/Orbe Translations indicate it would pay translators in any or all of the following combinations: Spanish>English, English>Spanish, Italian>English, or English>Italian?

3. Do you deny, on behalf of Manta/Orbe Translations, that translators who responded to recruitment emails in or around November 2013 were told that Manta/Orbe would pay the equivalent of 0.04 USD/word, at least in the English>Italian combination?

4. Do you deny, on behalf of Manta/Orbe Translations, that, at some point between January and July 2013, Manta/Orbe indicated it would pay translators a rate of 10 ARS/word?

5. At what average rate does Manta/Orbe Translations currently expect translators to work? For example, in your mass email to members of 16 December 2014 (“Huge project Spanish – English 250.000 words”) what is Manta/Orbe Translations’ rate?

6. Do you deny, on behalf of Manta/Orbe Translations, that the email from Raffaella Isaia reposted by TranslatorLeaks on 10 November 2013 was, in fact, authorized by and sent on Manta/Orbe’s behalf?

7. Do you deny, on behalf of Manta/Orbe Translations, that, prior to November 2013, Manta/Orbe was listed on the Facebook group “Lista negra de empresas de traducción en Argentina” (Blacklist of Argentine Translations Agencies) as well as described as a low-payer in postings on the Yahoo group, WorldPaymentPracticesFree?

8. What proof do you or does Manta/Orbe Translations have that Ms. Humarán is the author of “Orbe and Manta Translations: Walks, Quacks, & Swims Like a Scam, and ProZ is Helping!” or, as you claim in a 16 December 2014 email, that “Ms Humarán reacted writing and publishing an article about us using dictionary material to compare us with animals who “live at the bottom and feed on scraps” see”?


From: Guillermo Chiosso Manta/Orbe []
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 11:03 AM
To: ————————–
Cc: i————————–
Subject: Re: Huge project Spanish – English (250.000 words.)

We have already taken legal actions against Aurora Matilde Humarán, president and founder of IAPTI, for libel and slander against Manta Orbe translations.

Everything began when we created in November 2013 a translator association, “Global Manta Translators”, and it seems that Ms. Humarán is bothered by the existence of other associations.

This is the actual reason.

We have already informed the Argentine justice, all IAPTI members and Ms. Humarán’s clients of her actions. I am sending a copy of this message to the author of the slanderous publication, Ms. Aurora Matilde Humarán to show you that we face the situation and do not hide behind anonymity.

This answer we are sending to you will also be sent to Humarán.

The article she denies having written was made public on the internet a day after we presented our association proposal. The curious thing is that never before had anybody talked negatively about us.


Besides, in the forums making reference to us nobody provides further information on how Manta/Orbe works or what it does.

They only repeat different versions of what Translator Leaks published. In this way, Humarán creates an echo or amplification effect, part of any defamation strategy. She intends to detach from these allegations but in her Linked-in


when she presented these claims she received congratulations from other translators for her research.

She also reported that she included Manta Orbe into a blacklist.

In November 23rd, we sent a copy of the attached mail to all IAPTI members and Humarán’s clients, receiving different kinds of answers many of which were supporting us and asking how to become part of our association.

As a response to the mails sent to IAPTI members Ms Humarán reacted writing and publishing an article about us using dictionary material to compare us with animals who “live at the bottom and feed on scraps”


Obviously, as she does not have any kind of proof against us the only resource she has is comparing us with bottom-feeders.

We, on the contrary, do not need to rely neither on defamation nor mythological animals.

For us, it was enough all the evidence gathered and presented to the Argentine justice.

She only tries to create a fiction and spread it on the internet. We, on the contrary, gather proof and present our research to the justice against Humarán and IAPTI, the association she also used for her defamation campaign.


In the paragraph “How can we fight poor payers?” Humarán says: There are many ways in which we can fight poor payers: … discussing these topics in translators and interpreters forums so that the information flows, etc. At IAPTI we are working on several projects to help fight them, but this is strategic information I cannot share…

Part of the information that she cannot share is that “Humarán and the staff of IAPTI invent stories for publishing them on the web and proceed with their defamation plan.”

We would like to thanks Mr. Kevin Lossner, responsible of Translation Tribulation, who provided us with the chance to answer to this false allegation.

It is our moral obligation to stop these serial slanderers because today it was our turn to be their victims but tomorrow, if you do not think like them, it could be your’s or anybody else’s.

Thank you for your email, this will also form part of the file to show the damage to our image that Ms. Humarán and her followers are doing.

I remain at your disposal for anything else you might need.

Guillermo Chiosso
Manta/Orbe Translations

Dear Linguistic,
We are working on a Spanish into English translation project (250.000 words.) and we are in search for translators who might be interested in collaborating with us.

All translators who are available, will have to carry out a PAID TEST TRANSLATION of around 1000 words using Trados Studio.

Argument: Industrial Machinery Manuals
Regarding the payment:  Payment for this project will be carried out in two step:
Between the 15/01/2015 – and the 20/01/2015 (for all the translations delivered in December)
and between the 15/02/2015 – and the 20/02/2015 (for all the translations delivered in January)

We kindly ask all interested translators to send us a short email with the amount of words per day and their best translation rate. Please send us your CV and upload it on our web site:

Given to the timing of the project, we inform that we will only considerate those translators, who send us the email with the requested information until Wednesday 17/12 at 14:00 ITA time, at the latest.

Thank you for your interest.

Kind regards,
Guillermo Chiosso
Global Manta Translators

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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, and

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 (, 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 <>
Date: 2013/11/8
Subject: Proposta di collaborazione
To: “ Member” <>

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 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 ( 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:

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

Raffaella Isaia
Manta Translations
Mercato Italia

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COUNTRY: Romania ro flag
CITY: Bucharest
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Please Sky Pee Into the Cup – Another Indian Agency Reverts Itself

In this morning’s email from the preternaturally useless

Dear Translator,

vishakha has sent the following message to you – and, possibly, to other translators:


LinguaInfo services Pvt. Ltd. is one of the prestigious Translation Company in India, We are looking for (Translators, Voice over Artists, Transcriptionist, content writers) & adding new resources for our future supplies and to increase our database in different languages for upcoming projects of translation &amp; Localization. Requesting you to fill the career’s form on  or send your Resume on

Please mention your Least minimum charges per source word
Your sky pee id
Daily online available timing
And Payment method

We will revert you accordingly


Thebigword Needs Your Prayers: Here’s Why They Pay Shite

The Leeds (England)-based translation agency, thebigword (;, needs your prayers.

Recently, thebigword wrote translators to explain why it was further lowering its already lousy rates: a tragic story of actually having to pay people to assist the company in becoming (according to its own advertising claims) “the leading, highest earning global LSP.”

Brings tears to your eyes, doesn’t it? Poor tycoons! Being forced to reduce their per-word rate to .038 GBP (about $0.05 US)! And it’s all because they have to fly people around in planes!

Moral of the story: If you want your life as a translator to get better, tell agencies like thebigword they should stop flying and, instead, should take a flying leap.

We are writing to advise you that thebigword is to amend the fees it pays to translators. This will bring thebigword into line with other large LSPs that are servicing the needs of large Government and Corporate contracts. This has been driven by changes in the way that these organisations operate which has created a downward pressure on costs. Coupled with an increased cost of sales and significantly extended sales cycle, this has eroded margins to the point where the rates that we are currently paying you are not viable in this very competitive market place.

I would like to explain the efforts we put into generating business which creates work for you as one of 4,000 translators in more than 70 countries that carry out projects for us every month.

At present, thebigword employs 60 sales people worldwide who, as a group have to take 80 flights a month and on average, have to each spend 2-3 nights a week away from their family and home. We employ a further 50 people who recruit, interview and test linguists in order to maintain the high standard of our service. In addition, we support our global linguists’ community with more than 250 project management staff from our 10 global offices who liaise between our customers and yourselves. We also have over 50 people working on our technology so that we can improve our internal efficiency, drive down our internal costs and provide the state-of-the-art, highly secure systems that our customers now demand, and that you need to deliver your service.

However, having said all of this, never before has our industry experienced such huge pressure from both the private and public sector to drive down prices. This, of course, is not necessarily for their own profit but simply a reaction to the state of world economies. At thebigword we have endeavoured to keep our rates to the highest possible level whilst enabling us to keep the work flowing to you but at the present time, those rates are not viable in the competitive marketplace. Therefore, with effect from Thursday 18th July, thebigword will change its payment per word rate to 0.038 GBP. These rate changes are not retrospective but will apply to any new work received from Thursday 18th July 2013.

Eurostreet and the Italian Health Department – and La Stampa Entirely Misses the Point

It seems worth saying before anything else that La Stampa’s Anna Martellato is a lousy journalist.

In her 19 July 2013 article about the “scandal” caused by the decision of the health department in Mirano (Veneto), Italy, to spend nearly €30,000 to translate the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) into Italian, she gets the name of the Act wrong and misspells Barack Obama’s first name (twice).

Second, both she and Moreno Teso, Veneto Regional Council member, right-wing politician, and would-be whistle-blower, are a pair of jackasses if ever jackasses there were. Their attempt to play “let’s expose government waste” may have started with the shred of a good intention — it is very reasonable to ask why the Mirano health department needed a translation of the Affordable Care Act in Italian in the first place — but neither Teso nor Martellato understands the first thing about translators or the sorry state of the Italian translation market. And they clearly did no research to educate themselves.

If you’re going to complain that a translation cost too much, shouldn’t you first know what translations actually cost?

In fact, the scandal here is not that an Italian government agency spent €29,403 on a translation. The scandal is that the Mirano health department hired Eurostreet of Biella — notorious for its low-quality translations, cut-rate services, and exploitation of translators.

Eurostreet, by the way, is the same agency that won a huge annual contract with the Region of Lombardy for translation and interpreting services in 2010. In short, Italian government agencies are still sending translation work to third-rate translation mills like Eurostreet.

If Moreno Teso wants to investigate something, he should investigate that.

Moreover, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act comes in at just about 387,640 words (for those who think in cartelle — which is the “page” of 1500 keystrokes including spaces that’s commonly used in Italy — the Act contains roughly 1700 standard, non-editorial cartelle).

So let’s do some math. Before Italian taxes, the actual cost of the translation was something like €23,522 and, in fact, that’s about in line with what Eurostreet says it charges its clients for EN>IT translations — €14.50/cartella.

But Eurostreet’s translators, according to an email Eurostreet sent in a recent translator-gigging expedition, receive €11 for a cartella without spaces (an abomination invented by Eurostreet for the sole purpose of fleecing translators). That reduces the translator’s pay by about 15%. Italian taxes take another slice of that pay (20% at least).

To put it in clearer terms, a translator translates 1700 cartelle but gets paid for about 1400 or, on a per-word basis and after taxes, can count on putting barely €0.025/word into his or her pocket.

So what is the upshot? By insisting on using agencies like Eurostreet and Trust Traduzioni (the agency involved in the Ministry of Tourism scandal of early 2010), the Italian government impoverishes translators, stimulates unfair competition, and debases the entire profession.

So we agree. Twenty-nine thousand, four hundred three euros for the translation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is utterly scandalous.

The translator — without the intervention of a greedy agency that paid itself €6,000 for doing nothing — should have earned at least €10,000 more.


July 19, 2013
by Anna Martellato

What does the “Patient Protection and Affordable Act” [sic], the hard-won reform of the American healthcare system and warhorse of U.S. President Barak [sic] Obama, have to do with a local health department office in Mirano (Province of Venice)?

Nothing, truth be told, except for an expensive translation from English to Italian that cost the Mirano branch of the health department – and thus, the Italian national healthcare system – just shy of thirty thousand euros.

The incident was brought to light by Moreno Teso, councilman for the Veneto Region and a member of the center-right Popolo della Libertà party, and reported in the Verona-based newspaper, L’Arena.

Teso presented an official query to the regional council asking for an investigation into the matter. “The [healthcare reform] law is certainly important,” Teso stated in an interview in L’Arena, “a decidedly significant reform of the American healthcare system and one for which President Barak [sic] Obama made an enormous investment of political capital. But the idea that a single local health department in Mirano would spend 29,403 euros to translate it into Italian strikes me as inappropriate at best, especially in a situation in which budget limitations have forced Italian health department offices to reduce even essential services.” So much, in fact, for belt-tightening, spending reviews, cutbacks, and the economic crisis.

For Teso, something doesn’t add up in the decision of the Mirano department of health to hire an agency, Eurostreet di Biella, to translate Obama’s healthcare reform law. Teso wants to know whether the commissioning of translations of legislation passed in other countries is actually a legitimate activity for the Veneto’s local health department offices.

“If it is not,” Teso continued, “the regional council should make a clear determination and, obviously, communicate its finding to the public.”


The original of this article in Italian is here: “Sanità, la riforma di Obama in italiano Spesi 30 mila euro per la traduzione Scoppia la polemica su un’Asl veneta.”

Sometimes They Come Back: Is Eurostreet Seeking Translators or Vu Comprà?

The Eurostreet Società Cooperativa (Via Losana, 13, 13900 – Biella, Italy) is on a new hunting expedition, this time looking for native English speakers it can underpay, undercut, and abuse economically.Their most recent offer, sent in a mass email blast in February 2013 to Italian & English translators culled from a data dump of the Langit City site, is even more reprehensible than usual.

Because “alle volte ci capita di dover rinunciare a lavori importanti perchè non abbiamo abbastanza traduttori di madrelingua Inglese” (“at times, we have to let important projects go because we have too few native-English-speaking translators”), Eurostreet has made a gigantic sacrifice in order to offer … wait for it … 11 lousy Euros per cartella.

But there’s more.

On Planet Eurostreet, a cartella is 1500 keystrokes MINUS THE SPACES. And the offer is BEFORE taxes (which, for Italian freelancers, are now up to around 35%). Oh, and yes, you’ll be required to take a free translation test first.Il Segno di Caino simply cannot understand why Eurostreet is having trouble finding native-English-speaking translators, can you?Not only have things not changed since Il Segno di Caino wrote about Eurostreet three years ago , they’ve evidently gotten much worse.

Eurostreet ’s prices have dropped more than a third from the price list they posted in 2010.How could Eurostreet possibly still be in business? Well, you could write and ask Claudio Ranghino, who is supposedly Eurostreet’s “legal representative” (

When Mr. Ranghino wrote to threaten a lawsuit against the individual who brought Eurostreet’s latest outrageous offer to Il Segno’s attention, however, he promised to sue for “diffamazone” instead of “diffamazione.” So draw your own McConclusions about where he got his McLaw degree. (Actually, an internet search suggests the probability that Mr. Ranghino isn’t a lawyer at all. In that case, he might like to know that impersonating a lawyer is illegal, whereas calling an offerta al ribasso di merda an offerta al ribasso di merda is not.

Meanwhile, if you read Italian and you’re interested in Eurostreet’s extremely inflated opinion of itself, you can find it here in this message offering the agency’s services as language experts to poor, defenseless Italian school children.)In any case, here’s the answer to the above rhetorical question. Eurostreet keeps its doors open because:

a) exactly like other single-celled organisms at the bottom of the food chain, Eurostreet is a perfect fit for customers who don’t mind sifting through mud; and
b) self-harming idiots continue to accept Eurostreet’s translation rates, though they’d be a tough sell even in a third-world country.

Hey, translating for Eurostreet probably beats wandering the piazzas of Italy muttering “Vu comprà?”

Eurostreet clearly has no intention of being ashamed of itself. So let’s shame the translators who work for Eurostreet instead. There’s a word for what they are, and that word is “scabs.”What’s more, if you are a legitimately qualified Italian>English translator, they and Eurostreet have their grubby hands in your pocket.

Are you angry yet?

Really, Hermès? $2,050 for a belt, but your interpreters only get $40 bucks an hour?

In the run-up to the big Hermès Craftsmanship Fair at Union Square in San Francisco in the third week of September, the Salt Lake City, Utah-based agency, Translation One, has been prowling the membership directories of such organizations as the American Translation Association and its affiliate, the Northern California Translators Association, in the search for interpreters without an ounce of self-respect.

Here’s the offer in full:

Because of the number of interpreters and duration of the event, and because they are doing this throughout the United States, in a lot of different locations, the budget is $40/hr, with a $25 per diem for 5 days (not the first day). Please let me know if you’re available and interested. Please note that the client will not be able to pay for travel or accommodation (some of you maybe live too far or you may your own accommodation near San Francisco ). If you are unavailable for this event, would you have some other interpreters to recommend (we need 7, one for each craftsman)?
September 19: 6:00pm-8:00pm Opening Event September 20-24: 11:00am – 6:00pm FOC open to public (please note, craftsmen will only be given 30 minutes for lunch).

Translation: They’re going to be making an enormous amount of money by hosting these Fairs across the U.S. That means they don’t want to miss out on a single penny of possible profit. As a result, they’re offering a pay rate that is, as one professional interpreter put it, “laughable, degrading, beyond human decency!!!”

Not to mention that, in San Francisco, a $25/day per diem (not the first day) will get you lunch or supper (but not both) and a BART ticket, and precious little else. Let’s not even joke about whether you could get a hotel room for that amount.

Translation One is just the latest of the mega- or “wish-we-could-be-mega” agencies (think TransPerfect and its evil spawn) to expect language professionals to eat … well, apparently they don’t expect us to eat at all.

In this particular case, they’re apparently hoping an awful lot of French&gt;English interpreters live right there in San Fran and are going to be willing to hop on MUNI for the unrivaled pleasure of interpreting for seven hours a day (with a half-hour lunch — though how much do you want to bet interpreters don’t even get that?).

So let’s see. If you worked the entire event, you could take home (after taxes) … um, not quite half what it would cost to buy this lovely leather “Collier di Chien” calfskin belt.

For a company as venal as Hermès, this isn’t exactly a surprise. What is surprising is that they found an agency willing to serve as their stateside representative in their project of sticking it to interpreters.

Translation One, in the person of Isabelle Bastian, ought to be ashamed of itself. Write her and tell her so:

As for Hermès and its big-deal Craftsmanship Fair: Why not just take a little stroll out onto Union Square and bring in some of the folks wandering around who don’t have roofs over their heads. They’ll be glad for the $25 per diem, and they’ll probably do better with French than the interpreters you rope in for the insulting amount you’re offering.