Calling all wanna-be translators. Don’t miss your chance to get in on the ground floor of a real publishing endeavor!
Here’s how it works. You pay us €160 (about $220 US) to attend a “Literary Translation” meeting where we tell you all about the publishing industry and your new role in it.
Then we give you a test translation that you can do at home. If you pass the test, maybe we’ll assign you a book. Later on, we’ll pay you in royalties.
Sounds great, huh!?!?!
No, it doesn’t. It sounds like a scam — which is exactly what it is. Let’s … um … translate:
You pay us €160. Then you translate a book for free. If it sells, you might see a few euro. If we don’t promote it, or we decide not to publish it, or if it’s just not a very good book … oh well. You’re out €160 and several months of work, and we’re out … nothing. (All Faligi’s books are e-books. This guarantees not only that production costs are minimal, but that sales — of books by largely unknown authors and wholly unknown translators — will be equally minimal.)
In the fishing expedition that Faligi is currently engaged in via mass email (a semi-annual event), Faligi’s unnamed “Redazione” (Editorial Department) seeks:
— native Italian speakers who have studied foreign languages or translation; native speakers (and/or those who have lived abroad) who have a literary manuscript in mind that they’d like to translate); and young people with no experience, including university students;
— native speakers of other languages who translate from Italian. In this case, Faligi requires no university degree of any kind as long as you have “good experience” with the Italian language acquired in Italy.
In other words: If you want to be a translator, all you need is “passione“ (on this topic, see “Please Stop Talking About Art!”), a readiness to be exploited like an undocumented nanny … and a spare €160.
So how come hundreds of would-be translators are falling for it? How come Faligi has 1664 “Friends” on its Facebook page?
For two reasons. First, desperation among young Italian would-be translators who have no concept of professionalism and who would do “anything” to get something on their résumés. And second, because there is no limit to the amount of self-harm human beings are willing to inflict upon themselves (aka “ignorance is bliss”).
But hey: Faligi Editore is just doing its business thing, right? Why get all bent out of shape about it?
Because this. Let’s imagine that Faligi Editore had come along and knocked on your door instead. The sales person offers a magic ticket that costs a mere €160. That €160 entitles you to work for free for several hours as a test. If you pass, you can then spend 1-3 months of your life doing more work for free, at which point your magic ticket will be thrown into a pot. Someday maybe they’ll draw it out. You could win something. No guarantees, though.
If that happened, we’d call the police and have the scammers arrested for fraud.
In this case, you can “like” them on Facebook.
And that about sums up the difference between real life and Il Favoloso Mondo/Le Fabuleux Destin/Die Fabelhafte Welt of translation.
— No Peanuts! for Translators