Some fourteen months ago, the TranslatorLeaks site published an article entitled “Orbe and Manta Translations: Walks, Quacks, & Swims Like a Scam, and ProZ is Helping!”
In it, TranslatorLeaks criticized BOTH the Argentinian translation agency, Manta/Orbe (which also operates extensively in Italy), for its low rates and recruitment practices AND the complicity of ProZ in refusing (as it still does) to support translators by keeping market-busting agencies off its Jobs Board.
As TranslatorLeaks reports – in its original 10 November 2013 post and in a follow-up, “Manta/Orbe Translations – Methinks He Doth Protest Too Much,” published on 16 December 2014 – the information TranslatorLeaks reported was based on information received from individual translators, on internet sites and forums that discussed Manta/Orbe, and on copies of Manta/Orbe communications sent privately to TranslatorLeaks at the time.
Over the past few months, however, Manta/Orbe’s “Executive Project Manager” Giullermo Chiosso has been engaged in a war of bullying, intimidation, threats of lawsuits, and outright harassment. Mr. Chiosso’s position is that TranslatorLeaks’ reporting is all a lie and that “never before [the TranslatorLeaks article] had anybody talked negatively about us.”
If lies are the question, that’s a big one. In fact, as TranslatorLeaks makes clear, translators were raising questions about Manta/Orbe before TranslatorLeaks’ first article. (See, e.g., this screen capture — click to enlarge.)
But Mr. Chiosso’s attacks have not been aimed primarily at TranslatorLeaks. Rather, they are directed against Aurora Humarán, the President of the Argentina-based International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI).
What does Ms. Humarán have to do with anything? Nothing, actually, but Mr. Chiosso has convinced himself – on the basis of zero evidence – that Ms. Humarán is the secret voice behind TranslatorLeaks and that she targeted Manta/Orbe out of professional jealousy (or because of some other conspiracy-minded motive that makes little logical sense).
In January 2015, in fact, Mr. Chiosso opened a WordPress blog that has one single post. In that post, Mr. Chiosso accuses Aurora Humarán of being a “Professional Paid Slanderer.” (It’s worth noting, just to give you an idea of the caliber of the individual in question, that the original title of the post, before Mr. Chiosso realized Ms. Humarán was not actually employed in the weight-loss industry, was “Proffessional Paid Slenderer.”)
In other words, because he objects to what he claims is libel, Giullermo Chiosso is now engaged in libel.
The truth is that, like a lot of agencies, especially in Argentina, Manta/Orbe pays peanuts. Mr. Chiosso does not deny this fact; he simply wants to prevent anyone from saying so in public.
For its part, TranslatorLeaks has promised Mr. Chiosso it would publish Manta/Orbe’s actual rates if, in fact, TranslatorLeaks’ claims were proven wrong. He has refused to respond and, in the meantime, TranslatorLeaks received a copy of an email sent to a translator who responded to a Manta/Orbe solicitation. In it, the following rates are listed:
Traducción + Corrección/Proofreading incluido. // Translation + Editing/Proofreading included
USD 0,04* 0,34 ARS/palabra)
Solo Traducción – Translation only (!)
USD 0,02/ palabra ( = 0,17 ARS/palabra)
Solo Corrección/ Proofreading – Editing/Proof only
USD 0,015 0,13 ARS /palabra)
No Peanuts! has also been sent a copy of an email in which a translator relates that Mr. Chiosso encouraged her to accept work into a language she didn’t know. It wouldn’t matter, he allegedly wrote her, because that way “she could learn.” If she accepted, of course, he would pay even less because it would be “on-the-job training.”
Mr. Chiosso’s email and web campaigns against Ms. Humarán have, since they began, helped introduce 4,252 readers (as of this writing) to TranslatorLeaks’ posts on Manta/Orbe. That’s not counting reblogs and reposts on Facebook and other social media.
From the perspective of giving translators useful information about Manta/Orbe, then, Mr. Chiosso has done TranslatorLeaks an enormous favor.
From Ms. Humarán’s perspective, as she tells No Peanuts!, Mr. Chiosso’s bullying means that she has had to hire a lawyer to respond to his allegations and may yet be forced to go to court.
Although TranslatorLeaks assures us (and has repeatedly told Mr. Chiosso) that Ms. Humarán did not write the articles in question, Mr. Chiosso nonetheless sent a letter to every single IAPTI that repeated his false allegations against Ms. Humarán.
Although TranslatorLeaks has told Mr. Chiosso that concerns about Manta/Orbe were being raised BEFORE it published its first article on 10 November 2013, Mr. Chiosso refuses to accept this information.
The vital principle at stake is whether translators have the right to identify low-paying agencies, to maintain blacklists, and to share information among themselves regarding unprofessional practices and unfavorable working conditions.
Clearly, no translation agency that pays below market rates or engages in questionable business practices wants translators and interpreters to share that information with their colleagues.
But saying the truth isn’t slander. Writing the truth isn’t libel.
Aurora Humarán needs the support of language professionals because she has been falsely accused.
We need each other’s support if we want to continue to able to share and disseminate accurate information that matters to our working lives.
Nolite te bullies carborundorum.