7p a word to translate, review and quality check? What have I done!?!?

What have I done!?!?!Very interesting couple of days today. Obviously I can’t mention names or give away too many details but it’s been an eye-opener. Maybe I’m just a little naive – you decide.

A very eminent person contacted us. Not a fabulously wealthy person but one whose name reaches places other names don’t. If I were to tell you who, you’d say, “what, HIM?” And I’d reply, “Yes, HIM”. With a rather self-satisfied air because I had actually come into contact with him.

Anyway, you get the picture. Someone eminent.

He needed a translation done. No urgency but he was going to publish it and, since it would carry HIS name, the quality had to be top, top notch.

We gave our best quote and emphasised that our translator would be one of the best we have, an expert in this field. Our reviewer, similarly, would be another of our top linguists in this field. And we’d do a final, double, double-double quality check in-house to make sure it was super top, top notch quality.

We didn’t get the order.

Why not? We called HIM back to ask.

Despite our emphasis on quality, which was simply an echo of the customer’s needs, we were asking more than the competition. The client, this eminent man, told us he went with a company that was asking 7p per word. The translation was from German to English. The company that won the order allegedly will do a translation, review and quality check. And presumably they’ll make a little profit too. All for 7p per word.

If someone tries to sell you a new BMW for a couple of grand, the alarm bells start going, don’t they? What’s wrong with it? Is it nicked? Whatever it is, you know something’s not quite right.

If Del-boy Trotter tries to sell you a “genuine” Rolex from his rather tatty suitcase “down the market”, you know something’s not right, right?

So when a translation agency promises a high-quality medical translation from German to English, with a professional review by another German-English linguist, followed by an in-house double check, all for 7p per word…

Well, you get the picture.

An experienced, qualified, professional German-English translator – a freelancer, without translation agency overheads and without a reviewer / quality check – will cost a minimum of 6p per word. Good reviewers could ask one third of that (sometimes more) – another 2p. That’s 8p per word without the agency costs let alone any profit for the agency.

Something just doesn’t seem right.


Happy Holidays from all of us


wishes Happy Holidays

to all of our past and future clients

and to all of our colleagues who helped us grow

in 2015

Our offices will remain open except on the dates 24/12 and 25/12/2015, and 01/01 and 06/01/2016.


Season’s greetings 2015

We wish our customers, friends, supporters and colleagues new and old all the best for the holiday season and the new year.

Our offices will remain open over this period to assist you with all your linguistic needs.



IT-EN Translator/Proofreader (ONLY English native speakers)

We want you - Intrawelt is hiring

The in-house position we offer is for our headquarters in central Italy (P.S. Elpidio – FM – Marche region).

The linguist (IT-EN Translator-Proofreader) will look after the internal translation workflow and will coordinate the work of English native freelance translators and proofreaders.

He/she will be responsible for communicating specific detailed instructions to translators and external proofreaders and managing workflows and processes.

He/she is accountable for the final quality assurance of translation activities.


  • Review/Proofread translation projects completed by native English professional translators;
  • Complete small translation projects and provide language assistance (IT-EN) to clients and colleagues;
  • Assess needs for additional information, e.g. compilation of glossaries, previously translated similar documents, list of acronyms, technical terminology, and translation memories;
  • Manage translation teams and linguistic assets to ensure compliance with Intrawelt productions workflows and that quality and turn-arounds standards are met.Exercise sound judgment in keeping supervisor informed of potential difficulties;
  • Inform supervisor of all issues affecting cost, quality and turn-around;
  • Check final accuracy of IT-EN translation projects prior to sending them to client.


  • College degree and degree in Translation and/or interpretation or equivalent experience;
  • Perfect command of English (native language) and Italian plus one, ideally two additional languages to mother tongue standard;
  • Strong computer skills (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Acrobat, html, xml);
  • Familiarity with desktop publishing software (Indesign, QuarkXPress, Framemaker);
  • Language skills to include ability to create glossaries, assess quality and completeness of translations;
  • Advanced translation memory experience (e.g. SDL TRADOS) management;
  • Preferably 1-2 years previous proofreading/translation experience in translation services;
  • Ability to prioritize while handling multiple projects simultaneously in a hectic, time-sensitive environment;
  • Detail and service oriented;
  • Clear sense of accountability.


  • Flexible team player;
  • Superior interpersonal skills;
  • Can mix and relate well to all levels;
  • Demonstrated ability to work well under pressure and unsupervised;
  • Flexibility to work overtime required;
  • Professional demeanour;
  • Focused on goals and the overall team and company objectives;
  • Self-motivated and proactive;
  • Can improvise and innovate;

If you are interested in joining us, please send your cv to inhouse@intrawelt.it

It is possible that due to the large number of applicants, only successful candidates will be informed.

Please only apply if you are interested in the IN-HOUSE position offered for our headquarters in Porto Sant’Elpidio (FM), Marche, Italy.

7 Tips for Learning a New Language

1. Be patient – learning a new language isn’t something that happens overnight, and studies show that nobody can ever be fluent in a language, not even their mother-tongue.



2. Have confidence – you may not know if you’re saying it right or if you’re using the correct person, tense or mood of a verb; but just go for it! Chances are that if you’re wrong someone will correct you and that’s all part of learning!



3. Ask for help – people are often more than happy to help you find the word you’re looking for or works out the meaning of a tricky idiom, just ask! The worse they can say is “no”!



4.Exchange – chances are there’ll always be somebody else who wants to learn your native language as much as you want to learn theirs. Investigate as to whether there are any language tandems in your area, your closest big city or at a nearby university.



5. Explore – go to a country where that language is spoken, preferably to a location less prone to International tourism. Meet the people, experience day-to-day life, and see the local sights!



6. Make it fun – you will often be able to find an extensive range of material that is in the target language; whether it’s watching a film, reading a book, or going to a ballet or an opera, check out the masterpieces of that language and find the ones that you love!



7. Give yourself credit – learning a new language is tough, don’t be too hard on yourself and take it easy! Even learning a new word and how to use it each day is a major achievement!



Speaking the Lingo…

Dialects have existed for many years and in many languages; some languages are known to have more dialects than others, and Italian is certainly up there.

Halfway through the 20th Century, Italian dialects became less prominent due to a series of different factors; families began to replace dialect with standard Italian to communicate amongst themselves and academic staff were required to master standard Italian as this was the language taught in schools. Despite perhaps not being as prominent as they once were, dialects are still present throughout Italy. Italians often switch from dialect to standard Italian, depending on how formal they need to be and who they are talking to. Non-native speakers of Italian have all encountered dialects when travelling in Italy, finding some easier to understand than others. The ones we’ve personally struggled with the most are bergamasco (Bergamo), romanesco (Rome), messinese (Messina, Sicily) and the Veneto dialect.

Regional Italian is a version of standard Italian that is unique to a specific region; mostly spoken, regional Italian is the language used in everyday life. Linguist Tullio De Mauro states that there are four main varieties of regional Italian: the Northern variety, the Tuscan variety, the Roman variety and the Southern variety.

Meanwhile, dialects are not a variation or a derivation of standard Italian; instead, they simply exist alongside it (and existed many years before it). Mostly spoken, rather than written, there are hundreds of Italian dialects and they are often non-intelligible between different regions, as they are often more similar to other European languages than to Italian itself. The La Spezia/Rimini isogloss (an imaginary line that creates a geographic divide between one particular linguistic area and another) divides northern dialects, belonging to western romance languages, and central and southern dialects, belonging to eastern romance languages. To see just how many dialects are used in Italy, have a look at the following map:


As part of working in a linguistically diverse environment, surrounded by colleagues from different regions of Italy, here at Intrawelt we notice a selection of different dialects around us. Some words of the dialetto marchigiano are relatively easy to work out as they are similar to standard Italian; others however are completely undecipherable to other Italians, let alone non-natives!


For example, Italians outside the Marche region might be able to understand these dialectal words:

gambià = cambiare (to change)

pacènsa = pazienza (patience)

trosomarì = rosmarino (rosemary)

arburu = albero (tree)

vusciardo = bugiardo (liar)


Whereas these may prove slightly more difficult to decipher:

mizzù = ubriaco (drunk)

frélla = zanzara (mosquito)

acciaccarelle = nocciole (hazelnuts)

cillittu = uccellino (small bird)

ciucu = piccolo (small)

mandì = tovaglia (tablecloth)

schiantulìn = racemolo d’uva (bunch of grapes)

Dialects can be complicated, but here at Intrawelt we don’t let that phase us! Just like Giacomo Leopardi, our neighbour from Recanati, we appreciate that “a dictionary can embrace only a small part of the vast tapestry of a language”, and we want to embrace all of it!

(Un vocabolario può contenere solo una piccola parte del patrimonio di una lingua). Source: omniglot.com

The Miranda Warning in Spanish

You have the right to a correct translation of your rights! – Tiene el derecho a una traducción correcta de sus derechos

Read more

Intraview 3: CEO Alessandro Potalivo

Alessandro Potalivo, CEO of Intrawelt, takes care of the admin and management of personnel and connects the various parts of the Company. He told us that he’d always imagined creating Intrawelt, but it became a reality on a dreary morning, 26 years ago, 14 January 1991 to be precise.

We conclude our Intraview series on the Intrawelt Blog with our interview with Alessandro, and we take this opportunity to extend our warm wishes for this festive period. See you in 2017!

Harriet: Good Morning Alessandro. In 2016, an important year for Intrawelt, what would you say have been your highlights?

Alessandro: The business has grown in 2016 and there have been some significant events, such as the confirmation of framework agreements with high profile clients which shows us that we’re on the right track, instilling trust and motivation within the whole group.

H: What’s been you greatest challenge this year?

A: The biggest challenge is always the next project we have to do that we still know nothing about! Every client and every project presents a challenge; in terms of timing, management, the high levels of specialisation involved and so on. If, on one hand the nature of the work wears you out mentally with the continuous excitement and tension that it generates and the extreme stress it puts you under, on the other hand it increases our resilience and the professionalism with which we tackle each day of work, weekends included!

H: What do you look for in your employees? And in clients?

A: The majority of our employees have grown with us and over the years they take on our policies and our modus operandi. As a joke, we have coined the term ‘intraweltian’: is a type of alien-linguist that flies through the “word-universe”. Joking aside, I think I share a similar vision of work with the Japanese and I would like my employees to believe in this vision too, I’d like them to see the company as an integral part of their lives (and in reality a lot of them do!), but I know that that’s asking too much. From clients, I ask for loyalty and a win-win relationship, once this is established we’ll do anything to meet their demands.

H: How have work methods changed within the company with the arrival of new technology?

A: In 25 years I’ve seen an incredible evolution in our profession and I’ve noticed that only those who have adapted and accepted the new technology, combining it with their linguistic skills (which are essential) have been able to successfully remain in business. Technology will always help, but the expertise of a linguist will remain vital in order to apply the tools that become more powerful every day.

H: Among the achievements and goals you’ve reached, which are you most proud of?

A: Our client portfolio is one of the feathers in our cap, a sign of our reputation within the industry (which at times even surprises me!) and I’m very proud of our group of colleagues, from the sales team, the project managers and IT managers, to those in charge of administration, that make all of this possible.

H: And what are your hopes for 2017?

A: I hope to continue down the path set out in 2016, to introduce new job roles within the team and to strengthen it in various ways, and increase our visibility abroad.

H: If you had to choose three words to describe yourself, in any language, which would you choose and why?

A: I’d choose Italian because it’s my mother tongue, even though at times it’s flawed due to being such a traveller; but I have a profound respect for my language and my country. If I had to choose three adjectives to define myself, I’d say pragmatic, resilient and determined; although some might say laid-back, lucky and stubborn! But that’s just the haters; it’s a well known fact that fortune favours the bold!

A Healthy Office

“Take a deep breath in through your nose, counting to 4 as you go. Hold. Now breathe out, again, counting to four. Repeat another 3 times. Now imagine you are lying on a warm surface. Not so hot that it’s uncomfortable, but just the right temperature. You stretch out and feel nothing but silky fabric in your surroundings. Everything is light and bright. You lay there. Then, you realise you are not on a surface, but you are floating. Floating through a sea of clouds…”

Now, wouldn’t it be great if life could be that relaxing ALL the time?

Anyone who works in an office knows how tough it can be on your health; whether it is diet, posture, or staying active physically and mentally, office life is not always as easy as it seems. Translators, freelance or in-house spend at least 8.5 hours a day working at a computer screen and most likely sat down. So, with so much time in the office, which are the best ways to be on tip-top translator form?

Intrawelt has compiled some of our favourite tips and tricks on how to keep healthy at work. We have consulted the NHS website and put together some recommendations that we think will help to maintain physical and mental wellbeing.


If you are short on time, why not try a 10-minute workout?

“Equipment-free fitness routines; great for at home and short enough have time to do them. Try to do one routine daily to improve your health and strengthen different muscle groups.”

10-minute workouts – Live Well – NHS Choices

Pain in the… back? How about the “Back pain pilates workout

“Improve posture and the strength and flexibility of the muscles that support the back.

Regular pilates practice can help improve posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility, as well as relieve stress and tension.”

Chronic back pain pilates video workout – NHS Fitness Studio – NHS Choices

For neck stiffness and pain, you could try this:

Neck stretches: gently lower your left ear towards your left shoulder. Hold for 10-15 deep breaths. Repeat on opposite side.

Neck rotations: slowly turn your chin towards one shoulder. Hold for 10-15 deep breaths. Repeat on opposite side.


– all information was acquired through the NHS website http://www.nhs.uk/

– cover photo from Wikimedia Commons

Merry Christ Xmas!

Perhaps the sight of this nifty, festive abbreviation makes you want to get your red marker pen out. Alternatively, you might be suspicious that it’s an attempt to secularise Christmas (similar to sometimes unpopular modern greetings such as ‘happy holidays’). However, the use of this little x goes back much further than a millennial attempt to make Christmas sleeker and secular.

Sources tell us that the first appearance of the word Xmas dates back to the 11th century, if you consider ‘XPmas’ to be a variant of the modern Xmas. Anglo-Saxon scribes needed to save space when using expensive parchment and XP was a convenient abbreviation for Christ. Why? Because in Greek, Chi and Rho are the first two letters of ???????. Even if that’s all Greek to you, I’m sure you have guessed, the translation is Christos, or Christ. The XP (Chi-Rho) sign was also emblazoned on military banners by Christian Roman emperor Constantine I for use in war.

So, that is arguably the early etymology of Xmas. Usage of the word with the spelling as we know it today can be traced back to the 18th century. It is found in various books and letters, including works by Lord Byron, Samuel Coleridge and even children’s author Lewis Carroll. It was included in the American Royal Standard English Dictionary in 1800, where it was listed as an abbreviation for Christmas. Use of Xmas from the 19th century onwards has echoed the 11th century scholars’ need for concision, having predominately been used in marketing contexts and on greeting cards, where space is often limited. This is perhaps where the discomfort of some Christians stems from; the association of this word with marketing and commodification.

However, when you’re ringing in the Yuletide and decking the halls with boughs of holly, you can rest assured that Xmas is a very ancient and distinguished word indeed, and there is etymologically more Christ in it than people may realise!