This month, with Blue Heron poking its fingers deep in my pockets, I had to alter my approach to translations a little bit.

Originally, I had intended on asking Audra DeFalco to translate my documents. When she gave me the estimate, it was more expensive than I hadexpected. However,  I’m compelled to tell you some wonderful things about Audra even though I eventually ended up using a different translator.

From the beginning of this process, I’ve been writing emails back and forth with Audra. After I initially found her through her website, she has been patiently waiting to help me with translation, and during the entire process, has given me lots of conversational tidbits about the Italian Dual Citizenship process. I never got to see her translation of my documents, but I have nothing but positive notions of Audra’s customer service. I feel positively deplorable for cultivating a professional relationship, if not a friendship, with Audra for the past few years and having to back out on price point. She was more than willing to negotiate, and I am sure we could have met a very reasonable number, but I didn’t want to insult her resume by asking her to concede.

Like roofing a house, translating your documents can be done in a few different ways for different price levels. But the quality of the work has a correlation to the costs. According to the Philadelphia consulate (I can’t speak for other ones, and they certainly all do things differently), they will accept translations from any source; there is no official translator that you must use. So if you have a knack for Italian, a friend who owes you a favor, or feel like gambling with Google Translator or BabelFish, there is nothing to stop you from trying to get it done yourself. However, the consulates are picky, and if you catch your case-worker on the wrong day, they may find a discrepancy that will force you to try again, wasting time and resources, if not money.

A great resource for me was the Italian Dual Citizenship Message Board on MyItalianCitizenship.com. For all steps, this is a helpful place to look for first-person accounts of how this process actually goes. It’s one of the most active, comprehensive, and longest-running forums about dual citizenship, and is a great tool for you to use. Something I found helpful was to read the experiences that people had at my consulate; this lets you get a glimpse on what to expect, areas where they may be flexible, and areas where they may be critical. Post after post, I found that individuals who have successfully completed this process in Philadelphia used Gabriella Einaga as their translator, so I shot her an email through her TranslatorCafe.com page (another awesome website) and got a very reasonable quotation: $260 for a total of 17 documents (19 pages). Or, roughly $14/page.

Gabriella sent me a proofing document with highlighted areas were she found the text illegible. I tried to look them over, but most of these instances were signatures or other scribbled text that was impossible to read. So I did my best to guess, and figured that if myself and a professional translator couldn’t figure it out, the consulate probably wouldn’t either. Gabriella also had the faith in me to send the translations urgently for my consulate appointment, hoping that I’d pay her invoice later (which I totally did).

So, for the sake of those reading this to help you in your process, here is my advice in translations:

  • Translations are an investment. Stop and think about your choice. I don’t advise that you pay your neighbor’s kid who took Italian in high school a few hundred bucks to take a stab at it. Pay someone with a resume and passion for this stuff.
  • Know what you are getting. Ask for samples, templates, an experience list, etc. This is certainly skilled labor, so don’t be embarassed to request resumes, testimonials or whatever else you think will make you confident in your decision.
  • I’ll talk about this in greater detail in the following post, but make sure you have a good understanding of what needs translated. I erred on the side of caution, but you probably don’t need your non-Italian family members’ documents at all, much less apostilled and translated.

I wish to personally thank both Audra and Gabriella for their cheerful support of this process, and emphatically recommend both of them.

Total cost of this step: $260.00

Total cost so far: $621.00