“Cheap labor has always been the advantage of Asian garments”

Italian clothing brand Alcott’s owner Mr. Salvatore Colella talks about their business, reasons behind doing business with Asian garments and how it affects the bringing a betterment in the relation between countries.

Alcott was born in 1988 from a great idea: to offer a product of trend and quality, at an economic price, so that the fashion was accessible to all. The ambitious business project collected in the years a great success, placing Alcott among the first Italian brand in the fast fashion retail sector. With the Alcott and Alcott Los Angeles brands, the company is present today with more than 150 outlets worldwide.

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What are the main reasons for choosing Asia for manufacturing garments? The current global apparel market is valued over $3000 billion, which is about 2% of world’s GDP. There are over 25 million people involved directly or indirectly with apparel manufacturing and over 60% are from Asia. The garment manufacturing in a collective way started in Asia in about 1950 in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong. American companies were producing in there in selling in USA. Since then the industry spread in all over Asia for good number of workplace, cheap and qualified work force, quality products, mass production capacity and national focus.

Is that why you started doing business with Asian manufacturers? “Of course. To fulfill our production capacity with the best possible price and quality we chose Asia as our no.1 manufacturing continent.”

What is the current production and economic status of Alcott? Alcott currently produce their 70% of the garments in Bangladesh and the rest 30% is spread amongst China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Korea and Turkey including some Italy also. And for the record in 2015-16 the company’s turnover was $250 million.

What kind of problems are you facing nowadays? Our company sometimes face the transit time and shipping problems. As our main production country is Bangladesh, it takes about 30-35 days to reach the garments to reach Italy. We face port conjestion 3-4 times every year in Bangladesh. And sometimes we face problems for strikes when the production factory work but outside movement is not possible for the shipping.

Do you think it is strengthening the relation between countries? “You see, Alcott is now importing about $100 million from Bangladesh and other Asian countries. As we are a growing company and our focus on importing garments from Bangladesh is very promising. So, yes. I think the relation between the countries is strengthening through economic growth.

How do you feel about the workers in Bangladesh and what type of relation do you have with them? And what differences do you spot between the employees of Italy and Bangladesh? There is a significant difference between the employees in Italy and Bangladesh. In our company, all employees are under Italian and EU regulations. On the hand in Bangladesh the employees are working Bangladeshi and ILO regulations. We can not actually compare this two stages of people. Italy is a developed country and Bangladesh is one the fastest growing countries.

So do you like doing business with Bangladesh? “Absolutely. We are very happy doing business in Bangladesh. Actually the production percentage of our company shows it all whether we like doing business with Bangladesh or not.”

Has there been any change in your market? Since the starting of our company, we were importing mainly from China. But over the past few years Chinese garments industry and fashion moved too high and became too expensive. So we had to go to Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan etc. In coming future there will be no changing unless we face a serious problem in Bangladesh.

Is the company’s purpose connected to you own? “Yes. 100% percent. But if you see broadly, our business ultimately helps our country’s economic growth.” Our company creates work opportunity not only in Italy but also in Bangladesh. Actually more Bangladeshi workers are earning their livelihood than our company’s employees. “Look, while focusing at our own profit, we kind of help balancing economic status is both countries.”

 

INTERVIEW HAS BEEN CONDENSED AND EDITED.

Interview

Xiaomei Huáng is a Chinese origin journalist graduated in journalism and holder of a master’s degree in communication of organizations to which I decided to interview for this work because it cost me a lot to find someone appropriate.

+ Why did you decide to study in Spain?

  • At first I tried to access to a very good Chinese university but could not because of the vast amount of competition there. The problem there is that in a thousand requests are accepted twenty or less.
  • That’s the reason why I came here.

+ What helped with the paperwork in Spain?

  • I came with the help of anagency dedicated to helping Chinese students to come to Spain to study.
  • They solve problems as requesting an university and when you get to Spain they locates you a language center, a student’s residence and arrange your papers.

+ Why do you think there are so many Chinese people studying a master’s degree in Spain?

  • Because it is very easy to apply for the master here, they do not have manyneeds and if you come from a bad Chinese university you can do it likewise.

It is easier to access than in China.

+ Do you know other ways to come from to Spain from China to study?

  • For example bystudent exchange or for a doctorate.

+ Why did you choose to study journalism?

  • I chose it overcoat to improve the Spanish.
  • I did the communication of organizations master’s degree because when I was in the career I realized that this was the area that I liked the most.
  • I also think that today it is easier to get a job with a master’s degree than only with an university’s degree.

+ What do you do when you finish studying here?

  • I want to go back to China and work in a multinational company.

+ Does Studying in Spain increases your chances of finding work?

  • Honestly I’m not sure but I think at least I can work in a company with different

+ What would you advise a Chinese student coming to Spain?

  • Is a very a good experience and the only bad thing is that youhave to come back to China.

 

In conclusion I like to say this cost me a lot becouse I couldn’t find any appropiate person for the interview and the person I have found couldn’t answer me more questions. I would have liked to make a more interesting and a bigger interview but this is the best I could find.

 

Interview realized by Carlos Diez Fortes

Pilar Tello, the woman behind a worldwide phenomenom

I’m sure that the majority of you know the name of your favourite writer, but, have you ever thought the amount of people that are involved in the creation of a book? Yes, the writer is the most important one, without them the book wouldn’t even exist in the first place but…what about the rest of them? Today I am going to talk about the collective of amazing people that change any book written in another language, to the one that the reader uses to communicate: the translators. And for that, I have interviewed Pilar Ramírez Tello, the translator to Spanish of huge trilogies such as The Hunger Games or Divergent.

When Pilar finished high school she did not have any vocation for anything, she did not like any of the degrees, so as she liked read and write, she tried to find something related to it. At first, she thought in Journalism but she finally opted to the degree of Translation since she had received English lessons when she was little. When doing the degree, she discovered that she liked the translation process, either being a book or a technical manual.

She told me that she started working in an agency where she did a bit of everything. Then, she worked in an enterprise specialized in document management where she has the chance of collaborating on the translation of bilingual specialized dictionaries. Also, she worked in the translation department of an engineering enterprise. As a fact, meanwhile she was working on the engineering enterprise, she started her literary translation.

When talking about the reason of why the job of translators it is not as much valuable as it should, she said that “right now, we bet for visibility”. This one is the reason of why the campaign Acredítame has been created. This campaign asks media to mention the translators of the books that they make reviews to. The idea is to make people more aware of the existence of translator, so it will be easier to make this profession valuable, “believe it or not, there are people that do not even take into account that, for example, Veronica Roth does not write in Spanish.”

Pilar thinks that she had just good luck when the editorial chose her to translate sagas, as huge as for example, The Hunger Games or Divergent. “When the rights of translation of The Hunger Games were bought for Spain, the trilogy was not the smash hit in which it would become later”. In that time Pilar had already translated enough fantasy, science-fiction and youth literature books, so, at the time of looking for someone with experience in that field, they found her. But with Divergent was different as the editorial already knew her.

When I asked her about how it was to be the translator of Spanish trilogies that have succeeded that much, she told me that “at the beginning it made her head spin.” And, when the books that she translated were read by more and more people, the feeling of responsibility and scare appeared since a lot of people could see her mistakes.

“When Mockingjay arrived I could only talk about it with the RBA’s person in charge of press”, she said, speaking when about the third part of The Hunger Games. She also added, “the last pages were not sent from the U.S. editorial until the last time, before I had already the rest of the book translated, because of the fear of it being leaked.” As the editorial wanted to publish at the same time both original version and Spanish version, she had to translate it in twenty days and the last few pages were sent via regular email to avoid other translations or leaks. So, it was necessary to sign a confidentiality agreement.

“For me, neologisms are the most difficult and entertaining thing of translating fantasy and science-fiction novels”, she responded when I asked her about the translation of mockingjay as sinsajo. She added that when they find a term that they do not know anything about, the first thing they do is to research to get a conclusion. Once they are sure that the term has been invented by the author, they have to look for the process that the author has followed to invent it. In the case of mockingjay, she started by analysing the word jabberjay, the term in the original version which makes reference to a man-made bird created to keep an eye on the citizens of the districts. “A jay is a real bird and its equivalent in Spanish is arrendajo. And jabber is a verb that means farfullar. Nevertheless, for an aesthetic question, after have been looking for synonyms, I used the verb charlar.” As a result, jabberjay was translated as charlajo. “When all jabberjays or charlajos were released, as all of them were male, it was supposed that they could not reproduce. But they get to survive and they mated with female mockingbirds, which in Spanish are sinsontes”, she added to explain how the word sinsajo was created: sinsonte and charlajo together make up sinsajo in Spanish. 

Pilar has shown me the great importance of translators and the pressure they have to bear when it comes to the deadline. People should be more aware of what translators have to face every day and value their relevant job. My future job.

 

Made by María Martínez Lorenzo

 

 

Interview to an European in NY

B. C. is an European young photographer who lives nowadays in New York. She has a great and varied heritage: Her parents are both Cuban, who met when they studied in Russia, and there she was born. So was born in Russia, then moved to Portugal when she was 6, and later, when she was 19, she moved again to Spain to study a degree on Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Then she traveled to Estonia as part of the Erasmus Exchange Program. She travelled then to California, where she finished her studies. She lived in Miami for a while, and finally she moved to NY, where she has been living for one year, four years in the States. Now she works at a company of entertaining news.

She has travelled a lot, and she has met a lot of different cultures, which I found really interesting to interview. During our interview, B.C. explained how did it feel to live in the States, and in New York. As she said, places like California and New York are the most representative places because of their different cultures and nationalities. There you get to know people from all over the world, unlike in the center of the USA, where there are only Americans. In New York, the people is very open-minded. In Europe,  she felt a bit alien because there aren’t a lot of people who has moved as much as she did, but in New York there is a lot of people who has lived in a lot of different places, which makes her feel very normal.

I was interested too in the perspective of an European, who has spent quite a lot of year living in the USA, about the political campaign there. From her point of view, it feels a bit crazy, all this Trump stuff. The first thing that surprises her is that she doesn’t really know any Trump supporters, there in New York. “I think people who has access to a minimum  education, that have access to university, know that Trump is not a good candidate for the US presidency. Even though he has a lot of people supporting him. That surprised me because half the country seem to like Trump.” Also, it seems that there is some people who would vote for Trump just because they don’t like Hillary. “The thing is, I think, that a lot of people hate Trump, but there’s a lot of people who hate Hillary too, and that scares me, because I know people who like Bernie Sanders, and that tell me that if he doesn’t win for the democrats, they will vote for Trump, because they’d rather vote for Trump, since they don’t like Hillary.

She also told me a bit about the current situation of the campaign and the ideas and measures Trump is proposing if he achieves to become the next president of the USA. “Well, I think next week is important for the campaign, because California is voting, and there is quite a lot of people in California, so it’s kind of decisive, it can make Hillary win for the democrats or, well, I think if Trump wins, I’ll come back to Europe” She speaks then about how racist are Trump’s measures. “The measures Trump want to implement are very very racist, like the thing about the Muslims, that he wants to control them and stuff, I don’t know, it’s like every week he has something horrible to say. It is quite incredible, because I think at first everyone thought Trump’s candidature was kind of a joke, and that would last for, like, two or three months… Now you can see in the polls Trump’s results very close to Hillary’s and, I don’t know, it worries me a lot because there exists the possibility of Trump actually becoming president.”

Finally, B. told me about her view of the European people and their point of view of the political campaign of the USA. She said that there is a lot of people in Europe that can’t see yet how worrying this issue is, since it isn’t their country and they feel too far away, but the United States of America are a powerful country, whose president is very important too, and what happens there is definitely affecting the whole world.

By Alejandro Conesa Martínez

A short trip into an Embassy: interview with Anna Ruffino

Anna Ruffino is an Italian young woman who has become the First Secretary of the Consular Chancery of the Embassy of Italy in Madrid after passing all the different and difficult stages of the open competitive exam which is organized, every year, by the Italian Foreign Ministry.

Being the First Secretary of the Consular Chancery of the Embassy entails having a great variety of tasks to execute, the majority of which are the same that, in Italy, are carried out by each municipality and especially by the general register office. So, as Anna Ruffino explained me, her work consists in providing Italian citizens, who are living in Madrid, with all the documents and services they need (ID card renewal, passport, fiscal code, possibility to vote from another country, pensions, registration of a change in the marital status and assistance to the victim’s family in case an Italian citizen dies on Spanish territory). In particular, this final aspect of her work is, for Anna Ruffino, the most difficult but, at the same time, the most gratifying. In her words:

“I know that it means facing difficult and really painful situations and tragedies, but knowing that, in some way, you are helping and supporting them by dealing with all the bureaucratic aspects they are not certainly thinking of in such a situation, makes you feel really helpful and useful.”

For example, she has given assistance to the families of the seven Italian Erasmus students who died in Valencia the last 20th March because of the bus on which they were travelling had an accident.

Talking about how to start working for an embassy she explained me that, if someone is interested in starting a career in an embassy the first thing he/she should have is a master degree either in international relationship, law or economics and a very good knowledge of English. Then, he/she must undergo to the five written tests and an oral exam which made up the competitive exam; if the candidate manages to pass all the tests he/she can become Legazione Secretary. When someone decides to work in an embassy, he/she should also be willing to spend two years abroad and after his/her mandate has come to an end he/she can return in Italy and working in the Italian Foreign Ministry, called Farnesina, or in another Italian embassy.

As regards the structure of the Italian Embassy of Madrid it has different offices, the political, cultural, economic, scientific and security one, each of which with its specific function. In particular, I have decided to focus my interview with Anna Ruffino on the cultural issues and projects the Italian Embassy of Madrid carries out. The cultural office is responsible for the coordination of all those events related to the Italian culture which are organized by the public authorities in Madrid and especially by the Italian Institutes of Culture. Moreover, the cultural office improves and promotes the relationships with the Spanish cultural institutions, foundations and universities with a special consideration for Italian studies. With this regard,

“a very interesting thing to know is that in Spain there are two Italian state schools (from kindergarten to high school) of the eight existing all over the world; one of these is in Madrid and other one is in Barcelona”.

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An Interview with Irina Feldman

My name is Pablo Llamas Aparicio and I am a first-year student of Translation at the UEM. On June 9, 2016, I had the privilege of interviewing Professor Irina Feldman, who teaches Spanish language and Latin American literature at Middlebury College, in Vermont, United States. I thought it could be interesting to know the opinion of someone who lives in a state that usually remains unnoticed for Europeans in comparison to some of the states where we get the idea that everything seems to happen. On top of that, being born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Ms. Feldman’s own intercultural experience only added spice to this amazing interview.

First, it seemed a good idea to me that Ms. Feldman introduced herself to my readers. She told me that she had moved to the U.S. when she was fifteen years old, short after the U.S.S.R. had dissolved, because her mother –a single mother- was not sure of whether it would be possible for them to live safely in Russia during the transition. After a period of time during which she was not precisely infatuated with the States, Ms. Feldman took her high education in Georgetown, Washington D.C. and graduated in Hispanic literature. After living a couple of years in South America, she got a job in Middlebury College. She explained me that her research focuses on left-winged movements in South America, as well as the authors of those movements, especially in the Andean area (Bolivia, Peru…).

My next question to her was about the origin of her interest on Hispanic literature, given that she was born in Russia and works in the United States. She confessed me that one major factor was the fact that she did not really like the English language when she moved to the U.S. or the country itself, for that matter. She also told me that she had had wonderful Spanish teachers when she was in high school and later at college. She had had really positive experiences with teachers and professors from Spain, so she started studying Peninsularists, that is studies on the Iberian Peninsula, and she was highly interested on Medieval Spain. However, once she got in contact with studies on Latin America, she finally made up her mind and started focusing her studies on Latin America.

Wanting to know more details about what made her like the Hispanic literature so much, I asked her whether Hispanic literature had traditionally had a big impact on the Russian culture, as well as the American. To that question, she answered that actually, it had a great impact on the Soviet culture, when she was young. In that time, the classics from the Golden Age of the Spanish literature, like Cervantes or Lope de Vega, were indeed very famous in Russia. She told me that her first contact with the Spanish literature came when she was young and lived in Russia. She would read all these classics that are so important for the history of Spanish culture and literature. She also told me about a Russian-made movie of El Quijote, saying that it was “a very impressive movie.” As for Latin American literature, she answered that both in Russia and the U.S. it was famous for “the Boom” of authors like Gabriel García Márquez or Mario Vargas Llosa. However, she expressed her disappointment on the newer generations of students in the U.S. due to their little knowledge on Hispanic literature, even in the case of her own students at the very beginning of their degrees.

Next, I thought it was time we spoke about current affairs. Laughing, Ms. Feldman said that she could already guess what I was going to ask her (and she happened to be right). First, given that only two days before, Hillary Clinton had become the first woman to be an official candidate to the U.S. presidential elections, I asked Ms. Feldman why she thought Clinton received so much supporting from the U.S. citizens. She explained that Vermont is a state that traditionally votes as much to the left as it can. So then, she asks, why does Hillary Clinton receive so much supporting? In her opinion, Hillary’s popularity has been supported by her relation with former president Bill Clinton. She thinks that Hillary’s stand on immigration is not progressive, but she receives so much supporting because people think of Hillary as a professional who knows what she is doing. However, according to Ms. Feldman, Hillary’s presidency would not mean the revolutionary change that a lot of people seem to ask for.

When asked about Donald Trump, she answered that it was completely the other way round: people think of Trump as an anti-establishment candidate. From what she told me, a lot of people seem to believe that because Trump is so rich, he will not accept bribes. People, Ms. Feldman says, are sick of the system, they think that the government does not represent the people, they think that the state is corrupted by the big money, and want someone who can change the game. She, however, thinks that these people are wrong. She can’t see the logic behind the bribes argument, and sees Trump as the main example of the decay of the political system in the U.S.

Republic of Colombia, between FARC and a countrie

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   Loeb, S. (2016) The peace process between Farc and Colombia. Retrivied from:  http://mundo.sputniknews.com/americalatina/20160204/1056386647/colombia-farc-santos-teme-sabotaje-proceso-paz.html 

 

The Republic of Colombia is located in the northwestern region of South America, is comprised of a unitary, social and democratic state and has a presidential government, whose current president is Juan Manuel Santos, in turn President Santos enters into new talks peace between the Government of Colombia and armed groups ( “Guerrillas”) in Havana (Cuba), initiated in the early years of former president Andres Pastrana Arango since 1998, meetings between both sides already passed a first test in meetings Oslo (Norway) and now for the second time in Havana (Cuba).
On 27 May 1964 the government of Colombia launched a military operation to conquer a zone of communist influence in the central west of the country. Manuel Marulanda Velez and 47 other men, fled and fought creating the tenth world’s most dangerous terrorist group of guerrilla character self-proclaimed Marxist-lenista operating in Colombia and in the border area with Venezuela, better known as the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces from Colombia).
There are many rumors that the armed group FARC, was giving space for dialogue because of their lack of resources as weapons, medical supplies and etc. not having as get the new measures to combat drug trafficking in Colombia often linked to the guerrillas that group. The government of Juan Manuel Santos remains steadfast against the threat of the armed group and does not rule out further attacks while peace meetings continue.
The reasons are still fighting for peace in Colombia, they are directly related to the 50 years that meets the FARC group, known by many as “Fifty years on fear of FARC” years of murder, kidnapping, robbery, businesses and illicit smuggling, all obviously denied by the leaders of the armed movement. The peace talks in Cuba will not take into account the crimes of the past five decades, since according to the organizers of this important event, it is important to spend every chapter at a time, but will participate in these meetings last May 13, members and victims of group. Negotiations are at a slow pace but optimistic, President Juan Manuel Santos is flexible and gives some requests to one of the leaders of the FARC (Timoleon Jimenez), the population of Colombia does not have direct access to treaties until they finish. The armed group as data grows every year and fear of a significant surge makes peace agreements as quickly as possible be resolved:

 

Table 1: The FARC’s Growth from 1986 to 1995
Year Number of fronts Number of members
1986 32 3,600
1995 60 7,000

n.d.a., Growth in FARC .Retrivead from : https://www.tni.org/es/node/1464

 

We know about Colombia?
Through an interview with the Minister Plenipotentiary (Juan Manuel Uribe Robledo) of Colombia in Spain, performed by students of the Universidad Europea de Madrid can consist with legitimate information echo that the problem in Colombia as it would in any other State, he goes there in fighting a country against a specific group, geographical and historical issues Moldan present of Colombia, and the main problem we have to popular dissatisfaction according to the Minister, does not advance for results while the the State- “five years is too much for one life, five years for the state, few steps” -Colombia is among the 6 most unequal countries in Latin America and has one of the strongest industries, despite that, has problems such as the fight against unwanted traffic and mobility within its borders is inevitable.
According to UNHCR (The UN agency refugee) in Colombia more than 330,000 Colombians have fled the country because of the last 50 years of internal conflict, seeking asylum, and many to not get it, do not continue to seek alternatives offered by the government, in many cases they join armed groups creating a vicious circle difficult to solve, where a problem does another major problem.
Colombia has more than 5% of its population in slums or indigenous tribes in the Amazon, once again with the geographical factor influencing in many cases vulnerable to ideologies of different control groups people.

It is important to remember that there are many factors that compromise a country to act on behalf of their interests, armed groups in Colombia do not fight for the interests of Colombia, fighting for proprios and unfairly with Colombian interests, is a country suffering terror and every minute of dialogue is divided a little more, Juan Manuel Santos is one of the major international players in the fight against terrorism in America, and their attitudes against armed groups in Colombia, obtained the power to give the country.
There are different views in the country, some speak eradicate the FARC and other justice, but together, always speak of the duty to protect the peace, human rights protect the idea of the rights to life, between the sword and the wall ahead of us the future of Colombia?

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Rodrigues, Madeleine (2016) fotograhp , Colombian Embassy