Translation:Before, the mechanic used to charge a lot more.
I agree with sharinglanguage: putting a comma after "Prima" would help the rhythm of the sentence. Also, I had trouble with "prendeva" meaning "charge". But "prendere" means to take, so the mechanic was "taking" money for his services, thereby meaning "charging" for his services.
Even if it would have helped to understand, a comma after "prima" would be wrong in the Italian sentence. It would introduce a pause that doesn't exist in Italian pronunciation.
"Prendere" in this meaning - to charge - is very used in spoken Italian language. It's not formal of course. (I'm Italian)
Exactly. You would say "... he CHARGED a lot more..." in English. The meaning in Italian clearly indicates the fee the mechanic charges.Their English translation: "...was taking a lot more..." is ambiguous in English in a manner that the Italian version simply is not. They are wrong on this one.
"Before" is superfluous here, because "used to" also implies that the mechanic charged more in the past (but not now). Saying "before" and "used to" in the same sentence is unnecessary repetition (a tautology) and that's why it sounds so weird. This should have been fixed sometime during the last eight years. Duolingo announced in March 2021 that its language courses are to be maintained and developed by professional linguists, so maybe it will... eventually. I'm not going to hold my breath, though. It's going to take a long time and much work to fix the Italian course!