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Illegal content
Thread poster: Mari Noller
Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:33
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Jun 3, 2005

A friend of mine presented me with a difficult question yesterday. She had been asked to do a proofreading of a rather large text, there was no PO as the client did not see the need of one and agreed to payment upfront.
But when she got the job she was rather shocked. The content was a correspondance between a child abuser and a person owning a website in that "field" (trying to use common words here not to offend anyone or break any rules).
The problem she was facing was "Is the text really a correspondance between two actual persons? Or is it fiction?"
If it's not fiction, wouldn't this be illegal content and should she not report it to the police?

Any help would be appreciated.


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 01:33
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Upfront payment seems to indicate commercial use Jun 3, 2005

In this case I would contact the police. If the customer is no renowned publisher and the context is not clearly fiction, within a larger work, I would suspect criminal intent and act accordingly.

Regards
Heinrich


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Pavle Perencevic  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:33
Member (2002)
Serbian to English
+ ...
It's quite clear really Jun 3, 2005

dinamin wrote:

A friend of mine presented me with a difficult question yesterday. She had been asked to do a proofreading of a rather large text, there was no PO as the client did not see the need of one and agreed to payment upfront.
But when she got the job she was rather shocked. The content was a correspondance between a child abuser and a person owning a website in that "field" (trying to use common words here not to offend anyone or break any rules).
The problem she was facing was "Is the text really a correspondance between two actual persons? Or is it fiction?"
If it's not fiction, wouldn't this be illegal content and should she not report it to the police?

Any help would be appreciated.


She has to report this material to the police as there is reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed; otherwise, she herself might be seen as aiding and abetting said crime. The client privilege clause does not apply here as the content is illegal and the translator apparently had no knowledge of its nature.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Illegal content? Return it and walk away. Jun 3, 2005

dinamin wrote:
The problem she was facing was "Is the text really a correspondance between two actual persons? Or is it fiction?"
If it's not fiction, wouldn't this be illegal content and should she not report it to the police?


IMO client-translator confidentiality reaches even here. If you think the job is illegal, then return it with a message to that effect to the then ex-client, and walk away from it.

This depends on the laws of your country, though. Would a court of law consider your relationship with a potential client to be similar to that of a lawyer or to that of a journalist?

I generally refuse to translate correspondence because it's very hard to tell whether the client actually has permission from the author or recipient to have the letter translated. No matter how genuine and honest the need may seem to have the translation done, it's very difficult to determine whether it would be "right".


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Ballistic  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 00:33
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
Notify the police immediately Jun 3, 2005

The child abuse squad of your local police station must be informed immediately. Let them figure out what it is all about. No mercy for child abusers!

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Klaus Herrmann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:33
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Have the police sort it out Jun 3, 2005

dinamin wrote:
The problem she was facing was "Is the text really a correspondance between two actual persons? Or is it fiction?"
If it's not fiction, wouldn't this be illegal content and should she not report it to the police?

I wouldn't think twice about it. I might if it was about tax evasion, but in this case, I'm with Ballistic.


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Timothy Barton
Local time: 23:33
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Report it immediately, for the sake of your conscience Jun 3, 2005

Imagine in ten years time the guy gets arrested and you hear about some of the things he's done. Your friend would have to live with the knowledge that she kept quiet when she had information. Don't take any chances.

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Anabel Martínez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Report it now Jun 3, 2005

I agree with Ballistic,

Even if there's a relationship of secrecy between client and translator, we're dealing with child abuse in this case. If it were something minor I would probably just step away and forget about this client, but in this case I don't think one can just let someone like that go unpunished.


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Jalapeno
Local time: 00:33
English to German
Agree Jun 3, 2005

Agree absolutely, especially with Timothy.

I don't think I could live with myself if I didn't report it. Also, I agree that translator-client privilege is not important here.


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Natalia Elo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:33
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
I would report it Jun 3, 2005

I would report it definitely without any second thoughts. This is the worst crime on Earth. Police can identify wether it is fiction.

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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 00:33
English to French
+ ...
Send it back Jun 3, 2005

There is something strange here, the client must know this is highly illegal and everything related to it and yet he sends the stuff to someone he doesn't know.

The best is to send it back and said you cannot do it. Just send it back, stay clear. It could be very dangerous for you and your family.


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Andrea Appel
Canada
Local time: 18:33
English to German
+ ...
This would concern me too Jun 3, 2005

lien wrote:

There is something strange here, the client must know this is highly illegal and everything related to it and yet he sends the stuff to someone he doesn't know.

The best is to send it back and said you cannot do it. Just send it back, stay clear. It could be very dangerous for you and your family.






but it still needs to be reported, I guess the police would know how to deal with this so the girl is protected.

Chee, in what situation we can come without doing anything this is why I added at the bottom of my webpage..

http://www.ahatranslation.com/all_ps.htm

right after machine translations ha ha

[Edited at 2005-06-03 11:27]

If it would be fiction I am sure he would of said so or at least told her that she doesn´t has to worry about the content and not pay upfront in a hurry, there is always a suspicious reason for that. Plus the website from the other person involved.

[Edited at 2005-06-03 11:36]


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Beth M F Garcia  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:33
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Do it no matter what Jun 3, 2005

I would go straight to the police regardless of where my liability lies.

I would be prepared to take on any consequences of my acts on a case such as this. The legal system even though they have laws to abide by etc. are not stupid.

I say report it straight away!!


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Patricia Lutteral  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 19:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Report it Jun 3, 2005

Natalia Elo wrote:

I would report it definitely without any second thoughts. This is the worst crime on Earth. Police can identify wether it is fiction.


I couldn't agree more.

Best regards,

Patricia


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Jalapeno
Local time: 00:33
English to German
Just had a thought... Jun 3, 2005

...although it might be far-fetched.

Maybe your friend's client is actually a lawyer or works in some other official capacity and is simply investigating an international case of child abuse.

Surely nobody would be stupid enough to have a translator he doesn't know translate something that implicates him in a crime (and such a serious crime at that)...

And another thing. You say your friend is the proofreader on this text. That would imply that somebody has already translated it. Wouldn't the translator have had the same doubts as your friend? Or maybe they managed to find a rather ruthless translator (even thought that should be difficult, judging from the fact that nobody in this thread would ever agree to translate a text like this).

Just an idea.


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