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Ethics
Thread poster: Henry Hinds

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:06
English to Spanish
+ ...
Aug 8, 2006

Not "off topic", "ethics", shouldn't we have a classification for "ethics"?

Check this out:

"We have recently completed a translation for a website from English to several European languages
The client has now requested to get a notary's seal on the authencity of the job.
We can guarantee on the accuracy of the translation, and we would require a court accredited translator to sign, seal on the job.
We dont know if this is possible..."

For a price I'm sure it's possible, but is it ethical? I'm sure not going to put my name on it. I wonder if their client knows...


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Susanne Schnitzler  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:06
English to German
They should have settled this Aug 8, 2006

Good morning

I think they should have settled this question before outsourcing. Here in Hamburg you will hardly find a sworn translator who would willingly give his "good name" for a translation s/he did not do.

And I too would not if I was a sworn translator, even if they would willingly pay the whole sum for the translation to me too. Hey - it is not my piece of work. I would willingly do proofreading but nothing more.

I can not think of any case where the need for a sworn translation wasn't obvious before giving the order to an agency or a freelancer. Sometimes I work with a very small agency in the neighborhood and if the client insists, the owner puts his company stamp on my translation. Both of us agree that this does not imply sworn translations.

But I wonder: Why should a website translation be sworn?

Have a nice day everyone
Susanne


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Silvina Matheu  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:06
Member
English to Spanish
for "Ethics" and agree with Suzanne Aug 8, 2006

Henry Hinds wrote:

Not "off topic", "ethics", shouldn't we have a classification for "ethics"?



You have a point here, Henry. I couldn't agree more with you and hope someone of the staff reads this.

As to the case at issue, I think Suzanne is right: the client should have asked for a sworn translation form the beginning. And I can't see why they need a website translation to be sworn. Never seen this before.





[Edited at 2006-08-08 10:33]


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:06
German to English
+ ...
The ethics of attesting others' translations... Aug 8, 2006

I honestly don't see a problem with attesting to the correctness of another translator's work. Whether I would do it, is another question.

In Germany, that is what "court accredited" translators are there for: to attest the correctness of a translation. Consider what the judge said to me when I was accredited: "The authority to do so is special, given that such translators are also able to attest to the correctness of their own work - something that German notaries, for example, are unable to do."

If you think about it, there is - to a certain degree - actually a conflict of interest when attesting to the correctness of your own translation.

I have had inquiries in the past, on occasion of which I told the client that I would be willing to go through the translation and attest to its cerrectness, but that I would, of course, bill for my time (it's kind of like a proofreading job - except more intensive). Most clients realize that it would be cheaper to just have me do the translation and the attestation; it is, however, their choice.

The problem is (and I thus disagree in part with the comment above) that many clients don't know exactly what they need before they start. Henry's quote is a prime example: There it says that they need "a notary's seal on the authencity of the job." But then it goes on to say that they need "a court accredited translator to sign, seal on the job." What do they need?

To me it sounds like they need more than just a court accredited translator. It sounds like a project (for the adoption of a child) I once had. This is how it went:

1. I had to translate the documents from German into English.
2. Not only did I have to attest to the correctness of my translation by placing my attestation and stamp on it. I had to do so in the presence of a notary, who attested to the fact that I was the person who signed.
3. The notary's signature then had to be certified by the President of the District Court (attesting to the fact that both the notary and I had the authority to do the things we were doing).

And that is not even the most complicated process I have experienced... Right now, I'm working on a translation that is similar to what I just described without the notary, i.e. I have to have my signature and stamp certified by the court.

It seems that every governmental agency or authority (those are the ones who need this stuff) has their own requirements. It is rarely clear what they need exactly. In many cases the clients don't understand what they need to supply, even when they are told.

Several times a month students come into my office needing their transcripts translated for acceptance to US colleges. I almost spend more time with them figuring out what they need than I spend doing the actual translation.

My two cents...

[Edited at 2006-08-08 10:49]

P.S. - I do, of course, consider it extremely unethical (if not illegal) for an accredited translator to attest to the correctness of something without actually having convinced him-/herself of its correctness. That's a big "no, no!"

[Edited at 2006-08-08 11:07]


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:06
Member
English to Turkish
Moved the topic Aug 8, 2006

Hi all,
Just to let you know that I've moved the topic to the forum "Business Issues" as an on-topic thread.

Cheers!
Özden


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:06
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Change Aug 8, 2006

Hi, Özden,

I suppose "Business Issues" is better than "Off-Topic", but if we can get "Ethics", all the better!


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:06
Member
English to Turkish
Ethics forum Aug 8, 2006

Hola Henry,

Actually, this is a suggestion under consideration, I guess... let's wait and see

Cheers,
Özden

Henry Hinds wrote:

Hi, Özden,

I suppose "Business Issues" is better than "Off-Topic", but if we can get "Ethics", all the better!


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AnnikaLight  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:06
English to German
I wouldn't put my name on it.... Aug 16, 2006

Hi Henry,

I agree with you. I wouldn't put my name on it either....

I'm a sworn translator - court accredited ... and I certainly wouldn't "sign, seal on the job" - i.e. ANOTHER translator's work!

Susanne Schnitzler wrote:
Here in Hamburg you will hardly find a sworn translator who would willingly give his "good name" for a translation s/he did not do.

And I too would not if I was a sworn translator, even if they would willingly pay the whole sum for the translation to me too. Hey - it is not my piece of work. I would willingly do proofreading but nothing more.


I completely agree with Susanne. If they want me to "sign/seal", I'll have to proofread the whole document/website beforehand. I won't put my "stamp" on anything I haven't read, proofread and compared with the original.

"We can guarantee on the accuracy of the translation, and we would require a court accredited translator to sign, seal on the job."

Their guarantee wouldn't be enough for me. A sworn translator who chooses to sign off on a translation without having checked it is playing with fire....

If, however, the translator is "allowed" to check the document/website ("allowed" as in "Sure, go ahead and check it and we'll pay you for your proofreading/checking efforts"), then there's nothing unethical about signing off on someone else's work.

Annika


Oh ... and P.S.: I fully agree with Derek's P.S.

P.P.S: On top of that, a website isn't static - it constantly changes. If I had to attest to its correctness, I'd have to print out ALL the relevant pages in order to avoid future problems (e.g. client changes web content without my knowledge and later claims that I signed off on "incorrect content"....)

[Edited at 2006-08-16 22:54]


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