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Professional indemnity insurance
Thread poster: Willemina Hagenauw

Willemina Hagenauw
Local time: 11:55
English to Dutch
+ ...
Feb 10, 2003

As long as I have been a freelance translator, I have taken out a professional indemnity insurance. Mine is up for renewal now and I have a choice of taking one that insures to a certain maximum amount per year or one that is limitless (for which the premium is much higher). What do other professionals do and what do others think is a reasonable maximum amount to insure?

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xxxmmachado
English to Portuguese
please share your knowledge Feb 10, 2003

Hello Willemina,



I don\'t have any info on this issue and in matter of fact I wonder if you could share your knowledge on this.



I would like getting this insurance but in Portugal I can\'t find any insurance company providing this sort of product. Sometime ago I contacted a company in the UK but they said they couldn\'t provide their services to people leaving in certain countries (Portugal included)...



Is there any info you could provide - name of insurance company, por instance?



If you prefer, please contact me privately on my e-mail address: mfcmachado@hotmail.com



Thanks for your help

Kind regards,

Mónica Machado



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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:55
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
You do not need one! Feb 10, 2003

i.e. as far as I know. (I have never heard of a real life case - the rest is concoted by insurance companies)



I believe, like many colleagues, that you do not need them!



The maximimum penalty of a translation is the translator\'s fee.

There is no evidence to the contrary and we also have logic on our side.



There is only one party responsible for the consequences of a text: The publisher, i.e. the one handing over the text.



It\'s up to him/her to have the text checked for factual accuracy - not the translator.



PERIOD!



Mats J C Wiman

Übersetzer/Translator/Traducteur/Traductor > swe

http://www.MatsWiman.com

http://www.Deutsch-Schwedisch.com

http://www.proz.com/translator/1749 Deu>swe Proz.com moderator

eMail: MatsWiman@swipnet.se

Träsk 201

SE-872 97 Skog

Tel : +46-612-54112

Fax : +46-612-54181

Mobile: +46-70-5769797



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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:55
English to German
+ ...
Careful, Mats... Feb 10, 2003

...I believe you\'re being a bit too simplistic here. I accept your view as long as you\'re working with agencies or professional publishers only - things get different if you\'re working for end users who may justifiably rely on your skills.



Needless to say that \"agency rates\" do not adequately cover the potential risks involved...


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:55
English to German
+ ...
BTW, I remember this issue Feb 10, 2003

having been raised and extensively discussed, at least, two times here in the forums, only for the last three months. Check it, please.

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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:55
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Simplicity should reign! Feb 11, 2003

Dear Ralf,



This market should be reigned by simplicity. The translator is responsible for the quality of his/her translation - PERIOD.



All other responsibiliies should rest with the the other parties, the final one with the buyer.



Could you please also elaborate on \'real world incidents\' in this field.



I contend they do not exist - thanks to my simplistic logic.



BR



Mats

[ This Message was edited by:on2003-02-11 08:44]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:55
German to English
+ ...
Real world incidents Feb 11, 2003

Mats,



They do exist - I have heard of whole print runs having to be pulped because of a typo on the cover. One insurer advertising in an industry journal mentioned such a case, and I don\'t believe it was fabricated. On the contrary, from the way it was described, it sounded very much as though it was the only case the insurer was aware of.



I would agree that they are statistically irrelevant.



There are probably several reasons why this is the case.



One is that translators (unlike doctors, for example) don\'t present such an interesting financial target for unscrupulous lawyers. There are amblance-chasers, but can you imagine dictionary-chasers?



Then there is a widespread view that translation is synonymous with bad translation. You relied on a translation? More fool you!



Also, translation error seldom leads directly to a quantifiable loss. The case of someone being killed after misunderstanding a badly translated instruction manual is largely hypothetical. There are thousands of incomprehensible instruction manuals in use, whereas relatively few apparently make sense, but the wrong sense.



Marc



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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:55
English to German
+ ...
Life's not that simple, I'm afraid... Feb 11, 2003

Again, Mats, I agree with you if you\'re a freelancer working exclusively for agencies or comparable \"end\" customers.



Things are different, however, if I assume project responsibility (again, payment must reflect this!), particularly if it\'s a certified translation. Thankfully, I have never had to use insurance cover (rigid quality assurance is the best cover there is), but when translating projects such as an issue prospectus (with all sorts of potential liability involved in the event of a mis-translation), I wouldn\'t want to be without protection.


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Paul Stevens  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:55
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Being too simplistic is dangerous Feb 11, 2003

I agree with Ralf and think that Mats is being too simplistic in this very important issue.



Whilst I fully appreciate where Mats is coming from, I think that it is highly dangerous to suggest that people do not need PI insurance. Personally, I do not want to take the risk (albeit remote) of being \"saddled\" with a sizeable claim, and I am more than happy to take out PI insurance for pure peace of mind.



If someone has some definitive case law (relating to the UK as far as I\'m concerned) to prove CATEGORICALLY Mats\'s point of view, then I would be prepared to reconsider this issue.



Until that time, there is NO WAY that I would do without PI insurance and I would certainly not encourage anyone not to purchase it.


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:55
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
A translator is a translator Feb 11, 2003

Dear Ralf,



You said:

\"Things are different, however, if I assume project responsibility (again, payment must reflect this!)...\"



Quite! I am always talking about translators who take on translation jobs.



Other arrangements are not translation jobs, they are management jobs.



Mats

[ This Message was edited by:on2003-02-11 10:59]


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:55
French to English
On a practical level Feb 11, 2003

From a very basic point of view, liability in common law systems is generally based on the extent of a third party\'s reliance. That is generally moderated by a reasonableness test.



In other words, if you are working on a piece which is highly technical and the financial and/or safety implications of a mistranslation could have terrible consequences, it might be safe to assume that reliance upon the translator producing an accurate piece of work is high. Logically, this might mean his potential liability is quite heavy. But is it reasonable to expect this? Perhaps not.



An indicator is that professioanl indemnity insurance cover provided via the SFT in France excludes any work done in the US as it is believed that the risks in terms of litigation there are far too high.



A translator\'s liability cover might also be compromised when it is possible to show that he undertook work he was not qualified to do. It is reasonable to assume that one only takes on work one is qualified to do. How that is judged is another matter.



Anyway, intellectually, the arguments for an against having cover area endless. If you feel safer taking out insurance, then do so. Estimate the potential value of the risk. If that risk is too high, perhaps you should think again about doing that particular job or make sure that you have excellent cover.



The rotten thing about insurance is that you only find out how good or bad it is when you need it. And by then it\'s too late.



True engouh, you don\'t often hear of translators being pursued through the courts.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:55
French to English
On a practical level Feb 11, 2003



[ This Message was edited by:on2003-02-11 11:05]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:55
English to German
+ ...
Where are the attractive jobs? Feb 11, 2003

Quote:


Quite! I am always talking about translators who take on translation jobs.



Other arrangements are not translation jobs, they are management jobs.



But can you (or should you) really separate this? In my experience, you need to offer more than \"just\" translation in order to justify more attractive prices. As far as I can see, offering a whole solution to a customer\'s problems is the key to making this a really attractive proposition economically.



Where I do agree with you is this: if you pay a translator just the price for the pure translation component of this value chain, you\'re essentially \"stripping out\" the risks, too.

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:55
German to English
+ ...
Agree with Ralf, but Feb 11, 2003

I agree with your above assessment, Ralf. But referring to your earlier issuing prospectus example - don\'t those usually state which language version is the legally binding one? As I remember, the legally binding version of the ones issued in Germany was the German-language version. That is an important point for translators to clarify before taking on legal/financial texts like this. (Just a side note!)

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:55
English to German
+ ...
Correct - in principle... Feb 11, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-02-11 15:50, Daina wrote:

I agree with your above assessment, Ralf. But referring to your earlier issuing prospectus example - don\'t those usually state which language version is the legally binding one? As I remember, the legally binding version of the ones issued in Germany was the German-language version. That is an important point for translators to clarify before taking on legal/financial texts like this. (Just a side note!)



A very important side note indeed!

Of course I have incorporated a disclaimer saying that the English translation isn\'t valid on its own etc. etc. TBH I don\'t fancy testing if that holds in court when faced with a claim for damages by disgruntled investors...

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