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Poll: Do you have liability insurance?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 08:28
SITE STAFF
May 22, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you have liability insurance?".

This poll was originally submitted by humbird

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:28
Italian to English
+ ...
PLEASE can we have a "just plain no" option on these polls?! May 22, 2008

I neither want it nor think I won't need it - I just don't have it!

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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 17:28
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't know May 22, 2008

That isn't quite such a hopelessly vague response as it may seem. I have liability insurance for another professional activity, and I would have to check to see if it also covers me for translating. For the moment though, I don't take on projects which I consider need this insurance cover, and no one has ever asked for me to accept liability.

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Setti Mulari  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 05:28
Member (2005)
Finnish to English
Read the policy wording May 22, 2008

Most freelance translators don't really need it, but as I run an agency as well, I have it to cover my back.

What I would say, is that if you look into getting PI insurance, it is important to read and understand the policy wording. I have a background in insurance and I was appalled with the standard policies that are sold to translators and even the ones endorsed by the translation associations are practically worthless.

The biggest flaw in them is the ever-present geographical limitation clause. Most my clients are in a different country to me and most policies exclude cover for translations sold to another country, thus making it a useless policy. Even my current policy, which was underwritten bespokely to me through a Lloyds of London syndicate, excludes USA and Canada, but otherwise I'm covered globally. I could not afford to get cover for the lawyer-happy Americans. I don't have many US customers anyway so it's not a big sacrifice.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:28
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Required to have it May 22, 2008

I am required to have it by my professional organization in order to maintain my certification.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why? May 22, 2008

I have yet to hear of a single case in which a translator has ever been sued for professional liability, and I have mentioned the subject before on a number of occasions.

If anyone knows of such a case, please let us know.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:28
English to Arabic
+ ...
Agree May 22, 2008

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

I neither want it nor think I won't need it - I just don't have it!


It's not something I think about, but I'd never be so confident as to say "I won't need it".


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 17:28
English to French
+ ...
To Henry Hinds May 23, 2008

"I have yet to hear of a single case in which a translator has ever been sued for professional liability"

Way back in the 80ies, there was the case of this milk company... They sued a translator for a spelling error. The story says that the colleague was called on a Friday, late afternoon. On the phone, he was asked how to say "lait de qualité" in German (Qualitätsmilch). He was then asked whether it was spelled with "kw" - he'd been working from Dutch all day and spontaneously said yes.

Tens of thousands of milk cartons displayed that spelling mistake for quite a while... That's when I got my liability insurance with the only company that offers such a thing for translators in this country.


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Concerning "Why" question May 23, 2008

To Interlangue,

Thank you very much for sharing such an interesting episode.
Well, as a matter of fact I myself never heard any liability case involved translator, but I recently engaged in a brief conversation with fellow translators who sworn never do legal translation, because they afraid of being sued.
That made me think because I do quite a few translations of this particular subject, so I was inspired to this question.
Me? Personally I never felt I need one. But you never know. Life is so uncertain, and eating chocolate may not provide sufficient peace of mind.


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Venkatesh Sundaram  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 21:58
Member
German to English
We are liable to commit occasional errors May 23, 2008

Interlangue - wrote:

"I have yet to hear of a single case in which a translator has ever been sued for professional liability"

Way back in the 80ies, there was the case of this milk company... They sued a translator for a spelling error. The story says that the colleague was called on a Friday, late afternoon. On the phone, he was asked how to say "lait de qualité" in German (Qualitätsmilch). He was then asked whether it was spelled with "kw" - he'd been working from Dutch all day and spontaneously said yes.

Tens of thousands of milk cartons displayed that spelling mistake for quite a while... That's when I got my liability insurance with the only company that offers such a thing for translators in this country.


When I think of the times that I've been cajoled by my customers to work late in order to fulfill their requirements - more often than not communicated to me well past the 11th hour - I know I'm occasionally in a danger zone where I'm liable to commit an occasional error. Despite trying to avoid such situations whenever possible, I think many of us do sometimes find themselves in them willy nilly. Though India is quite lax when it comes to liability damages - even surgeons committing serious errors are let off with fines / damages as low as $ 5,000; the cost of fighting a lawsuit can be very damaging. So, yes, I would like to get a policy - if it would cover me adequately

[Edited at 2008-05-23 06:24]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Let's hope May 23, 2008

Interlangue - wrote:

"I have yet to hear of a single case in which a translator has ever been sued for professional liability"
Way back in the 80ies, there was the case of this milk company... They sued a translator for a spelling error.
Tens of thousands of milk cartons displayed that spelling mistake for quite a while...


If someone wanted to sue translators for every error that can be found on product packaging, they could become filthy rich.

Let's hope no one decides to take up doing so as a livelihood!


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Maria Isabel Pazos Gómez  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:28
Member (2007)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Sure, but.... May 23, 2008

Henry Hinds wrote:

I have yet to hear of a single case in which a translator has ever been sued for professional liability, and I have mentioned the subject before on a number of occasions.

If anyone knows of such a case, please let us know.


Hi!

Well, I have it, because once I got really afraid of one client, who pressured me (even the translation error was not my fault). Anyway the insurance is 100€ a year, so it´s less than the membership of proz and it could cover your back in case all the brochures are printed

Mabel


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Civil liability May 23, 2008

I think the idea behind the answer format of No + a comment is to enquire into why you don't have it. It certainly makes for a more interesting poll, this way it has some explaining power.

It is very interesting to hear that in the UK it is possible to get insurance that goes beyond national borders, because the brokers I contacted all told me that it wasn't possible.

In Spain, we can take out a civil liability policy covering both contractual liability and liability in tort, which means that we are covered every which way and that we don't have to scrutinise the wording of the policy. The next step however is to actually go ahead and purchase it. Being married with common marital property is a good reason to do so...


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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:28
French to English
+ ...
pricier in France May 23, 2008

Maria Isabel Pazos Gómez wrote:

Anyway the insurance is 100€ a year, so it´s less than the membership of proz and it could cover your back in case all the brochures are printed

Mabel


I have shopped around and have yet to find an insurance policy for less than 300 euros - on top of that, none of them offer coverage outside of France (alth' some do cover Euro zone for a heftier fee) - very handy when some my clients hail from as far away as the US, Canada, Isreal and Algeria...

Really makes me wonder if signing that cheque isn't akin to burning billnotes


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:28
French to English
All the options May 23, 2008

Tatty wrote:
I think the idea behind the answer format of No + a comment is to enquire into why you don't have it. It certainly makes for a more interesting poll, this way it has some explaining power.

I agree with the idea.
But it really is a good idea to make sure all possibilities are covered. This is such a common flaw in these polls that it is becoming tiresome.

Personally, I haven't got it yet because I haven't got round to looking into it properly, so I had to vote "Other" - how useful is that? Not very, even if the polls are only a bt of fun.

Altho it must be said this poll has helped me, as I hadn't really thought about the geographical coverge aspect. So thumbs up for that.


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