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Poll: As a freelance, do you have insurance coverage?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:05
SITE STAFF
Nov 14, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "As a freelance, do you have insurance coverage?".

This poll was originally submitted by Shanie Ste-Marie

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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Kemal Mustajbegovic  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:05
English to Croatian
+ ...
? insurance cover Nov 14, 2006

What kind of insurance cover - health insurance, life insurance, indemnity insurance....

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Piret Parmakson  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:05
German to Estonian
+ ...
This is my question too - what insurance? Nov 14, 2006

Liability insurance?

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Lorenia Rincon  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:05
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Medical Insurance is expensive.... but is more expensive not to have it.. Nov 14, 2006

I have medical insurance for the entire family. It is expensive, but it is also tax deductible and if you do not have it and ever need to use it... it is far more expensive to pay for a surgical procedure or an emergency treatment, than the insurance premium.... I think all freelancers in any profession should have medical insurance.

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Leticia Klemetz, CT  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 14:05
Swedish to Spanish
+ ...
US vs elsewhere Nov 14, 2006

Hi all!
I understand the question comes from a member from the US or acquainted with the practices there. Translators in the US, as I saw at the ATA conference, are getting into the practice of having a liability insurance, but it would only seem necessary if the texts you translate could put you into legal problems in case you translated something wrong. Still few people actually need them, they said.
In Spain people don't get sued so easily, and I believe the rest of Europe is much like that too.
But if you feel what you translate can have fatal consequences in case you make a mistake and feel more safe, go ahead and get an insurance...
But if I misunderstood the question and you were talking of medical insurance, it also depends on the country: in Spain it's statal and you have to pay it with your taxes.


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:05
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Type of insurance Nov 14, 2006

I automatically took the question to be referring to errors and omissions insurance. As far as this goes, I understand that it is extremely rare that a translator gets taken to the cleaners. However, to avoid insomnia, some might consider buying it.

An option to protect against errors and omissions is to use the corporate shield. If you pay all the profits out to yourself then there are not many company assets that can get seized. Any assets paid to whichever employee, including yourself, are untouchable. I am not a lawyer so do not take this as hard and fast legal advice.

As far as medical insurance goes, I strongly believe in it no matter what country you live in. Otherwise, you would have to depend on some country's social security system (if it exists), all of which are horrible, in my humble opinion.

[Edited at 2006-11-14 13:51]


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Shanie Ste-Marie  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:05
English to French
I was refering to liability insurance Nov 14, 2006

Hello!

I was actually refering to liability insurance. Some agencies here in Canada are starting to oblige their freelancer to have such coverage, mainly those dealing with the Translation Bureau (which is a federal supplier for translations and has very high standards). If they receive several unacceptable translations from one agency, they simply stop dealing with it (and I don't see why they wouldn't go after the freelancer who didn't do a good job). At the same time, they impose penalties and reduce the payment.

Any person dealing with the Translation Bureau must be accredited and reside in Canada.

So in this context, should I get a liability insurance?

Thanks to all!

Shanie


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 09:05
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I said no, but I'm not sure I understand the question. Nov 14, 2006

Like others, I am confused about what sort of insurance is meant. Since the question reads "As a freelance(r)," I assumed job-related, probably liability--and answered no. But I, too, wondered whether medical insurance is intended, or life insurance, or car, or home-owner's--all of which I do, indeed, have.

Later: Obviously, I didn't see Shanie's post before writing mine. I guess my answer was right! I don't have any liability insurance and have no plans at this time to get it.

[Edited at 2006-11-14 13:49]


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Eva Middleton  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:05
German to English
I understood this to mean professional indemnity cover Nov 14, 2006

and no, I don't, which is one of the reasons why I will work only through agencies - they (or rather, their insurance company) can take the flak if anything goes terribly wrong.

I have looked into it but the usual cover providers will not insure you if you do legal translations.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:05
Dutch to English
+ ...
Corporate veils Nov 14, 2006

Edward Potter wrote:

An option to protect against errors and omissions is to use the corporate shield. If you pay all the profits out to yourself then there are not many company assets that can get seized. Any assets paid to whichever employee, including yourself, are untouchable. I am not a lawyer so do not take this as hard and fast legal advice.



Until the corporate veil is pierced or set aside, that is ...

Luckily you added a disclaimer, as although it may slow down the process as far as someone getting to your personal estate is concerned, it's by no means an advisable option to set up a company thinking the separate legal status is that much of a safety net.

Don't know how effective the bankruptcy trustees are in the States but had anyone pulled this stunt during my 10-year watch as an insolvency practitioner, it wouldn't have taken much to rope them into an inquiry, establish and successfully pursue claims against their personal estates.

As far as medical insurance is concerned, I agree with your "humble opinion"




[Edited at 2006-11-14 14:39]


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Andres & Leticia Enjuto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 10:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The agency should be responsible before the client Nov 14, 2006

Shanie Ste-Marie wrote:

Some agencies here in Canada are starting to oblige their freelancer to have such coverage, mainly those dealing with the Translation Bureau (which is a federal supplier for translations and has very high standards). If they receive several unacceptable translations from one agency, they simply stop dealing with it (and I don't see why they wouldn't go after the freelancer who didn't do a good job).



If you need an insurance to keep working, then go and get it, and try to include the cost in your rates.



(and I don't see why they wouldn't go after the freelancer who didn't do a good job).



I disagree.

The agency should have a quality control system, and be responsible before the customer. Otherwise, what value are they adding?

In the case your describing, freelancers receive agency rates but are asked final customer quality, and held responsible for any problems.

If a freelancer is not good enough, then the agency should look for another one, not sue / penalize him/her.
They should select the professional and keep checking the quality of his/her work.

My humble opinion.

Best,
Andrés


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
What liability? Nov 14, 2006

This subject has been discussed many times before but I have yet to see any mention of a case where a translator has been subject to liability for a defective translation beyond the actual price thereof (refusal to pay because the translation was bad).

Does anyone know of such a case?

Until then I would assume that such insurance would be a rip-off, especially if it did not cover legal work. Maybe then it would cover us if we were trampled by a herd of buffalo?


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Szymon Metkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:05
Member (2006)
German to Polish
+ ...
Yes, never used (luckily) Nov 14, 2006

@ Henry:
As a future lawyer I see some possibilities for legal liability for a bad translation. To mention just one example:

You mistype the digits in some money sums and/or dates and therefore you change the matter of the contract. Even if you don't cause any direct losses, you may cause a delay (for instance in production). In such cases it would be your liability.

Greetings:
Szymon


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Nicholas Ferreira  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
A misplaced comma can cost you millions Nov 14, 2006

There was a recent case in Canadian news where a single comma in a contract cost a huge media company millions of dollars in losses. It is a fabulous story that you can read in the online copy of The Globe and Mail, entitled "Comma quirk irks Rogers" from Aug. 6, 2006 (I don't think I can paste the link here, so you will have to Google it, sorry).

In this case, it was legal counsel that was to blame. What would have happened had the translator been the one at fault?

Again, this is just hypothetical, and as yet I know of no real case of lawsuits against a linguistic service provider.


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Serkan Doğan  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 16:05
Turkish to English
+ ...
Cover Nov 14, 2006

Actually, I have an insurance cover. I use it particularly for health purposes. I am not dreaming about retirement plans. According to my opinion, health insurance is necessary even for the good-earning translators. We do not have always blue chips. I do not want to be on tenterhoods in my old ages. However, an insurance cover is not definitely "panacea", not to be ostracized from the community. Hmm, now I am immersed in thought on this.

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