Indemnity Insurance
Thread poster: Cordula Abston
Cordula Abston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:58
English to German
+ ...
Jan 7, 2006

So far, I've been directly employed with companies to translate in-house. As I am going Freelance now, I'd like to know if indemnity insurance is an absolute must. What are your thoughts and experiences?

Thanks all!


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
Is liability a problem? Jan 7, 2006

I've seen different questions about liability insurance on this forum, but I have yet to hear of any translator who has ever been sued or threatened with suit, here or anywhere else, even in the lawsuit-happy USA.

Is it a problem, or is it just an unfounded fear?


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Cordula Abston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:58
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your feedback - just an unfounded fear Jan 8, 2006

Henry Hinds wrote:

I've seen different questions about liability insurance on this forum, but I have yet to hear of any translator who has ever been sued or threatened with suit, here or anywhere else, even in the lawsuit-happy USA.

Is it a problem, or is it just an unfounded fear?



Great to get a reply from someone in lawsuit-happy USA It is not a problem, I am just trying to get a feeling for the business as a Freelancer and wanted to make sure I'm not missing out on something like this that might be essential. Great to hear that it doesn't seem to be necessary. Better safe than sorry!

Cheers,
Cordula


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 13:58
English to German
+ ...
lately a few agencies are asking for it Jan 8, 2006

whether the translator holds an indemnity insurance or not. I do not know whether it is cruicial while co-operating with an agency. Is such an insurance a regular practice in GB. Does anyone know? Best Brandis

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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:58
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Agencies should have one Jan 8, 2006

I do not have an indemnity insurance and do not intend to get one, at least not until I have a project that justifies the expense. The agencies should have such insurance and whenever agency insists on me having one I loose any interest in this agency as this clearly indicates they are not professional and it probably will not be easy to work with them.
At some stage I was trying to get info on possible insurance policies, but I did not even find one willing to insure me, they would only insure persons working for the local market, as soon as you had clients in other countries, the deal was off. You can join ITI and IOL and then as a member get discounted insurance but it is so complicated, plus I do not see any benefits in this membership for me and it is quite expensive anyhow. I'd rather invest in new hardware and software.
My two cents.

Burrell


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:58
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I prefer to have cover... Jan 8, 2006

I've never been sued, but I do feel safer...

I have heard a story of a couple who invited friends and relations to their wedding at considerable expense, as half of them were travelling from one country to another, plus all the usual wedding costs...
But the wedding had to be put off because the date was missing on the certified translation of one party's divorce papers. The authorities simply would not accept it as valid!

A small typo or a couple of reversed figures, a missing zero or the like may prove disastrous. If thousands of glossy catalogues have to be reprinted, or worse... The costs may be completely out of proportion with the linguistic or technical magnitude of the error.

The IoL scheme is not accepting any new policy holders resident outside the UK, and you will not be able to use the scheme that now covers me in Denmark, but both insurance companies admitted that the risk is low - they rarely have to pay out - but the accidents that do happen are sometimes expensive. The ATA or similar associations should be able to help you find an insurer at aq reasonable rate.

The premium costs me roughly what I can earn in a day, and then I have cover for several million Euros. They also cover things like fire in my office or my dictionaries and resources being stolen, lost earnings until I am up and running again, and other nightmares...

I prefer to take out insurance.


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TransRussian  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:58
Russian to English
+ ...
what about your own terms and conditions as a freelancer? Jan 8, 2006

I wonder of adding a relevant clause to your terms and conditions and sending those terms and conditions to clients prior to taking on any job could be solution.
Surely, it should help, if the matter goes to court.


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:58
French to English
+ ...
Interesting Case Jan 8, 2006

Christine Andersen wrote:

I have heard a story of a couple ...



I am an attorney and for all the discussion about insurance have yet to hear of a case in which recovery from a translator was acutally sought through litigation. I am wondering about the case you mentioned, Christine, which certainly points to the pitfalls of translation, but did anyone actually try (and succeed?) in suing the translator?


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Sonja Allen  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:58
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
I also feel safer with an insurance Jan 9, 2006

I got insurance via the IOL, too. It is expensive, but you might be able to deduct this expense from your tax bill, so it should not be such a financial burden. As I translate quite a lot of contracts, and have also done so for direct clients, I just simply have more peace of mind, when I have insurance. Therefore, I think, insurance also depends on your circumstances. If you translate for example technical manuals, legal stuff or marketing materials that will be published at a large scale it might be worth considering taking out insurance because even if it is very unlikely to be sued, no one can guarantee you a 100% that it will never happen. However, if you do not translate any texts where an error could cause huge costs to the client, I probably would not worry.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:58
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
It would have been settled out of court Jan 9, 2006

Richard Creech wrote:

Christine Andersen wrote:

I have heard a story of a couple ...



I am an attorney and for all the discussion about insurance have yet to hear of a case in which recovery from a translator was acutally sought through litigation. I am wondering about the case you mentioned, Christine, which certainly points to the pitfalls of translation, but did anyone actually try (and succeed?) in suing the translator?


I don't know the end of the story, I'm afraid.
The couple spoke Spanish and asked for help from the agency where I was working in-house at the time. The agency had not done the job, but a Spanish-speaking colleague helped them track down the translator who had done it (and certified the translation!).

State-authorised translators in Denmark have their own insurance scheme, and in a case like that would probably admit the error and settle as fast as possible. My scheme is with the same insurer, and I would not dream of going to court if I could avoid it. That is the sort of thing they would cover if the client could produce reasonable documentation for the expenses. The insurance would cover court fees if the client insisted, but court cases take months if not years, so they would be more likely to try to settle as amicably as possible.

I understand the couple held the party anyway, as the guests were assembled and it seemed a pity to waste it, but it was rather an anti-climax and the couple had to go back and get married when their papers were in order!

If it was an error in a medical translation that resulted in serious disability or death, it might have to go to court, but if the translator admitted the error, then the insurance company would try to sort it it out one way or another.

There is (or was) quite a good discussion about this on the IoL site, and if the case is not so simple, or if the source text is not clear, so it is hard to decide where the blame lies etc. (Help, I hope it never happens!!!) - then it would end in court.

I'm happy to have my insurance policy - as I said, it covers a number of other potential disasters too, so I think the peace of mind is well worth the cost.


[Edited at 2006-01-09 15:14]


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xxxdesiderata
Question is also one of limits Jan 13, 2006

Liability insurance needs for freelancers: only became an issue for me when a big, big agency started requiring it. Now the issue become what limits should one buy? The lowest limits = lowest premiums. But if GM or Siemens really intends to sue me, $10,000 limits probably are not going to get the job done. Nonetheless, why would I opt for more on the off chance that they will sue me for much more? They won't, I'm guessing, ever.

It is the private, non-commercial, direct client that you should be anxious about, if you are going to wring your hands at all. Now, they might sue.


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