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I am very much concerned. Should I enclose a Release of Liability to my translation?
Thread poster: Marisa Condurso de Nohara

Marisa Condurso de Nohara  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 24, 2006

I`ve been dealing with medical/pharmaceutical texts for many, many years. I have never thought of protecting my liability as a translator in case of legal matters between the two parties (my clients who ask for a translation to inform their audiences, and members of said audiences), and I do not think that it will be necessary in this context.

But now I am dealing with a support program for people suffering a condition run by a foundation. All in all, it deals with questionnaires on the participants' condition, and some lists advising what to bring with, since the program will last for a pair of days.
But to my surprise I have found that in-between those lists and questionnaires there are some warnings about some risks that could arise from the participation of patients in such a program, and most of them being children, their parents should sign a Release of Liability implemented by the foundation to safeguard their staff.

But what if a participant has in fact a problem (a serious one, including injury or death) and his/her parents want to file a suit against the foundation and the latter claims that "it all dealt with a misunderstanding caused by the translator"? Should I myself enclose my own release of liabilities? Have you ever implemented that resource? Am I overdoing things?

My translation should be delivered soon, so I will appreciate your soonest comments. Thanks in advance.


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Noelia Ruiz Pérez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:55
Member (2010)
English to Spanish
Good question Mar 24, 2006

This is a very good question. I, personally, have never come accross something so serious. But I remember I did some Private Purchase Contracts for a developer company. They needn´t be official as they were a courtesy for their British clients, and the originals were in Spanish. Nevertheless, I did add a clause, stating that in case of discrepancy the document in the original language will prevail. I think is a simple thing but in case of trouble can save you some grieve.

Hope it all goes well : ))

Noelia


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Marisa Condurso de Nohara  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Simple and logical solution Mar 24, 2006

123translate wrote:

I did add a clause, stating that in case of discrepancy the document in the original language will prevail.


Noelia


Gracias Noelia,
I will implement your suggestion because it is simple and logical.

Perhaps I got impressed by the fact that by MY words a non-English speaking person would be signing a document. In fact all the text is very simple and the medical part is the one I am less concerned for.

Just one more thing:
Would you add the disclaimer as part of your email at the time of the translation delivery? Or, would you clearly address the client asking him/her to show you his/her agreement on that disclaimer? It's a new client, seems to be very polite and I would like to avoid any "misleading" effect.

Disculpa la molestia, realmente me eres de mucha ayuda.
McN


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Noelia Ruiz Pérez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:55
Member (2010)
English to Spanish
I added to the document Mar 24, 2006

Please! Is a pleasure to be of help! : ))

In my case I added to the contract itself, but I told my clients, who were well happy about it. The problem is not so much your clients, but the people that sign the document. I think I would ask your clients if it is possible that you can add the little clause at the end of the document, for theirs and your peace of mind. I can´t see why they should mind. If they are polite as you say, I don´t think it will be a problem. If I was the client I would see it as a proof of your professionalism.

Noelia : ))


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:55
French to English
+ ...
Another suggestion Mar 24, 2006

Hello McN,

Noelia's suggestion is a good one, but you have no certainty whether, at the end of the day, your client is going to accept your disclaimer and/or leave it included in the translated text.

The situation is delicate and personally, I've not come across a similar one.

Would it be possible for you to speak directly with your client expressing your concern? After all, that organisation is surely as concerned as you are about possible problems...

Let us know what happens!

Regards,

Patricia


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Marisa Condurso de Nohara  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A two-sided courtesy Mar 24, 2006

Patricia Lane wrote:

Hello McN,

...you have no certainty whether, at the end of the day, your client is going to accept your disclaimer and/or leave it included in the translated text.

Would it be possible for you to speak directly with your client expressing your concern?

Patricia


Merci Patricia,
It is rewarding to see how people like you and Noelia understand my concern and help me by suggesting sensible solutions. That is what I think that my client will feel if I suggest the Foundation's inclusion of my clause in their own Spanish-version document.

As a way of "my own" courtesy towards the client, I will both furnish the foundation with an English/Spanish free-of-charge clause in case they decide to include it in their Release of Liability.

Whether they include it or not, it's far from my control, but I will be anyway covered by sending them the bilingual disclaimer.


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Marisa Condurso de Nohara  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hope my clients too Mar 24, 2006

123translate wrote:


I think I would ask your clients if it is possible that you can add the little clause at the end of the document, for theirs and your peace of mind.


If I was the client I would see it as a proof of your professionalism.

Noelia : ))


Thank you Noelia! See my answer to Patricia's proposal. That's the way I will implement my disclaimer, arising from your and Patricia's suggestions.

As regards the client, they seem to be unfamiliar with translation processes, so any suggestion may be deemed appropiate at least to be considered.

Will let you know next week.

Nice to have met you both.
Marisa


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Marisa Condurso de Nohara  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My country or Abroad Mar 26, 2006

Karolis Butkevicius wrote:

You see, it's not a contract. ..................... That's for official translations to be signed, of course.

The instructions that you are translating, I imagine are mandatory by the laws of your country. ...............

In my country official translations have to be signed by ..............

If they are unfamiliar with translations, you definately should suggest including a clause. In case your civil law doesn't allow for such clauses it would then be the company to be prosecuted for releasing unlawful documents.

That's the legal view:)
Suerte!


First and foremost, thank you for your legal advice.

As regards the nature of this and every translation I deal with, it is not "official" (not a document "as such"), otherwise I wouldn't have quoted because I am not a sworn translator. But from my point of view, part of what is said therein, may have legal consequences arising from an undesirable event during the program "the company" will be developing; therefore, "the company" wants to be released from any liability and I understand that I should be protecting myself from both parties (Co. and Participants)

Secondly, I am not translating for my country. "The company" is abroad, like almost all of my clients. But being here or there, if the client would have considered the document as "official", there are ways of furnishing them with a legal translation from our country to theirs: Exactly like in you country, adding one step: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (if I am not wrong) certification of all and every document sent to the client abroad.

During long years, I've been protected by my own clients' methodology: Medical/pharmaceutical translations are supervised by bilingual medical advisors of each pharmaceutical company before being posted in the Internet, released in print to doctors or patients, etc.

But being this a new client, and understanding that only one page bears a "legal aspect" which might affect me as a translator (I am not a sworn one but I do have my University diploma - the difference is that I am not specialized in legal documents), I deemed it appropriate and "safeguarding" to send a disclaimer to my client.

As a professional (anyone) I think that I should advise my clients about any aspect they may not know. This is one case. I will be suggesting them to either include my disclaimer at the end of the above mentioned page (it will be their duty to check if it is allowed by their civil law) or to turn the translation official by means of a sworn translation (they will have my Spanish version already) in their country or wherever they want.

Finally, I hope that from our interchange (Noelia and Patricia included) non-sworn translators come to know that we should be working together to protect our activity, our knowledge and ourselves within a framework of legal security, either locally or abroad, by stating a disclaimer or by establishing clear rules between client and supplier.

Thank you a lot and as we say here warmly and respectfully: "A huge hug".


[Edited at 2006-03-26 15:07]


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Marisa Condurso de Nohara  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I couldn't get this part, what do you mean? Mar 26, 2006

Karolis Butkevicius wrote:

Perhaps in your country it will be possible to sign a contract (that's of course only if you are doing the translation officially. otherwise you shouldn't worry about legal action at all, because in that case they could hardly prove it was you. And even if they did they would the face fraud charges for not accounting your salary) between you and teh compnay that says they they undertake any consequeces of maltranslation.



Dear Karolis,
I could not understand the extent of your opinion stated above, because if the client receives an invoice from a supplier for a service provided, how is it that they cannot prove that said supplier was the one involved in providing the service?

I run my activity legally, my clients receive an email with an invoice, either PDF or a Word read only doc, and I print an original (by duplicate as per tax authorities regulations) of all and every cent I receive from my activity. An invoice IS a document, and it proves that I have rendered a service. Why should the company in question be charged by fraud for not accounting my salary? I am not their employee, I am a supplier, so no "salary" must be inforced, but the payment of an invoice.

I am curious about these interesting claims you've done. If you have time tell me why you've considered them.
Regards.


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Elizabeth Ardans  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 03:55
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
non official translations Mar 26, 2006

This is a very interesting topic! Thanks for all the information.

I have a doubt about this... I'm a sworn translator in my country, but I mostly translate "non official" texts (that is, not signed), mostly sent by email to clients abroad.

In these cases, how can a translator be liable for a translation "mistake"? If you don't sign it (and sometimes you cannot even know if the text was changed after delivery), I don't think there is anything anyone can do against the translator... am I mistaken?


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Marisa Condurso de Nohara  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It just crossed my mind Mar 26, 2006

Elizabeth Ardans wrote:

.........I'm a sworn translator in my country, but I mostly translate "non official" texts (that is, not signed), mostly sent by email to clients abroad.

In these cases, how can a translator be liable for a translation "mistake"? If you don't sign it (and sometimes you cannot even know if the text was changed after delivery), I don't think there is anything anyone can do against the translator... am I mistaken?


Hola Elizabeth,

I will keep on writing in English just in case any non-Spanish speaking colleague joins us.

Your activity (the way you carry it out) seems quite similar to mine. But what you are saying about "not being identified" as the author of the document's Spanish version is similar to what Karolis said, and though not being completely sure, I think that an invoice for services rendered identifies the translator.

This is a real subject for our legal advisors. Do we have legal advisors in Proz.com?

But you are right when you say that the translation might be changed (even on account of proof-reading activities) by the client. That's why I have never been concerned when dealing with medical/pharmaceutical companies: the have their own proof-readers and if they want to change my translation, for correctness, or for marketing purposes, they can, and that does not affect me at all.

I pose you the same question I did to Karolis: why an invoice does not engage the translator? Am I mixing things up? Nobody will convince me that I've been the first to think about it! Somebody must have thought about this before!

Cariños,
Marisa


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Marisa Condurso de Nohara  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A good way to help others, too Mar 27, 2006

Thank you all! Really.

I hope these commentaries, which helped me understand the legal scope of any action, may help others to clear things up.

If I'm not wrong, I started telling you that I am usually involved in the translation of medical/pharmaceutical texts, activity which never, never has fostered any kind of concern about my service provided to my clients, even when I, like anyone, could make a "mistake".

But you/we should know that there are colleagues who are terribly worried about this issue - remember that I always speak about non-sworn translations - and we, having gathered a good deal of information (interchange mostly) could help them feel more "relaxed".
Our profession is one which grants rewarding moments, text by text, word by word, and we should spur others to keep on enjoying their work without fears.

And all the above (in my case) results from the impression that a colleague's (and Prozian) actual "panic" gave me (not the panic, but the impression) when I read that she/he was desperately wating for his/her client's agreement on the contract stating our colleague's disclaimer, before starting the translation, with a deadline around the corner. After commenting that, our colleague expressed her/his concern for my own means of protection by asking me:

"Do you certainly have your own contract protecting yourself, don't you??????"

And our activities were similar - medicine mostly - and none of us were/are sworn translators.

Again, thanks a lot, and wish you the best, too.

[Edited at 2006-03-27 16:40]


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