Passport number asked in an NGO
Thread poster: Fabio Descalzi

Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 11:28
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 17, 2011

Hi

A fellow translator has been asked by an NGO to fill in the blanks of a Commitment Letter ("Carta de Compromiso") and sign it. The organization is a local branch of the Red Cross.

The point with my question is that one of the data required is "Passport or ID number"; notice that the fellow translator asked to fill and sign this resides in a different country.

Is this a usual practice?

[Edited at 2011-09-17 13:43 GMT]


 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:28
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Normal in some countries but I hesitate to provide it Sep 17, 2011

In Spain, for instance, they write their national ID numbers on all sorts of documents, and no one thinks twice about it. It's part of the culture.

When working for Spanish clients, I'm sometimes asked for my U.S. Tax ID number (i.e., Social Security Number) or passport number. I don't generally provide it.


 

Suzanne Blangsted (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:28
Danish to English
+ ...
Deny passport/ID number Sep 17, 2011

If the translator isn't comfortable with the request, the information should not be given out and the request ignored, submitting the contract without giving that information.

I personally would never give out any such information. I have always explained to my clients that my ID will be given by phone once a year for tax purposes and found the client is satisfied with that explanation.

Blangsted


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:28
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not necessary Sep 17, 2011

If they insist in requesting the passport number, I'd tell them to put their voluntary jobs where the sun don't shine**.

** I do not intend to be rude. I meant to say in a drawer!


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 08:28
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Maybe reasonable Sep 17, 2011

If it it just to verify the translator's identity, there are other documents to do that with. But it may be reasonable in this case if the job may require travel at some time.

 

Daniel García
English to Spanish
+ ...
I don't find it so strange Sep 17, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

If they insist in requesting the passport number, I'd tell them to put their voluntary jobs where the sun don't shine**.

** I do not intend to be rude. I meant to say in a drawer!


Tomás, I have seen several "Cartas de compromiso" from different Red Cross organisations (you can google them if you want) and they look quite a bit like a formal contract.

In them, the volunteer declares (among other things) that he will be helping the Red Cross on an unpaid basis.

I can imagine that they might require this level of formality in order to avoid situation where people want to charge them for their services or want to claim that they were hired as staff.

In this context, asking for an ID number or passport number seems normal when you are talking about a formal contract between two parties.

Daniel


PS Is that shiny reference a normal idiom in English too? I have heard it in Spanish but I have not heard it in English (yet).


 

Will Masters  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
...where the sun don't shine Sep 17, 2011

Daniel García wrote:

PS Is that shiny reference a normal idiom in English too? I have heard it in Spanish but I have not heard it in English (yet).


Obviously I can't speak for the rest of the english speaking world but here in the UK it is still widely used. Personally, childish though it may be, it always makes me smile whenever I hear it used when I'm going about the place.

Is the spanish equivalent the literal translation or bare any resemblance lexically to the english? I don't think I ever heard it used when I was in Spain


 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:28
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Linguistic off-topic Sep 18, 2011

Daniel García wrote:
PS Is that shiny reference a normal idiom in English too? I have heard it in Spanish but I have not heard it in English (yet).


It's used a bit differently. In English, I've only heard it in the euphemistic expression "Put it (or stick/shove it) where the sun don't shine," which is the English equivalent of "Métetelo donde te quepa."

In recent years I've occasionally heard "Métetelo donde no brilla el sol" in Spanish, but I think it's one of those literal renderings from English that people pick up from hastily done audiovisual translations.

[Edited at 2011-09-19 12:23 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:28
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I entirely agree! Sep 18, 2011

Steven Capsuto wrote:
In recent years I've occasionally heard "Métetelo donde no brilla el sol" in Spanish, but I think it's one of those literal renderings from English that people pick up from hastily done audiovisual translations.

Exactly. I have never heard it in Spanish, so any cases of it being used must be the result of poorly translated audiovisuals.


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:28
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Note & question Sep 19, 2011

In Spain, ID number is also Tax ID number, so to that extent its being given to any supplier is covered by tax laws (an official invoice has to contain the customer's tax ID no. Note that things like restaurant bills are not mandatorily covered by this requirement; but if you want an invoice with product warranty for purposes of consumer protection, for example, it's a different story). Passport number is not provided because it changes every 10 years -- although a Spanish passport number would lead directly to a permanent ID number in the records.

My question in this regard is, would not a tax ID number be the proper thing to give? For one, it identifies tax jurisdiction. Passports only specify nationality, without actual residence data. It could muddle up information about a foreigner subject to Uruguayan taxes, for example. I would suggest he ask more information as to why.


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:28
French to English
Not to me :-) Sep 20, 2011

Daniel García wrote:
In this context, asking for an ID number or passport number seems normal when you are talking about a formal contract between two parties.


I would find it quite odd, to be honest, living as a I do in a country where we don't have a single national i/d card and, therefore, no number. As has been pointed out on similar threads before, the nearest is probably our NI number, but I wouldn't give it out to anyone unless there were tax/social security/employment/medical factors in take into account.

Which, working unpaid for an NGO, there obviously wouldn't be.

And while one would expect most translators to travel, not everyone necessarily has a passport at any given moment (mine runs out soon, for instance!) and the number changes anyway, so it is not permanent information.

As I've said before, my reaction would be to ask what function this number is intended to perform, what purpose does it serve? And then I would see if this need can be met in some other way. And if it can't, I would decide what to do next on the basis of how the discussion had been conducted.


 


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