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Professional indemnity insurance
Thread poster: Doris Else Lange

Doris Else Lange  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:10
Member (2010)
Italian to German
+ ...
Mar 7, 2012

What is the opinion of the other translators? It is really necessary to have a professional indemnity insurance? What risk do i run without insurance? And where can i find insurances of this type, in my case: Italy, or can i have the insurance in another country?

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:10
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Not always Mar 7, 2012

It is a good thing mainly if you do medical or legal translations or any other field, where making a mistake could have serious consequences.

I don't know what the situation is in Italy, but in Canada, you have to have malpractice insurance if you want to be certified. I also don't know whether you could take out insurance in another country but my guess is probably not. Why would you want to do that?




[Edited at 2012-03-07 20:05 GMT]


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Doris Else Lange  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:10
Member (2010)
Italian to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
an agency request this Mar 7, 2012

Hi Tina,

I live in Italy, but an agency in Germany has requested this insurance as a condition to work for them. Yes, i also work in the medical area. But in Italy i haven´t found such insurance.

Maybe that i must search in the Italian forum.


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:10
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Insurance Mar 7, 2012





[Edited at 2012-03-07 20:59 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:10
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It makes total sense to have insurance Mar 7, 2012

It will very much depend on the kind of agreement you have with your customers, particularly agency customers, but some contracts are particularly harsh and dump all possible losses unto you if you make a proven mistake.

Personally I dislike the idea of losing everything I have worked so hard for because of a mistake that could be lurking around the corner. Medical translation is not my main activity, but responsibility could be as big if a person operating a machine I have translated about presses the wrong button and crushes a fellow worker or something.

As for the cost, we in the office have an insurance of the Wilcox company through a Spanish agent. It is tailored for translators and we have coverage for all our work supplied to US and EU companies, for an annual rate that makes total sense. I would try to talk to your local agents whether they carry this company and would ask them. Or maybe you can contact Wilcox for agencies in your area, just so that you can check what your premium would be.

Also, your local translators' association may have special arrangements with insurance companies to offer insurance to its members. It might be worth checking.


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Doris Else Lange  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:10
Member (2010)
Italian to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
nice Mar 7, 2012

Jeff Whittaker wrote:





[Edited at 2012-03-07 20:59 GMT]


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Doris Else Lange  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:10
Member (2010)
Italian to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
an idea Mar 7, 2012

Thank you. I will try to contact them (if i can find them...).


Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

It will very much depend on the kind of agreement you have with your customers, particularly agency customers, but some contracts are particularly harsh and dump all possible losses unto you if you make a proven mistake.

Personally I dislike the idea of losing everything I have worked so hard for because of a mistake that could be lurking around the corner. Medical translation is not my main activity, but responsibility could be as big if a person operating a machine I have translated about presses the wrong button and crushes a fellow worker or something.

As for the cost, we in the office have an insurance of the Wilcox company through a Spanish agent. It is tailored for translators and we have coverage for all our work supplied to US and EU companies, for an annual rate that makes total sense. I would try to talk to your local agents whether they carry this company and would ask them. Or maybe you can contact Wilcox for agencies in your area, just so that you can check what your premium would be.

Also, your local translators' association may have special arrangements with insurance companies to offer insurance to its members. It might be worth checking.


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Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:10
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The agency I work for only accepts insured translators Mar 7, 2012

I am insured because it is one of the conditions stipulated by the agency I work for. On the other hand, I think it's an extremely good idea.

I would hate to have problems because someone had had an accident that could be blamed on the translation. I remember translating the instruction manual for a chain saw; I took great care with how I worded everything.

The translating agency I work for have come to an agreement with a Spanish insurance company, Santa Lucia. Although I was under no obligation to draw up the policy with them, I asked around and I discovered all the other companies were a lot more expensive.

I admit that knowing I'm insured provides me with greater peace of mind.


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LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:10
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Many reasons to get it... Mar 7, 2012

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Personally I dislike the idea of losing everything I have worked so hard for because of a mistake that could be lurking around the corner.


Absolutely. Not only that, but you even if you win you could find yourself on the hook for thousands - or ten of thousands - of dollars in legal expenses. Unlike translators, lawyers don't work for peanuts!

There is a widespread popular misconception among translators that we are mostly so poor as to be "judgement-proof". I find that hard to believe that, and even if you have few assets, I'm pretty sure that a judgement against you easily force you into bankruptcy - which is no small consequence - or that a court allow a plaintiff to garnish your wages or find some other way of collecting.

There was an interesting article in the ATA Chronicle about this recently. Many people believe that creating a corporate entity through which to conduct your business, and keeping it devoid of any significant assets, will shield them from any personal liability (talking about US law here, of course). However, this isn't necessarily so, according to the article. Having a corporate entity can only shield you from general business liability - for example, in procurement or employment matters, but not professional negligence.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Insurence is useless Mar 8, 2012

Whenever this subject comes up, I always ask the same question as I have been doing for many years: Has any translator ever been sued for professional liability?

I have yet to be provided with any documented case where it has happened; so all I can say is that professional indemnity insurance is useless, and if it exists, it is a ripoff.

Unless someone comes up with a documented case...


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:10
French to English
+ ...
Playing devil's advocate... Mar 8, 2012

Henry Hinds wrote:
Whenever this subject comes up, I always ask the same question as I have been doing for many years: Has any translator ever been sued for professional liability?


I think what you say is pretty much true.

Playing devil's advocate slightly: buying the insurance isn't necessarily about whether you'll actually ever be sued, but more about being able to say to Miscellaneous Corporate Client Inc "I have insurance" (or rather, it's about the accounts manager at Miscellaneous Corporate Client Inc being able to put a tick in the box on their Service Provider Details Form marked "Provider Insurance: Yes/No", and/or answer "yes" when their boss asks "do they have insurance?").

So I'd say, it's more about whether "on paper" it means something to your particular clients.


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Lau Wei Tsinn  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 16:10
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...
90% for peace of mind Mar 8, 2012

I have been toying with the idea of getting myself insured for professional indemnity as well as for income protection not long after I started freelancing. I've made a few enquiries in Singapore where I'm from but it seems that insurance companies only offer this service on a corporate level (for medical, legal and engineering professions) and not to individuals.

I'm still in two minds whether I should continue to pursue this. What is the likelihood that I will ever get to reap the rewards of having an insurance? Like all insurance, it is to protect our interests in the event of unexpected events, which we all hope will never happen. So, in the end, I would say that it is 90% peace of mind and 10% protection, so that we may all translate in happiness. =)


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:10
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depends what's available Mar 8, 2012

At least here in the States, the professional liability policies for translators tend to be expensive and have so many coverage exclusions as to be nearly useless. (No coverage if the client is outside the United States and Canada? We're translators, you silly insurance company!)

Also, as Henry says, generally you get insurance for a problem that has happened to someone somewhere sometime, and I've never heard this being a problem. Ever. Anywhere.

Has anyone heard of a translator facing professional liability losses anywhere in the world?

[Edited at 2012-03-08 09:49 GMT]


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Anne Pinaglia
Netherlands
Local time: 10:10
Member (2011)
Italian to English
+ ...
We've been contemplating the same... Mar 8, 2012

... as we sign NDAs with approximately 90% of my clients, though we've never been asked to offer insurance, the topic came up yesterday - what if we are robbed and confidential information is stolen and diffused? And what if, the company whom it belonged to determines that it constituted a "significant loss" to their business and wanted to take us to court over it?

This is a pretty far-fetched scenario for many reasons (we delete original docs after 30 days, password protect documents, etc.) but it is an important situation to consider nonetheless. And the answer is, I don't know what would happen. Like many of you, I haven't ever heard about a translator being sued by a company but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened. I also suppose that being robbed might be considered something out of the translator's control for which they cannot be held responsible (assuming they can prove due diligence in keeping their computers/documents in a locked area), but I just don't know.

However I can definitely see how a chainsaw manual could be translated by an inexperienced or non-native translator to something like "use firmly on both hands" (ouch!) instead of "hold firmly with both hands" - if someone actually does follow instructions (ouch again!), then is the translator responsible? Or is the company who hired them responsible for having multiple proofreaders to verify the content?

Maybe some of you who have thought of this long before we have will have a bit more information to share. I think we'll look into the insurance too, even if our translations are not those typically insured.


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NR_Stedman  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:10
French to English
What are you taking out insurance for? Mar 8, 2012

Losing a vital translation (fire-explosion) just before a deadline? - neighbours eavesdropping on your internet connection and stealing confidential documents?
As far as translation mistakes are concerned litigation is absolutely unheard of --- so far!: see this excellent article by Jody Byrne http://www.jostrans.org/issue07/art_byrne.php.
She comes to the following conclusion "Translators can protect themselves to a certain extent and limit their liability in the event of defective translations by not overstating their abilities or making unrealistic promises as to the quality of the translations and by keeping clear records of how they deal with problematic parts of a text"


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