translation quality certificate for lawyers
Thread poster: SarahRincent

SarahRincent  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:07
Member (2016)
French to German
+ ...
Jul 11, 2016

Dear colleagues,
one of my clients, a translation agency, asked me to establish a certificate in order to attest the "quality" / correctness of my translation work. I have never been asked before and I do not feel comfortable to establish this kind of certificate. This certificate is not for the translation agency but for the lawyers who originally asked the translation.
It is not a sworn translation. Do you need to establish this kind of certificate? Do you think that this might be a risk for me?
Do you think that I am obliged to establish the certificate.
Thank you so much in advance for your answers.
Best regards,
Sarah


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Suzanne Smart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:07
Italian to English
+ ...
I also feel uncomfortable with it Jul 11, 2016

Hi Sarah,

First of all, what do you mean by "establish"? Do you mean create a certificate or sign one provided by the agency?
I am often asked to sign certificates attesting to the quality of a translation I have either provided or proofread and I hate it! I have asked several colleagues their opinions about this and been surprised to find that most do not see any problem. One very knowledgeable colleague, however, was of the opinion that it is an extra service that should be charged and that it opens us up to liability (which is my main concern). He advised charging for the certificate rather than simply signing as part of the translation deal. Others have suggested sending PDF versions that cannot be altered and ensuring that the certificate you sign relates to your own work, not to final versions that have been altered by the agency, end client or another translator. I did once have a client ask me to sign a certificate and when I asked if it was my version they admitted that it was a final, edited version that I hadn't even seen!!
Personally, I simply do not understand why it is the freelancer's responsibility to sign such things and not the agency's. The client's contract is with the agency, not with us. I have argued many times with agencies to insist on this practice and never actually managed to win. What I especially hate is when they don't mention the certificate until after you have done the translation!!
At the very least, I would advise you to ensure that the certificate contains the phrase "to the best of my knowledge and belief" and if it doesn't, add it.
I fully agree with you on this subject and hate it when my clients do it to me. I would be very interested to know what other advice you receive and how you tackle this. Good luck!


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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:07
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
A simple template Jul 11, 2016

I have used the following template for many years:

I, [name of translator], hereby certify that the foregoing is an accurate translation of the original in [source language], and that I am competent in [target language] and [source language] to render said translation.
I certify the validity of any document presented for translation.

________________ ____________________
translator's signature date


In addition, I always print this statement out on my own stationery.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
It's no big deal Jul 11, 2016

It's perfectly normal practice, just so that the court (or end client, or whatever) knows that you're a professional who knows what they're talking about. You're vouching for the quality of your work, and I don't think it's something you should charge extra for.

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liviu roth
United States
Local time: 16:07
Romanian to English
+ ...
agree with Yolanda & Phil Jul 11, 2016

It seems to me, that we have a slightly different view of handling situations in our profession. My take is that European translators are more cautious, while we, Americans, are more pragmatic.

I may be wrong, but that is my feeling.


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SarahRincent  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:07
Member (2016)
French to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you very much! Jul 11, 2016

Dear Yolanda, Dear Susan,
Thank you very much for your answers.
I think that I actually used the wrong word when I said "establish". I wanted to say "sign" a certificate of the agency.
It's exactly the question of liability that makes me feel uncomfortable.
I think that I will try to negociate with the agency. I completely agree that there is no contractual relationship between me and the end client. I will mention this argument.
And I will keep you informed.
Thank you very much.
Have a nice evening.
Sarah


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Schtroumpf
Local time: 22:07
German to French
+ ...
May well be a signal that this agency is an honest one Jul 12, 2016

By issuing such a certificate, some agencies may disclose the translator's identity to the lawyers just in order to prove that they work with qualified professionals. It all depends on the content of the certificate they want you to sign. Is it only about your having translated the text yourself, for instance, or having had a close look to it for necessary corrections? In this case, it just means that you worked as usual.

Sorry for continuing in French, but the asker working in France, I take this liberty because it will be easier for me.

Vous faites bien de signaler qu'il ne s'agira pas d'une traduction certifiée conforme (par un traducteur expert assermenté, donc). Tant que vous n'usurpez pas cette qualité précise, vous pouvez certifier tout ce que vous voulez, du moment que cela correspond bien aux faits.

N'hésitez pas non plus à consulter la page de la SFT sur les traducteurs experts si l'agence vous fait travailler pour un cabinet d'avocats français. Vous y trouverez certainement quelques arguments rassurants pour savoir comment ne pas transgresser d'interdit par rapport aux traductions certifiées :
http://www.sft.fr/experts-judiciaires.html#.V4UfQaJa34Y
et les sous-pages cliquables à cet endroit.

Ce que les professionnels apprécient beaucoup moins, c'est que l'on fasse traduire un traducteur (pas cher) pour ensuite demander à l'expert assermenté d'apposer son tampon dessus pour certification. Cette méthode est contraire aux engagements pris par les experts lorsqu'ils interviennent pour la justice, et il me semble seulement logique que l'on respecte la même règle hors procédure : à savoir que celui qui signe est celui qui traduit, ou au moins celui qui révise entièrement la traduction.


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SarahRincent  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:07
Member (2016)
French to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Very helpful answers Jul 13, 2016

Dear colleagues,
Thank you again for your answers and advice.
It is really interesting to see that there are so many different ways to handle things.
I finally signed a declaration that I had modified a bit because the original declaration mentioned translations done by other translators. I also indicated that this translation was not a sworn translation.
It helps me a lot to know that the demand of this kind of declaration is usual and frequent. I feel less alone and more comfortable
Have a nice evening.
Sarah


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