Insurance
Thread poster: Marina Steinbach

Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:50
Member
English to German
Jul 4, 2011

Hello,

I would like to know if, especially in the United States, it would be wise to insure oneself against a faulty translation (e.g. in case of manuals).

Your comments are very much appreciated.

Marina


 

Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:50
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Always Jul 4, 2011

Its always wise to have professional indemnity insurance in place. Since my background is in law and I have seen what can happen when things go wrong, I would never undertake work without it. Even if one confident in one's ability as a translator, there will always be those who will argue that a particular passage should have been translated in a different way after the event. Ultimately we are all human and there is the risk that one will make a mistake at some point. Therefore I would recommen... See more
Its always wise to have professional indemnity insurance in place. Since my background is in law and I have seen what can happen when things go wrong, I would never undertake work without it. Even if one confident in one's ability as a translator, there will always be those who will argue that a particular passage should have been translated in a different way after the event. Ultimately we are all human and there is the risk that one will make a mistake at some point. Therefore I would recommend taking out insurance, since it provides peace of mind for a relatively modest price.Collapse


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
In memoriam
Never Jul 4, 2011

Every time I see this subject come up, I have been asking the same question for years:

Is anyone aware of any instance in which a translator has been sued for professional liability?

Until now, the answer has always been silence. Thus, from that it may be concluded that professional liability insurance for translators is not necessary.


 

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:50
Swedish to English
+ ...
... Jul 4, 2011

Henry Hinds wrote:

Is anyone aware of any instance in which a translator has been sued for professional liability?


Although I haven't personally encountered any such cases, this is an instance when the translator might have been:

http://tsikot.com/forums/volvo-cars-talk-127/volvo-fined-200-000-euros-faulty-brakes-cause-fatal-car-crash-france-46732/

According to Volvo "fanns det vissa brister i översättningen till de franska mekanikerna" ("there were some deficiencies in the translation [supplied] to the French mechanics").

http://www.bilsport.se/news.php?id=63669

With any insurance, it's always a matter of weighting up the likelihood of the insured event happening and the cost of putting that event right. For example, I've paid for contents, and when appropriate buildings, insurance for most of my adult life. So if my house was burgled, burnt down or flooded I would have been able to get back to more or less where I was.

Has it paid off? In no way, so far I've never been burgled or had my house burnt down or flooded - knock on wood. But if any of these events had happened, would I have had the resources to get back on my feet? Probably not. Like most ordinary people, I do not have a savings account large enough to cover those kind of events.

So I will continue to pay for these, and other insurance policies, until I'm in a financial position to cover any and all eventualities when they occur.


[Edited at 2011-07-04 19:47 GMT]


 

Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:50
Swedish to English
+ ...
Delayed threat Jul 8, 2011

Madeleine's interesting example raises a further point: a serious error in your translation may not be discovered until some years later. So having insurance at the time you did the translation is not enough. Logically, you should continue to have insurance for years, even after you retire from translation. A mis-translation may come back to haunt you years later, until the Statute of Limitations protects you from legal action 15 years after you retire.

 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:50
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Tail insurance Jul 8, 2011

Peter Linton wrote:

Madeleine's interesting example raises a further point: a serious error in your translation may not be discovered until some years later. So having insurance at the time you did the translation is not enough. Logically, you should continue to have insurance for years, even after you retire from translation. A mis-translation may come back to haunt you years later, until the Statute of Limitations protects you from legal action 15 years after you retire.


In the US we call this tail coverage. I'm sure that all sorts of liability policies include it, so it's probably an over-generalization to say that you aren't covered, e.g., after you retire and are no longer paying for the insurance. It would depend on the specifics of the policy.

On a side note, it's worth noting that, perhaps more importantly than actually awarded damages, liability coverage also covers attorneys fees incurred in defending yourself against a lawsuit. Even if you claim you that you don't need insurance because a potential plaintiff's chances of winning a judgement against you are slim to (hopefully) none, that doesn't mean they can't or won't try, and defending yourself can easily cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.


 


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