agencies asking a checker to certify a document
Thread poster: Jiaying Ma

Jiaying Ma
Australia
Local time: 23:21
English to Chinese
+ ...
Aug 17

Hi all,

Recently, two agencies asked me if I can review and certify documents translated by someone else.
As far as I know, it is usually the original translator's responsibility to certify the translation, not the checker.

Since two agencies asked me whether I am comfortable this arrangement and willing to do it, it makes me wonder if it is the new norm now.

So far I told them that I don't feel comfortable about it.


I think by accepting this arrangement, you not only help agencies to find low paid translators, but also put a risk on yourself, as you have to put stamp on the document, and only get paid half.


What are your thoughts?

Thank you


 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Just set your rate Aug 17

Hi Jiaying,

I also get these requests when they have had the documents translated elsewhere but need a NAATI stamp.

After previewing the documents, I'll determine whether they need a re-translation (often the case with ID docs) or just a proof/edit and will quote accordingly.

Most of the time the rate I give is that of a full-translation. My justification is the expense of gaining and keeping NAATI certification.

However, if only a proof is required, set the rate you're comfortable with and proceed accordingly.

Best of luck!

DJH


Natasha Ziada
TargamaT team
Ricardo Suin
José Henrique Lamensdorf
 

Jiaying Ma
Australia
Local time: 23:21
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Aug 17

Hi Dylan,

Though I think usually they ask a non-NAATI translator to do the translation because they are cheaper.
So requesting a full translation fee might not work but I'll give it a go in the future.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:21
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Agreed Aug 17

Jiaying Ma wrote:
I think by accepting this arrangement, you not only help agencies to find low paid translators, but also put a risk on yourself, as you have to put stamp on the document, and only get paid half.

It doesn't do anybody any favours, other than the agency involved.


José Henrique Lamensdorf
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:21
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I think it is logical to have the person who finalizes the file to certify it Aug 17

Your may have made a lot of changes to the translation when you finalize it. It doesn't make sense to have the original translator certify it, unless s/he is paid to accept/reject your changes.

Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres
 

Jiaying Ma
Australia
Local time: 23:21
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your reply Aug 17

Hi jyuan_us,

it is the original translator's responsibility to finalise the translation.


José Henrique Lamensdorf
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:21
French to English
Code of conduct for certified translations in Australia? Aug 17

If the NAATI certification carries with it a code of conduct, then it would be a good idea to consult that document. If there is a code of conduct, then it may be silent on this matter. Alternatively, it is possible that only guidelines exist, or indeed nothing at all.

The fact that the agency is asking if you are "comfortable" with this, suggests that it is not a usual (or authorized?) procedure. It would be worth checking out to make sure you are not in breach of any code of conduct or guidelines. It might be one of those fine-line situations, where although it is not prohibited, it might not be expected from an ethical point of view. Ethics are guiding principles, a code of conduct defines the application of those principles. People often confuse these two terms. There is a distinction between the two, essentially the difference between the spirit and the letter of the "law", although this is not about the law, as such.
So, the code may not exist, it may be silent on this aspect, thus not forbidden. If there is access to the ethical principles upon which any rules or guidelines were based, then that is where you will find the spirit of what should guide you in making decisions of this type.

https://www.naati.com.au/media/1257/ethics_information_booklet.pdf
https://ausit.org//AUSIT/Documents/Code_Of_Ethics_Full.pdf

By way of example, in France, a "traducteur assermenté" (translator certified by the regional Court of Appeal) must only certify his/her own translations, theoretically. If a certified translator submits a certified translation to a client, the client should not, of course, modify the translation post-certification.

However, I can see the difference where a client already holds a translation and subsequently seeks certification of that work. It seems to be a bit on the fine line, from an ethical point of view. That said, if the person reviewing charges the full price for a certified translation, and goes ahead to certify it, then is the (certified) reviewer making this translation his/her own? What if nothing needs changing? Is the (certified) reviewer then not running into intellectual property problems, basically passing someone else's work off as his/her own?

These are tricky questions and probably boils down to respecting the spirit of the rules rather than the letter of the rules.

[Edited at 2018-08-17 16:12 GMT]


Viviane Marx
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:21
French to English
Dodgy Aug 18

Jiaying Ma wrote:

Though I think usually they ask a non-NAATI translator to do the translation because they are cheaper.



If this is the case, then it looks as though the agency is deliberately seeking to go against the rules and regulations of certification. Bear in mind that the agent will be charging a very high rate to the client, precisely because it is producing a certified translation.

In any event, the agent appears to be playing a very unfair and dishonest game here:
- the original translator is having his/her sold at an artificially inflated price
- the agency is probably expecting to have a NAATI-certified translator effectively "rubber-stamp" someone else's work, thereby doing them out of their role of providing a certified translation
- the agency seems to be penny-pinching to increase its margin, and very much off the back of others.
Lack of respect for translators. Bad news.

[Edited at 2018-08-18 20:45 GMT]


 

Jiaying Ma
Australia
Local time: 23:21
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Nikki Aug 25

I see your point. Maybe it is okay to do it if the client already has the translation and want someone with NAATI certificate to check it and certify it.
But usually agencies aren't very transparent, they wouldn't tell you who did the translation and why they need you to certify the work.

I agree that they lack of respect for translators. But unfortunately they only care about making profits.
As a translator the only thing we can do is avoid those assignments and warn others.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:21
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I see your point Aug 25

Jiaying Ma wrote:

Hi jyuan_us,

it is the original translator's responsibility to finalise the translation.


But I don't understand why. If it is the original translator's responsibility to finalise the translation, why does the client need to use a proofreader in the first place?


 

Jiaying Ma
Australia
Local time: 23:21
English to Chinese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
it is in the code of ethics published by AUSIT Aug 25

jyuan_us wrote:

Jiaying Ma wrote:

Hi jyuan_us,

it is the original translator's responsibility to finalise the translation.


But I don't understand why. If it is the original translator's responsibility to finalise the translation, why does the client need to use a proofreader in the first place?


If a translation is subject to revision or checking by another translator, the
revision is returned to the original translator for approval and finalisation.
Please read T9 in this link https://ausit.org//AUSIT/Documents/Code_Of_Ethics_Full.pdf


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:21
French to English
Certified translation Aug 25

Maybe the client forgot to say the translation had to be done by someone officially registered to do certified translations, or the agency forgot. Either way up, it seems dodgy, or as though the agency is trying to avoid the expense of paying a certified translator to redo the job. This is just more trouble than it's worth.

 

Sorana_M.
Romania
Local time: 16:21
English to Romanian
Sworn translator Aug 25

In Romania, this is forbidden unless the checker is a sworn translator. And one becomes a sworn translator either through the Ministry of Justice, or through the Ministry of Culture.

Plus, the sworn translator is expected to apply his/her stamp and signature only for the translations he/she has performed himself/herself.


[Edited at 2018-08-25 17:45 GMT]


Nikki Scott-Despaigne
 

Maddison Norris  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 23:21
Member (2016)
Chinese to English
It depends Sep 16

I've had one similar request before. The agency point blank stated it was someone else's translation and they just needed it to be NAATI certified. I refused and offered to re-do the whole translation myself.
Generally I don't think it's right to stamp someone else's work. You may as well rent out your stamp to any old person.

However, in saying that, another similar request that I've recently completed that I think is somewhat more acceptable - was a list of product names that the company had already translated "themselves" (whether they actually had another translator do this or not I don't know) and I was asked to simply "certify" their translations, as they were specific product names that they wanted a certain way. I don't know why they needed them to be certified, but I basically proofread the document and stamped it.

*shrugs*

I guess it depends on the specifics of the request.


 


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