"certificate of accuracy" requested
Thread poster: badr-L

badr-L
Morocco
Local time: 19:30
Member (2011)
English to French
+ ...
Aug 22, 2013

Dear translators,

I have been asked today to deliver a certificate of accuracy about a proofreading I made on last March.

I am a bit confused because I never had to give such certification.

Although, I am a professional translator and expert on the subject (financial translation) I am not a sworn or certified translator.

My first thought is to refuse to sign such certificate, what do you think?

Please could you help me solve this situation and give me your feedback and experience related to similar situations.

Also, if I have to sign which sentences I have to add to protect my liability.

Thanks a lot in advance.


 

David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 20:30
German to English
+ ...
Curious Aug 22, 2013

I wonder whether such a certificate would be worth the paper it was written on. After all, you say you're not a certified translator.

What difference should the certificate make to any liability or guarantee, since if you did the work badly in the first place they'd have a claim against you, and the certificate wouldn't make this better or worse.

I'd ask them why they need it, and if the reason sounds good, I'd probably give it, but perhaps beginning with the words "To the best of my knowledge ..."


 

badr-L
Morocco
Local time: 19:30
Member (2011)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I think I should decline Aug 22, 2013

Thank you David,
Anyway, I think I should decline.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:30
Russian to English
+ ...
You don't have to be a certified translator to Aug 22, 2013

execute a certificate of accuracy. There are no certified translators in certain countries, like the US. You become personally liable for the content of the translation when you sign a certificate of accuracy. It has to be signed before a Notary Public, in the US.

And yes, if you sign it you are equally liable, even if you are just a beginning translator, as the person with two PhDs and fifty years of experience. A Certificate of Accuracy is a perfectly valid and binding document, in the US.



[Edited at 2013-08-22 12:47 GMT]


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:30
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Not a strange request Aug 22, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:
It has to be signed before a Notary public, in the US.


Sometimes, but not necessarily. I've signed plenty of them that didn't have to be notarized.

Anyway, a COA is not really a strange request, at least from US agencies.


 

badr-L
Morocco
Local time: 19:30
Member (2011)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
When the COA is asked Aug 22, 2013

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

LilianBNekipelo wrote:
It has to be signed before a Notary public, in the US.


Sometimes, but not necessarily. I've signed plenty of them that didn't have to be notarized.

Anyway, a COA is not really a strange request, at least from US agencies.



But did they ask you to sign the COA before or after doing the job.

In my case, it's six month after the delivery, is that also normal.

Other issue is, from my point of view, the client is the translation agency not the final client.

Why didn't the agency sign the COA ? (assuming that they have all the necessary resources, including freelancers, to deliver a "good" translation)


 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:30
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It is not unusual to be asked for a COA Aug 22, 2013

but it is unusual to be asked for it when you only proofread the document. I have only ever been asked for a COA for documents I was translating.
Usually it is the translator who is asked to certify the accuracy of his/her translation.
It is also very odd that they are asking you this 6 months on.
Normal practice is to request this at the time of requesting the translation.

I think that if I were you, I would refuse on the grounds that a) you didn't translate the document and b) they are asking you to certify something you did 6 months ago and you have no idea what has happened to this document in the meantime (whether it's been amended, published, used etc.).

Besides, if you provide a COA, you need to provide the translation in an uneditable format. If you've provided it in Word along with a separate document containing the COA, what's to prevent the agency from changing the translation ex post and then using your COA to cover their backs? Or even using your COA for something else?

You could always suggest that if this COA is important to them, you don't mind translating the document from scratch and providing a COA along with it. I recommend, rather than providing a separate document, making a note on the translation itself with your details, the date and your signature and something that says "I, X, hereby certify that to the best of my knowledge, this translation accurately represents the meaning of the original document".

As Lilian rightly said, you don't need to be a certified or sworn translator to provide a COA unless the jurisdiction in question requires this.

Equally, you don't need a COA to be notarized unless this has been asked for.

Depending on what the COA needs to be used for, you may need to send the original and staple it to the source document.


I hate to be cynical but the fact that they're asking this of you 6 months down the line and specifically the proofreader rather than the translator sounds to me as though they've had some kind of problem and want to brush it off on you.
Perhaps the translator has already refused.

I would treat this with caution.


 

badr-L
Morocco
Local time: 19:30
Member (2011)
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The agency chose to sign the COA it-self Aug 22, 2013

Thank you all for your wise & helpful answers,

Finally the agency (which a serious and well-known one) chose to sign the COA it-self after I mentioned that their seriousness and reputation must be sufficient to give a pledge of accuracy to the client.

My problem is solved, thanks to your help.

But I would like to rise this concern about the liability of the translator and one of the questions is :" Is it the translator who is responsible for the final quality of the job or the agency who controls the whole process?"

And How the agencies controls the quality when sometimes deliver without proofreading ?
We still human and I don't believe that documents with more than 50k words are free from mistakes.

And finally we, translators are liable for our translation tasks how could we protect ourselves (insurance, ...)

Thank you.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:30
Russian to English
+ ...
If you edit something you are fu lly responsible for it Aug 22, 2013

badr-L wrote:

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

LilianBNekipelo wrote:
It has to be signed before a Notary public, in the US.


Sometimes, but not necessarily. I've signed plenty of them that didn't have to be notarized.

Anyway, a COA is not really a strange request, at least from US agencies.



But did they ask you to sign the COA before or after doing the job.

In my case, it's six month after the delivery, is that also normal.

Other issue is, from my point of view, the client is the translation agency not the final client.

Why didn't the agency sign the COA ? (assuming that they have all the necessary resources, including freelancers, to deliver a "good" translation)


Then you should state "I edited the document" not "translated it". A company cannot certify anything, neither can they notarize anything as a company -- there is individual liability in most countries in cases like that.

I think the editor is the person most responsible for the final translation. If they sign the certificate, they may actually be the only one liable -- not the proofreader, who checks mostly typos and small grammatical mistakes.


[Edited at 2013-08-22 14:47 GMT]


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:30
English to Polish
+ ...
Those certificates exist to put the legal responsibility on you Aug 22, 2013

badr-L wrote:

Rudolf Vedo CT wrote:

LilianBNekipelo wrote:
It has to be signed before a Notary public, in the US.


Sometimes, but not necessarily. I've signed plenty of them that didn't have to be notarized.

Anyway, a COA is not really a strange request, at least from US agencies.



But did they ask you to sign the COA before or after doing the job.

In my case, it's six month after the delivery, is that also normal.

Other issue is, from my point of view, the client is the translation agency not the final client.

Why didn't the agency sign the COA ? (assuming that they have all the necessary resources, including freelancers, to deliver a "good" translation)


...And an agency will naturally tend to maximise mark-up while minimising responsibility, apart from legitimate requests concerning very complex, advanced jobs with lots of risks involved if something gets mistranslated.

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

I think the editor is the person most responsible for the final translation. If they sign the certificate, they may actually be the only one liable -- not the proofreader, who checks mostly typos and small grammatical mistakes.


To clarify, what Lilian refers to is that in the English-speaking world proofreader tends to be a low-profile job for which often no degree is required and no creative or analytical effort either required or permitted. Getting the spelling and punctuation right is what it's mostly about. On the other hand, the continental world employs people whose job is 'correction', that'd be proofreading plus revising plus a little editing but not necessarily the kind of editing that you'd call 'redaction', for which separate professionals are employed. To sum up, the job of the continental proofreaders is basically post-editing of human translation, while in the native English-speaking world proofreaders are usually lower-profile punctuation fixers.

[Edited at 2013-08-22 18:35 GMT]


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:30
Russian to English
+ ...
Proofreaders are no low profile at all -- they are just not responsible for transltion errors. Aug 22, 2013

Many have Master's degrees, or are former language teachers, or language studies students. They have to be fully familiar with various manuals of style.

 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:30
English to Polish
+ ...
... Aug 23, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

Many have Master's degrees, or are former language teachers, or language studies students. They have to be fully familiar with various manuals of style.


Lilian, in some business sectors degrees are required of them but not in all, and I guess the esteem they enjoy varies accordingly. In quite a few, though, it's a deadbeat job that comes down to fixing the spelling and punctuation. As for manuals of style, most of the information they contain is recap from primary or secondary school.


 


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