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I'm asking the question because I just got off the phone with a law firm in New York who are interested in retaining my services for a rather technical arbitration case in Paris.

Two things came up immediately. One was confidentiality and easy to address. The other was, do you have professional liability insurance? To which I could only answer No.

My potential client is concerned that I may commit some mistranslation that could result in serious damages. To which I replied that I would be preparing hard for this case, and since I would be doing consecutive interpreting I would be able to ask questions if I felt there was a risk of mistranslation. Of course I insisted on getting the full documentation in advance and having a briefing with the lawyer the day before.

So the question is:

  • are there conference interpreter colleagues out there with professional liability insurance?
  • are there specialised insurance carriers for interpreters?

asked 12 Oct '11, 23:03

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

edited 13 Oct '11, 00:05

After having enquired myself, policy coverage will depend on your country of permanent residence. You should enquire whether they cover you completely for professional and civil liability at home and abroad.

As a freelancer it's your responsibility, specially when dealing with american or british companies to make sure you're sufficiently covered so my advice would be to contact a reputable local insurance broker.

I'm not aware of specialised insurance providers for interpreters for professional and civil liability

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answered 06 Nov '11, 18:03

Marta%20Piera%20Marin's gravatar image

Marta Piera ...

For what it is worth, all Assointerpreti members in Italy (Assointerpreti is the national association of conference interpreters) have to be covered by a civil liability policy. 50% is paid by the association out of membership dues, the rest is footed by members individually. Touch wood, none of the members have had to resort to it to date.

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answered 02 Apr '12, 13:51

olol's gravatar image


Several years ago I spoke to an insurance broker in the UK about coverage for conference interpreters. The answer was that is is not a coverable risk because you do not have a source and target language as you would with a translation. Any claim would generally end up being your word against theirs. As MSR says in this thread, AIIC has negotiated world wide coverage via a Spanish broker - but any claims would have to be approved by a Spanish court.

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answered 28 Jan '12, 07:54

Pip's gravatar image


edited 28 Jan '12, 07:58

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

I confirm what MSR says above, i.e. we did negotiate a professional liability insurance in Spain with Berkley, which covers mistakes, accidents, loss of confidential documents, etc… Since it was not promoted by the AIIC Insurance group (for the reasons MSR mentioned), very few people have taken it so far. I am one of them. I had to contract the insurance in order to be able to take part in certain calls for tenders, such as the Singapore Youth Olympics which required it, and colleagues whom I recruit are automatically covered for the duration of their contract. Don’t hesitate to contact me for more details.

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answered 07 Apr '12, 16:40

Danielle's gravatar image


There is a related article by Marta Stelmaszak in her blog, which you may find interesting:

"No translator has ever been sued, so insurance is a waste of money"

Indeed I would agree that liability insurances depend on the client's country, USA and UK based companies being more prone to demand insurances.

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answered 27 Apr '13, 08:29

Delete's gravatar image

Delete ♦

edited 30 Apr '13, 11:17

...might I add that aiic colleagues in Spain did negotiate such a policy, which aiic's Insurance group managed to open up to colleagues from elsewhere BUT coverage will only kick in after a Spanish court has passed judgement on the liability case in question or a foreign judgement has been subject to a Spanish exequator procedure, ie validated by a Spanish court... :-(

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answered 27 Jan '12, 11:53

msr's gravatar image


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question asked: 12 Oct '11, 23:03

question was seen: 7,741 times

last updated: 30 Apr '13, 11:17 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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