;   Medical Translation Insight: Quality authoring instead of liability insurance? - ForeignExchange Translations

Quality authoring instead of liability insurance?

Quality is a given in medical translations. Sure, clients care about money, and turnaround is becoming increasingly important too. However, if a medical translation provider cannot guarantee quality, pretty much nothing else matters.

And with good reason. The absence of quality in translation can easily lead to law suits, product recalls, and can even endanger patients' lives.

More and more drug and device companies are realizing that in those situations, "going after" a typical translation providers yields scant compensation - some PCs and desks and a bunch of receivables. In other words, nothing that a top 100 drug and device company would be interested in.

More and more of our clients are now insisting that we carry professional liability insurance. This "errors & omissions insurance" provides coverage for mistakes or negligence. One financial Web site says that E&O insurance "can help protect a company against claims for financial injury that allege a product failed or the company failed to perform services, causing a loss of use of tangible or intangible property to others."

Lots of folks decry this trend as a shocking and a clear sign of how our society is becoming more and more litigious. That may be right or it may be the equivalent to fighting windmills.

But a recent article in tcworld argues that the trend to risk analysis (and risk management) is a positive one for the translation industry. In Translation and liability, the author opines that many translation providers try to take the easy way out (by not including their Ts & Cs in a contract) and not thinking about liability issues because they think by disavowing an liability, they will be covered. (But can a few paragraphs in the contract really restrict the liability to the client?)

Most interesting, though, is the author's view that instead of E&O insurance, it is the authoring process that should get the attention of translation clients:
"The most important instrument for avoiding liabilities resulting from general mistakes in the instructions, is within the documentation itself: Make sure you have experienced and trained technical editors producing the documentation and that they have made it easy to understand. We all know that documentation dictated by engineers and developers may be filled with strange terminology and lengthy sentences. Such a documentation can definitely not be translated without errors, regardless of how good the translator might be and regardless of how many drinks he might have had or not."
Good advice - that will probably fall on deaf ears at corporate procurement and legal departments. Nonetheless, while medical translation providers won't be able to do without E&O insurance anytime soon, their real protection comes from helping clients improve their source materials.

For more on this topic, take a look at:
For expert medical translations of regulatory, clinical, and marketing content, request a detailed proposal from ForeignExchange Translations.

1 Comment:

  1. Russisch √úbersetzer said...
    Medical translations are a really tough matter! Everything HAS to be perfect. However a liability insurance is something an advertising agency has to have, as you NEVER know what can happen...

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