Interpreters are bilingual or multilingual professionals, who translate verbal and written communications from one language to another. This includes sign language interpreters.
Interpreters may be hired by individuals, corporations, government entities, lawyers or medical professionals to translate conversations, speeches, interviews and even legal proceedings. If you make an error in a translation that somehow damages your client or another entity, you can be sued and held liable for damages. You need translator insurance to protect your business from these types of incidents as well as other more typical property and liability risks that you might face.
Interpreters and translators have a relatively low risk for property and bodily injury losses. But you still need translator insurance to protect your business and your personal assets in the event that someone is injured on your property or your business sustains physical damage or a property loss.
Commercial general liability insurance offers broad coverage for lawsuits related to third-party bodily injury and property damage. For an interpreter, this might mean:
- a client, vendor or delivery person slips and falls on your business premises.
- you or an employee damages a client’s property.
- you are accused of false advertising, slander or libel.
CGL insurance covers the cost of paying medical bills and replacing damaged property, as well as the cost of your legal defense if you are sued. If you are required to pay a settlement or judgment as a result of a lawsuit, your general liability policy will pay up to the limits of your policy.
Commercial property insurance protects your business property whether it is a building that you own or the contents of your office space (computers, office furniture, supplies, etc.). If your business property is damaged by fire, weather, theft or vandalism, your business property policy pays to repair or replace it.
Your property policy should also include coverage for business interruption, or business income coverage. This valuable coverage pays for ongoing expenses (rent, salaries, etc.) if you are unable to operate or must temporarily relocate after a covered loss (e.g., a fire).
You may qualify for a business owners policy (BOP), which is a convenient package policy designed for small- to medium-sized businesses. With a BOP, you can have liability, property and business interruption coverage in one affordable package customized or your business.
Talk to your independent insurance agent about whether you qualify for a BOP.
Translator Professional Liability Insurance
One of the greatest risks that you face as an interpreter is the impact that an oversight, error or omission that you make can have on a client. Imagine that you are hired to perform medical translation services and you make an error when translating an important lab result or diagnosis to a patient. That patient could then make a treatment decision that is detrimental to his or her health or that leads to death.
Sign language interpreters, or interpreters for the deaf, face similar risks. Any mistake in your translation can lead to a misunderstanding that has a negative impact on someone else, and you can be sued and held liable for damages.
If you were sued, would you be able to pay for all of the costs to defend yourself? Even if you have not been negligent, you will be faced with attorney fees, court costs and perhaps even large settlements or court-ordered judgments. Where will you find the funds? Will you be able to continue to operate?
Interpreter professional liability insurance (or errors and omissions insurance) provides protection if a client sues you for negligence or other wrongdoing related to your work. Professional liability policies provide coverage for the following:
- Actual or alleged errors
- Professional negligence
- Breach of duty
- Misleading statements
- Claims resulting from the performance — or nonperformance — of professional services
A professional liability policy covers defense costs, settlements and judgments. Insurance companies offer customized policies that address the specific needs of different types of professional services firms.
Insurance for Home-based Translation Services
If you work out of your home full-time or even just some of the time, you may be uninsured or underinsured if you think you have coverage under your homeowners insurance policy.
A typical homeowners insurance policy limits coverage for office equipment to around $2,500 — not nearly enough to replace a computer, printer, phones, desk, fax, scanner, or other equipment or supplies you need for your business. And your homeowners policy will not cover business liability, loss or damage of business records, and damage caused by business interruption.
If you have a home office, you have several options in order to make sure you have appropriate coverage:
- Endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy. Independent translators can add an endorsement to a homeowners insurance policy that provides more coverage for the home-based business or home office. This option is viable for one-person businesses without a lot of valuable equipment or business-related visitors. The endorsement typically adds about $2,500 in business equipment coverage as well as some additional liability protection at an affordable price.
- In-home business/home office insurance. Some insurance companies offer a specialty policy for in-home businesses or home offices. The in-home business policy includes certain features of business insurance policies designed for larger firms, but sometimes with much lower policy limits. A typical in-home business policy provides $10,000 of business property coverage and a liability coverage limit typically between $300,000 and $1 million. It may also provide limited coverage for loss of valuable documents, accounts receivable, off-site business property and use of equipment.
- Business owners policy. A BOP as described above is often recommended for home-based business owners who need more than $10,000 of business property coverage as well as liability coverage for customer injuries and business interruption coverage.
Other Types of Interpreter Insurance
You might need a variety of additional business insurance policies or endorsements for your translation services firm. Talk to your independent Trusted Choice® agent about your need for any of these coverages:
- Workers’ compensation
- Commercial auto insurance
- Employment practices liability insurance
- Employee theft and crime coverage
- Cyber liability coverage