EHLION Magazine



Figuring out insurance for interpreters and translators can be something of a minefield. Do interpreters need insurance at all? What is professional indemnity insurance for translators?

Often considered something of a dry subject, insurance is crucial when you’re working with words that can make or break a sale or court case.

If you’re wondering where to start on your search for the perfect insurance policy, then fear not – EHLION has done the heavy lifting so you don’t have to!

Pull up a chair, settle back and let us lead you through the intricacies of interpreter and translator insurance for professional linguists.

Risks and liability for translators and interpreters

Even the best translators and interpreters can make mistakes. Tiredness, sickness, tight deadlines and heavy workloads can all wreak havoc on attention spans and concentration. All it takes is a moment of inattention for an error to slip in – and the smallest of typos can have the biggest of consequences.

From misplaced documents to accidents on your premises, what are the risks that professional linguists face?

Professional negligence, breach of duty, omissions, and errors

Mistakes due to professional shortcomings can trigger financial loss for the client and result in court cases and settlements for the translator. Adding an extra zero to a crucial figure, missing out a key sentence in an essential witness statement, or mistranslating a quote that then distorts the meaning behind a speech are all things that can happen – and can be costly to everyone involved.

See our section on professional indemnity insurance for more details on staying protected.

Breaches of confidentiality, hacking, and cyber risks

With so much work happening online, making sure you’re covered against all risks related to keeping client information, passcodes and data confidential is non-negotiable. Hackers, viruses, and security weaknesses can all undermine confidential information stored on the many devices translators and interpreters use on a daily basis – a particularly important point in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) era.

Glance through our section on cyber liability insurance for a better idea of the coverage available.

Accidents in the workplace and damage to personal property

Coffee spilt over a prospective client’s keyboard, or a slip or fall when a client comes into your office to talk through a project – as a linguist, it’s a good idea to protect yourself against unforeseeable accidents that can – and do – occur.

Check our section on public liability insurance for more information.

Damage to your premises or working equipment

If your computer dies overnight, your office goes up in flames, or somebody breaks into your home and steals important documents, translators and interpreters are exposed to a loss of income as well as the costs involved in replacing, repairing, or fixing lost, stolen, or damaged items and premises.

Read through our section on office insurance for insight into how you can cover your back.

Insurance options for linguists

You may like to tweak your coverage depending on how high-risk the work you generally undertake is, adding on top-up insurances such as travel insurance for interpreters on the go. As a general rule, however, most professional linguists will be covered by the following types of standard policy.

Professional indemnity insurance

There are as many reasons why this type of insurance may come in useful as there are situations that could arise. Professional liability insurance covers the policyholder against all claims surrounding the quality of the work they produce, including:

  • Omissions/errors
  • Breach of duty
  • Misleading statements
  • Negligence
  • Breach of confidentiality

This kind of insurance comes in handy even if you haven’t made an actual error – alleged mistakes can prove just as costly. Your legal fees will generally be covered by a professional indemnity policy, too, and you can seek coverage to the value of millions of dollars.

Cyber liability insurance

Also known as cyber risk insurance or data risk insurance, cyber liability insurance ensures you’re covered in the event of a cyber-attack, hacking and data breaches, and that any ensuing legal fees are covered, too.

Aspects related to software, online security and breaches are very often incorporated into professional liability insurance packages, so read through your contract carefully to determine the level of protection on offer.

Public liability insurance

This type of insurance covers those you work with – from partners and clients to interns – in the event of a mishap or accident that leaves them injured, or their property stolen or damaged.

Slips, falls, damaged computers, bodily injury, stolen phones… You can never be sure of what the future holds, and public liability insurance covers you both on third parties’ premises and your own.

Office insurance

Office equipment and in particular hardware and devices are all-important tools of the trade for professional linguists, and covering your premises whether at home or in designated office space is an important point to consider.

Office insurance protects your business in the following areas:

  • Flooding
  • Fires
  • Break-in
  • Property damage
  • Theft

In some insurance packages, you may find that property insurance is offered as a stand-alone product liability option, but it can also be incorporated into office insurance or public liability insurance policies, too.

Assistance in choosing your insurance

The world of insurance can seem like a bafflingly opaque field, but luckily there are a few trusted contacts you can draw on to shed light on the matter.

Insurance brokers

  • As business owners, professional linguists would be well advised to speak to specialist brokers for help with working through the fine print to pinpoint the best option for them. Don’t forget that brokers generally only skim off a percentage-based commission once they’ve done the hard work for you, and that any related costs are tax deductible.


Comparison websites

  • The digital age has ushered in a host of excellent comparison websites that offer instant policy comparisons and pricing tables for self-employed professionals and sole traders. Our favourites include Compare the Market, Simply Business and GoCompare.

Social media

  • Ask the community! Get onto Facebook and Twitter and see what your colleagues are using. Social media networks are fantastic places for getting insider knowledge on the best insurance providers and packages specific to your industry.

Professional bodies

  • Reach out to professional organisations and associations for sector-specific insights. Your country’s national translating or interpreting body will be up to date on the latest offers and insurers, and is best placed to advise you on what you do or don’t need, depending on your individual circumstances.

Contact the American Translators Association and the National Association for Interpretation in the United States, or the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) in the United Kingdom to get started.

Things to consider when choosing your insurance

As with all insurance, the devil’s in the detail when it comes to the different types of insurance policy open to you as a professional translator or interpreter.

  • Sift through the small print and weigh up the extent to which you’d like to be covered against the amount you’re prepared to pay out every month.
  • Insurance policies vary wildly between countries and budgets, meaning there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Every policy will be tailored to your needs and the nature of your work, with premiums starting from a few dollars a month and rising to four-figure monthly sums.
  • Equally, you can protect your business with coverage that hovers around the tens of thousands, or sign up for a policy that will cover you with multiple millions in pay-outs should you need them.
  • As a small business owner, professional insurance shouldn’t be optional! Keep yourself covered in the event of any unforeseeable incidents.

Insurance for linguists: non-negotiable professional protection

All insurance is about striking the right balance between the monthly premium to factor into your budget, and sufficient coverage in the event of an accident, data breach, mistranslated text, or damage to your interpreting equipment.

Translators and interpreters are self-employed business owners, and responsibility for their tools and premises, protecting themselves and third parties from bodily harm, and safeguarding their clients’ data confidentiality all rest firmly on their shoulders.

Professional insurance for linguists is a non-negotiable and will be tailored to your unique profile. Don’t skimp on protecting your future: get in touch with EHLION for help in picking out your perfect policy.

Was this article helpful?
Share this Post

Table of Contents

On Key
Related Content