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Can you - are you allowed - to use the name of clients without their permission?
Thread poster: Els Immegeers

Els Immegeers  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 11:52
English to Flemish
+ ...
Feb 10, 2004

Hi all,

I'd like your advice on the usage of clients's names: can you - are you allowed - to use the name of clients (without their permission) on your cv or website if you haven't worked for them directly, but received the work through a translation agency?

Many thanks
Els


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:52
English to German
+ ...
Never without client permission Feb 10, 2004

Hi Els,
I would never use client names without their express permission (preferably in writing, or by e-mail).

Whether you can contact agencies' clients depends on your arrangements with each agency.

Best regards, Ralf


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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:52
German to Spanish
Why not? Feb 10, 2004

If I have worked for a company directly or in a determined project through an agency, why I cannot mention it?
What is wrong?
It is not the same as to use confidential information from client (industrial espionage).
I am simply asking, there is some legal reason?


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:52
Dutch to English
+ ...
Depends on the wording Feb 10, 2004

I think it is perfectly reasonable to say things like:
I have been involved in a large project related to Microsoft manuals/SAP working documents/etc. [through an agency/through agency X].

Certainly on a CV. How else are you to show what your area of expertise is?

I wouldn't just give a list of indirect customer names because then you would be implying that you worked directly for them.


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Luca Tutino  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:52
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
I do not just "use" them, I proudly mention them! Feb 10, 2004

Dear Ralf,

I worked for PolyGram, I am once again under contract with Einaudi and I have been under contract with Autodesk, and andante.com -- and of course I am proud of all this. Should I run after these companies every time I need or want to show or say that I worked for them? Am I breaking a code of honour with the present message? Can you explain why?

Ciao,
Luca


[Edited at 2004-02-10 18:02]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:52
English to German
+ ...
Client relationships are confidential Feb 10, 2004

Hi Luca and all,
You're not breaking any law by mentioning client names (unless you have entered into a non-disclosure agreement).

Personally, however, I treat every business relationship as being confidential. That's why I only mention four clients (albeit major ones) on my website. Each of them has given express permission to use their names in this way. If I were to see a translator's website listing my company as a reference without asking (or at least informing) me, I would wonder what else he or she was ready to disclose. Not a matter of the law, but of business ethics, I believe - but then, that's my personal point of view.

Hope that clarifies it.

Best regards, Ralf


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 12:52
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
RE: Client relationships are confidential Feb 10, 2004

Exactly!

We ask every client's agreement, before mentioning him on our homepage, giving him as reference, whatever. There is a line in our standard Agreement (my on-the-spot translation): “Everything about the client and his order is confidential, except the client’s name, if requested by the State Authorities, e.g., IRS..."


Uldis.

PS. Consider, maybe your client doesn't the entire World to know that not he himself is translating his materials, but is submitting them to an Agency...


Ralf Lemster wrote:
Personally, however, I treat every business relationship as being confidential. That's why I only mention four clients (albeit major ones) on my website. Each of them has given express permission to use their names in this way. If I were to see a translator's website listing my company as a reference without asking (or at least informing) me, I would wonder what else he or she was ready to disclose. Not a matter of the law, but of business ethics, I believe - but then, that's my personal point of view.

Hope that clarifies it.

Best regards, Ralf


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Everything, everything, everything is confidential Feb 11, 2004

Els Immegeers wrote:
Can you use the name of clients (without their permission) on your CV or web site...


Under normal circumstances, every detail about the job is confidential, including the name of the client, the name of his agency, the language combination, the type of text, the nature of the text, the deadline, the referrer, and of course the text itself.

That said, if you're careful enough you can post selective details about the text itself on mailing lists, for example, if you're asking a question about the text.

If you want to use a client's name, just ask. Explain that you want to use it on your CV, tell them what the exact wording will be, and wait for their consent. And remember, no reply is no consent.

This rule applies regardless of whether you worked via an agency. If you want to mention the end-client, get permission from the client *and* from the agency.


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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:52
German to Spanish
Disagree Feb 11, 2004

Sorry, I do not agree.

An example, suppose that I am a mechanic: Through an agency of temporary works (slavery jobs) I get a job for Ferrari during its stay in my country. The agency is the one that pays to me, but I have worked for Ferrari.
This work could help me to obtain a good job in the automobile industry.
According to your argument, I would have to request permission to that agency and ask to Ferrari? And if Ford (for example) asks what experience I have I must shut up and not say that I have worked for Ferrari only because the work was through that company?
Sorry, disagree

Could I say at least in my CV that I am in a translation list like Proz?
Naturally without mentioning the deadline and which font I am using to write this commentary




Samuel Murray-Smit wrote:



If you want to use a client's name, just ask. Explain that you want to use it on your CV, tell them what the exact wording will be, and wait for their consent. And remember, no reply is no consent.

This rule applies regardless of whether you worked via an agency. If you want to mention the end-client, get permission from the client *and* from the agency.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Everything is confidential Feb 11, 2004

Tayfun Torunoglu wrote:
Confidentiality is a concept related to Content but not relevant to mere project names or client. Except for some projects of military nature or any other governmental projects of highly confidential in both content and name.


Your second sentence is my point exactly. What is non-confidential to you may be highly confidential to your client. How do you determine what is 'highly confidential'?

Scenario: Competitor X of client Y suspects that client Y has tendered for a large contract either in Turkey, Spain, or Finland, but he doesn't know which. Competitor X can only afford to aggresively undermine client Y (and advance his own interests) if he knows which.

Now translator Z (whose languages are English>Turkish) makes it known that some time ago he translated a document for client Y. The translator doesn't reveal anything about the content of the text, but without realising it he has already revealed more than enough to competitor X to harm client Y's business interests.

[Edited at 2004-02-11 15:27]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:52
English to German
+ ...
Personal decision Feb 11, 2004

Hi Tayfun,
However please do not try to impose any "ideology" prohibiting us from showing references and projects completed.

Nobody's imposing anything - Els asked for advice, and I stated my personal views on how I treat this issue (obviously, I expect colleagues working with me to adhere to these principles). Nothing more - nothing less.

Best regards, Ralf


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:52
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Common courtesy Feb 11, 2004

Ralf Lemster wrote:

Hi Tayfun,
However please do not try to impose any "ideology" prohibiting us from showing references and projects completed.

Nobody's imposing anything - Els asked for advice, and I stated my personal views on how I treat this issue (obviously, I expect colleagues working with me to adhere to these principles). Nothing more - nothing less.

Best regards, Ralf


I'm with you Ralph. If nothing else, it's a matter of common courtesy.


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:52
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
You probably can, but you definitely shouldn't Feb 11, 2004

You probably can (legally), but you shouldn't.

It's really analogous to including with your résumé references without first asking the people in question: you should ask them, so as to make sure that they will tell good things about you, if asked.


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Els Immegeers  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 11:52
English to Flemish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Only company name Feb 12, 2004

Riccardo Schiaffino wrote:

You probably can (legally), but you shouldn't.

It's really analogous to including with your résumé references without first asking the people in question: you should ask them, so as to make sure that they will tell good things about you, if asked.



First of all, many thanks for all your comments!

Riccardo,
Just to clarify, I wouldn’t mention people’s names or contact information on my cv. It would just be the company name like for example Shell, Unilever, etc.


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xxxNicolette Ri
Local time: 11:52
French to Dutch
+ ...
I agree with this Feb 12, 2004

Samuel Murray-Smit wrote:

Your second sentence is my point exactly. What is non-confidential to you may be highly confidential to your client. How do you determine what is 'highly confidential'?

Scenario: Competitor X of client Y suspects that client Y has tendered for a large contract either in Turkey, Spain, or Finland, but he doesn't know which. Competitor X can only afford to aggresively undermine client Y (and advance his own interests) if he knows which.

Now translator Z (whose languages are English>Turkish) makes it known that some time ago he translated a document for client Y. The translator doesn't reveal anything about the content of the text, but without realising it he has already revealed more than enough to competitor X to harm client Y's business interests.

[Edited at 2004-02-11 15:27]


And mentioning only the end client (Shell, Unilever) does not make sense, as it cannot be verified.


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