Communicating terms and conditions to clients/potential clients
Thread poster: Mike (de Oliveira) Brady

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
Feb 7, 2009

I am curious as to how people communicate their terms and conditions to clients and whether they do this with their initial quote.

To date, as a freelancer, I have spelt out the basics in my quotation, in terms of rates, delivery and payment methods.

Having seen some discussions here about liability, copyright and destruction of documents, I am thinking I should introduce more comprehensive terms and conditions. Those of the Institute of Translating and Interpreting seem, as you would expect, ideally suited to what I want. I am not a member of the Institute (I am actually studying to take the Institute of Linguists Diploma in Translation, but the discussion on their site forum links to to ITI terms and conditions).

Now, I don't particularly want to hit clients who have been fine with a few lines in an email with a 27-clause agreement. It may even put some people off considering my quotes if they feel they need to scrutinise that first.

There may also be an issue of copyright if I take the ITI model and package it as my contract. The accompanying notes refer to members of the ITI, though they also state, "These recommended Model General Terms of Business represent a set of general conditions which can be used by all translation providers and buyers as a basis of contract."

Accordingly I am wondering if it would be appropriate to add something like the following to my website, Proz.com profile and email quotes. The ITI model is publicly available, hence here I am linking to it, while stating that I am not a member.

I'd be interested to know if anyone tries a similar approach.

---
My work is conducted and provided in accordance with the model terms and conditions of the UK Institute of Translators and Interpreters. These can be downloaded at:
http://www.iti.org.uk/pdfs/newpdf/19FHModelTerms_(03-05).pdf

Of particular note are:

Prices quoted and invoiced are not subject to Value Added Tax (the amount indicated is the full amount you have to pay).
You are liable for all charges if paying by bank transfer.
Payment is due within 30 days counted from the delivery of the work.
Payment includes licensing of the translated text for you to use as you see fit. (***OPTION FOR SOME LARGE PIECES OF WORK: Acknowledgement of my role as translator is required wherever the translation is published.***).
My liability is limited to the amount paid for the translation.
Please note, I am not a member of the Institute of Translating and Interpreting and so those comments relating specifically to members do not apply. I refer to these model terms and conditions as many potential clients are used to them. If you wish to agree any variations to the model terms and conditions, in addition to anything specified in our communications regarding the contract, please do so prior to confirming your order.
---

I look forward to learning what people think.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:04
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
EN 15038 Feb 7, 2009

Hm... This is a very interesting topic indeed. I have worked with no such terms and conditions for many customers and many years and the only urge I felt was to make sure that liability of any translation delivered would be limited to the amount paid and to correcting any proven issue free of charge.

However, as we are now working to implement EN 15038 in our team here in Guadalajara, we will be forced to write a generic contract to be sent to each new customer if we are to comply with the standard. Such contract would reflect very basic things as we don't want to make anyone's life miserable reading 10 pages (as some outsources ask us to do), but a contract will have to exist.

You might want to get a copy of EN 15038 from your standardisation institute in the UK and have a look. It could be interesting.


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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:34
German to English
+ ...
Is it worth purchasing? Feb 8, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

You might want to get a copy of EN 15038 from your standardisation institute in the UK and have a look. It could be interesting.


Hi, Tomás, is it worth purchasing the standard, given its fairly hefty price of EUR 11x? Also, is there an EN-15038 certification process? (I apologize if this has already been discussed in a previous thread)


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:04
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Certainly worth purchasing it Feb 8, 2009

Anil Gidwani wrote:
Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
You might want to get a copy of EN 15038 from your standardisation institute in the UK and have a look. It could be interesting.

Hi, Tomás, is it worth purchasing the standard, given its fairly hefty price of EUR 11x? Also, is there an EN-15038 certification process? (I apologize if this has already been discussed in a previous thread)


Yes, certainly worth buying. It is a little bit oriented towards work teams rather than individuals, but I do think that organising work as described by the standard can improve quality.

I am not really sure at this stage about the certification for this standard alone, but part of the standard (a very little part) says that you need to have a quality management system, and QMS's are certified.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:04
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some problems, perhaps Feb 8, 2009

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady wrote:
I am curious as to how people communicate their terms and conditions to clients and whether they do this with their initial quote.


If you've signed an NDA and freelancers' contract with the agency, the wording often states that other agreements are only valid if signed by both parties, so sending your terms and conditions may be a useless exercise unless you get them to sign it.

To date, as a freelancer, I have spelt out the basics in my quotation, in terms of rates, delivery and payment methods.


Providing a potential client with your terms and conditions is more an exercise of trust than legal enforceability, I think. The point of T&Cs is not to tie down the unsuspecting client, but to set the course for a relationship that both parties favour. Therefore I'm in favour of simpler T&Cs that are easier to understand and more likely to be understood by the client before he hires you.

If the client doesn't read the T&Cs, he will assume that "normal rules apply", and his normal rules may not be your normal rules. If the T&Cs are simple, he is more likely to read it and abide by it. I think.

I do favour putting the T&Cs in a separate document (eg PDF), because it gives you the opportunity to use fancy layout and formatting to make the document more easy to read, understand and follow. Then ask the client to confirm receipt of it (if he doesn't mention it in his reply, ask him specifically).

If your T&Cs are simple and "normal", they are less likely to clash with the client's own T&Cs, and the client is more likely to agree to them. If they do clash, you may lose a potentially good client who just happens to trust his lawyer more than his own legal opinion.

There may also be an issue of copyright if I take the ITI model and package it as my contract.


In my opinion your T&Cs should contain only stuff that really matters and/or are truly enforceable. For this reason I would not go out of the way to specify copyright issues etc, because there is no way to police them and very little you can do to get redress in cases of breach.

The ITI model is publicly available, hence here I am linking to it, while stating that I am not a member.


Well, I suspect you're linking to offline stuff in order to keep your own T&Cs short and to the point. But I think you're only fooling yourself here. By linking your T&Cs to other documents, you are really forcing upon your client the expectation that he will read not only your file but those other files as well. And the more you link, the less likely the client would be to follow the links.

I'm not saying that you should not mention it if you're a member of XYZ and you have to abide by their code of ethics and submit to their arbitration if necessary -- no, I think it may be good to mention it. But it must be worded in a way that doesn't make it merely a very long (and practically absent) subclause to your own document.

My work is conducted and provided in accordance with the model terms and conditions of the UK Institute of Translators and Interpreters. These can be downloaded at:
http://www.iti.org.uk/pdfs/newpdf/19FHModelTerms_(03-05).pdf


Great... four pages of small print spread over three columns per page. It's 5000 words. That said, it looks tidy, and I may change my entire opinion later today after I've read it (in which case I'll post here again).


[Edited at 2009-02-08 12:20 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-02-08 12:23 GMT]


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Translation-Pro  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:04
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
Interesting comments on this DIN norm Feb 8, 2009

Anil Gidwani wrote:

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

You might want to get a copy of EN 15038 from your standardisation institute in the UK and have a look. It could be interesting.


Hi, Tomás, is it worth purchasing the standard, given its fairly hefty price of EUR 11x? Also, is there an EN-15038 certification process? (I apologize if this has already been discussed in a previous thread)


Hi Anil,

you need not purchase DIN EN 15038, as you can google all the relevant information.
As you speak German, I also recommend you take a good look at these comments which may answer some of your questions:

http://www.bdue.de/appends/mdue/MDUE_2007_Leserbriefe_ungekuerzt.pdf

Christa


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