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Same end client, different agency- should I tell the agency?
Thread poster: Christine Andersen

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:00
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Jan 25, 2007

An end-client I have worked for regularly has at some point transferred from one of my regular client agencies to another.

This client generated large volumes of publicity work, and for the sake of variety sometimes asked for a different translator from last time. On other occasions they asked for the same one (sometimes me), and as a rule were very satisfied.

Now I have twice been asked to do jobs for this client - by a different agency. Both times I said truthfully that I did not have time for such a large job, although on the second occasion I did wonder whether I could squeeze it in - I have quite an extensive TM for this end-client, which saves some time.

I like both agencies, and enjoy working for the end client. Agency 2 knows I work for agency 1.
Should I tell agency 2 :
A) that I know the end client well ?
B) that I have a TM for them ?

Or should I just accept the job if I have time?
Would it be unethical to use the TM?

It is my TM originally, but I send cleaned and uncleaned files to both agencies, so Agency 1 has it in their overall TM for the client too.

As things are now, I'm not going to have time for a while, but what do others do in a similar situation?

If the client had not been satisfied, I would tell agency 2. I know a couple of end clients whose image simply does not match my style, and there is no point in working for them! But the market I work on is not that big, so the question could well come up again.

I'm inclined to say a satisfied client is a satisfied client, and just quietly do the job... But I'm not entirely happy with it.


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 15:00
French to Dutch
+ ...
Don't tell the agencies Jan 25, 2007

Christine Andersen wrote:
Agency 2 knows I work for agency 1.
Should I tell agency 2 :
A) that I know the end client well ?
B) that I have a TM for them ?

Or should I just accept the job if I have time?
Would it be unethical to use the TM?

I've been a couple of times in this situation. I think you should not tell agency 1 that you work for agency 2, and that you should not tell agency 2 that you work for agency 1. Obviously, they are competing. Don't tell agency 2 either that you worked previously for this end client, only that you are specialized in this particular field. Don't talk about your TM but ask for previous translations: if this is your text, you can use your TM. Don't give your TM to agency 2, only uncleaned files.


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 15:00
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Don't tell the agency. Jan 25, 2007

The end client has their reasons for changing agency. Perhaps it's quality, perhaps it's price, perhaps it's location, perhaps it's because they like the project manager's voice on the phone....

On one occasion I was approached by an agency with some work for a very large company, who I also work for directly. I told the agency that the company was also a direct customer of mine, and the agency had no problems in giving me that job. In fact, they were happy to know that I knew the company well.

However - the reason I told the agency in that case was to make sure that there were no problems down the line if the agency found that I was working directly for the very large company and accused me of client poaching.

In most cases, however, I would not tell the agency (either of them) that this client also works with another agency. That would violate almost all of the non-disclosure agreements I have signed.

FWIW

Alison


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xxxPRen  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:00
French to English
+ ...
You are not the agency's employee Jan 25, 2007

I think it's important to remember that we are freelancers, not agency employees, and are free to have whomever we wish as clients. We are not under any obligation to tell each client who our other clients are, how much work we have, how many words a day we're translating in total, and how much we make in a year. Agencies don't give us that information about their businesses, why should we? And I wouldn't worry about using the TM.

Paula


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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:00
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Not necessary to tell Jan 25, 2007

Especially big corporations use several agencies anyway. As long as you don't work directly for the end client, it's none of the agencies' business.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:00
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone! Jan 26, 2007

Thanks to all of you !

and thank you, Alison for this important point:

Quote:
In most cases, however, I would not tell the agency (either of them) that this client also works with another agency. That would violate almost all of the non-disclosure agreements I have signed.

Unquote.

I'm usually quite touchy about non-disclosure!

As long as the client is satisfied, I can carry on. I know part of the reason they use different translators (and therefore agencies as well?) is to disguise the fact that they are saying exactly the same thing as last year and the year before... It still applies, but they want it to sound fresh. The TM is good for terminology in the concordance - and if you get a 100% match it's almost a sign that the sentence should be reformulated!

Have a nice weekend!



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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:00
English to French
+ ...
I know it's late... Jan 27, 2007

...but here's what I think:

It's your TM - you are free to do what you will of it.

If you tell agency 2 about the TM - they will probably jump on the occasion to pay you less. But that would be unethical, since they are not supplying a TM to take rebates on - you are supplying your own TM.

Finally, was there a non-competition agreement signed? I doubt it. In the absence of such agreement, nobody has to know about nobody and nothing. After all, you simply work for your client - agencies 1 and 2. Even if their client is someone whose documents you've worked on, they are not YOUR client and therefore their identity shouldn't have any importance in this matter.

All the best!


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Same end client, different agency- should I tell the agency?

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