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Refusing to issue Agreement for translation project
Thread poster: VIVA VOCE Ltd.

VIVA VOCE Ltd.  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 09:30
English to Croatian
+ ...
Jun 7, 2007

Recently I've had two large translation projects for EU clients. I asked both of them to deliver Contract to perform a specified task and both of them refused saying their Purchase Orders should suffice for legal issue coverage.

I don't think this is right so I looked for other instruments of payment assurance. I delivered a batch of agreed translation to one of the agencies in question and they agreed to pay for this before I deliver the rest. I think this is really Ok and thanks.

However, what I got from the other agency was a flat denial. They have good BB record, so I hope this is sufficient credentials to get paid in the end.

I don't like any mumbo-jumbo in my work and have started outsourcing myself, so in future Agreements will be a must. Besides, this is a normal EU procedure and I wouldn't expect any problems in this respect from EU agencies.

I wish other translators would contribute to this discussion as well.


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Adam Lankamer  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 09:30
Member (2005)
English to Polish
+ ...
No agreements Jun 7, 2007

Frankly speaking I haven't ever signed an agreement with a translation agency for an individual project.
Only NDAs or Terms and Conditions right after starting cooperation... then POs

Adam


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:30
Dutch to English
+ ...
No agreements either Jun 7, 2007

POs are agreements/contracts in my book.

I agree with Adam.


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Juliana Starkman  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 03:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
I agree with the other two Jun 7, 2007

I feel I'm pretty well covered by the POs...although if it was something really big, like a book or a huge contract I might ask for something extra if I don't know the agency well.

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 08:30
Dutch to English
+ ...
In most books, ... Jun 7, 2007

Marijke wrote:

POs are agreements/contracts in my book.



... once accepted.

[Edited at 2007-06-07 15:05]


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:30
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Contract law Jun 7, 2007

Ljerka Polegubić wrote:

Recently I've had two large translation projects for EU clients. I asked both of them to deliver Contract to perform a specified task and both of them refused saying their Purchase Orders should suffice for legal issue coverage.



Under general principles of contract law, the purchase order, assuming it defines the document to be translated, the parameters for turning it in and the amount to be paid for the translation, constitutes a contract (assuming both parties agree). If you consider it necessary to check with a Croatian attorney, you should do so, but a contract need not be labeled "Contract" to be one.

You brought up a second issue about assurance of payment. The agencies, from what you have described, have apparently agreed to give you purchase orders and thus a valid contract exists. However, it may be impractical to sue them for breach of contract and the attorney fees may be larger than the amount in question. But with the purchase order, they have obligated themselves to pay you.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:30
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Contracts only for certain types of jobs Jun 7, 2007

I agree with Juliana that a contract may be advisable if it concerns long-term collaboration, for example on a newsletter or magazine, or a large job that is delivered in batches, such as book. Otherwise a PO should be sufficient, provided the agency has a good Blue Board rating and that all conditions are stated clearly .

In practice, since I have many private clients with relatively small jobs, I often work on the basis of an informal e-mail. I give them a cost/time estimate, they say 'go ahead' and that's it.


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VIVA VOCE Ltd.  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 09:30
English to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
extensive projects, first contact Jun 7, 2007

As I stated, both projects were very extensive and demanding, both required a team of translators to meet the deadline.
Also, in both cases, it was my first contact with these agencies.
Therefore, I think a written agreement is an OK thing to have for both sides - to obtain quality and timely delivery on one hand, and to get timely, accurate payment on the other.

Any comments are welcome, thanks.


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megane_wang  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Do you want a written agreement? Then be proactive and make it easy Jun 8, 2007

Hello,

I agree on the previous comments regarding the legal validity of the PO as a "contract", but I don't usually rely on that.

My solution is to be proactive regarding this.

The usual "problem" is that the agencies have their well-defined working circuits and this cannot be modified "just for you". Most of them are not used to issue a contract because they (let's assume it) rely on the PO as a proof of contract.

Therefore, instead of waiting for their PO, as soon as I get a project I issue a formal offer describing the project and attaching my General Conditions, which are a contract themselves. I usually kindly ask them to send it back as a proof of contract along with their PO. I try to make it SOOO easy to sign that it's almost impossible that they reasonably say no.

Sometimes they don't sign it back but agree somehow (e-mail, fax, or a mention to my offer nr.xxx in their PO).

I try to get at least one of those signed for each customer, because they apply to every single project running with them (this is included in the Conditions).

Sometimes I don't get this signature, but if I don't get complaints that is usually a good symptom. I must say that the only two customers who ever were about to put me into real trouble first complained about my "draconian" conditions. Fortunately I never went too far before I cancelled those jobs myself, but both cases gave me the opportunity to learn a lot. If that ever happens again, I will kindly decline the project and run away as fast as possible!!

I think, though, that the main point is to negotiate with them a little bit and give them the opportunity to show how they are really like.

Best luck!

Ruth @ MW


[Edited at 2007-06-08 10:19]


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VIVA VOCE Ltd.  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 09:30
English to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Jun 8, 2007

Megan,

This is very helpful indeed. Thanks, I think I'll introduce this practice in my future work.


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