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Non-competition clause in video game localization industry
Thread poster: JulietteC
Local time: 17:19
English to French
Oct 24, 2007


I'm a freelance translator for about a year and I'm currently trying to find new clients in the field of video game industry.

My problem is that most agencies in this field ask to sign a NDA with a non-competition clause.

I don't mind this kind of clause too much for technical translation, as there are so many possible agencies and end clients to work for.

The problem is that it is not the same in video game localization. There are not hundreds of potential clients, so signing such an NDA could be a real problem in the future.

It is all the more annoying that you don't even know if the agency will give you much work when you sign their NDA.

Anyway, I already signed one NDA of this kind but today I receveid another one for another agency and I don't know what to do.

This clause is the following : "he/she will not appproach the customers... with a view to undertaking translation work or other services directly on their behalf at any time during the completion of the work or for a minimum of 2 years after its completion and
c) if the customer... approaches the supplier with a view to undertaking translation workor other services directly on their behalf at any time during the completion of the work or for a minimum of 2 years after its completionn the supplier will not accept any such work and will inform the company immediately of the fact that he has been approached".

Concerning c), what if I applied to a client of the agency before signing this NDA?

How do you deal with non-competition clause? Do you refuse to sign and renounce to work with this agency? Negotiate a shorter period and stop working with the agency when you want to work with one of its clients?

I would like to have opinions of all translators, but in particular those specialized in video games.

Many thanks in advance,


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:19
Turkish to English
+ ...
It depends Oct 24, 2007

The decision whether or not to sign such an agreement depends on a number of factors, not the least how desperate you are for work at the time!
Speaking personally, I have no problem with the concept of not approaching clients with unsolicited direct offers of work. However, if the client happens to find my website and approaches me with a job offer on a totally unrelated project, and they are unaware that I was the translator who actually did the work when they used the agency in question, then I don't see anything morally wrong with accepting. I know you are talking about game localization and the situation in this case may be different, but in the kind of work I get for agencies I have no idea who the end client is anyway. If I get some documents concerning a court case, most probably it is the legal representatives of the plaintiff or the defendant in the case who are commissioning the work. But how do I know? It could be another party with an interest in the case? Whose future work offers am I supposed to decline? What if a wholly owned foreign subsidiary of a company whose head office once sent the agency a translation which was given to me contacts me? Do I have to decline this offer. Such clauses seem to me to be full of holes. I reject them, anyway, on principle.

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Non-competition clause in video game localization industry

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