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Signing an NDA in Word
Thread poster: João Melo

João Melo
Portugal
Local time: 12:12
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jul 8, 2008

This is the first time I have a digital NDA to sign, and I was wondering how does one goes about it. Is it necessary to print it out, sign it by hand and then scan it?

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:12
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
May not be enough Jul 8, 2008

If you are specifically asked to provide a "digital signature", this is a rather complex cryptographic procedure - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_signature
If this is not asked for, you might be able to do it as you suggest, but I should check with whoever is asking for it first.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:12
English to French
+ ...
Scan it Jul 9, 2008

Every time I sign something that is sent electronically, I make sure that that document cannot be altered in any way. I am afraid a Word document with a picture of your signature won't cut it. The client may be happy with it - but then, they can also alter it easily.

Make sure that you don't reuse a scanned signature in documents - always sign anew. This way, your signature is always slightly different and if someone tampers with a signature of yours, it will be easy to tell where that signature originally came from. Use a ball point pen - it leaves telltale signs that will be hard to manipulate (like when you push the pen harder in certain letters). If you have a good scanner, your signature will be crisp - just make sure you use the highest resolution possible to make sure you can see every little detail on screen.

The best method for what you are trying to do is to print the document, sign it and then scan it. For extra security, if you have software that handles PDF files, turn the document into a PDF and set the options so that copying and editing are impossible. Save the e-mail file (usually .eml or .msg) you attach the document to and back it up. This way, if your document or signature is tampered with, you can prove that the original document you sent doesn't match the one your client is basing claims on. I know it may sound ridiculous, but I save and back up all my e-mail, and I keep it all forever. This is useful especially with NDAs and contracts. Sometimes, you sign only one contract for an indefinite duration, and you end up working with the client for years. Should something happen, you should be able to prove what you e-mailed to the client years ago - having the printout is not enough.

Sadly, the only sureshot way to make sure your signature is not abused is to use an electronic signature, which, as Jack already mentioned, is complicated. Either that, or you don't send your written signature electronically at all. It is best to sign such documents by using snail mail - and to start by requesting a snail mail copy of the contract, already signed by the client (a contract you are the only one to have signed does not bind the other party, since they didn't sign).

I doubt that a client would cause you any harm through tampering with signatures - but many of us translators have seen or even been victims of things we would never have imagined a client would do.

All the best!


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:12
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
Photograph it Jul 9, 2008

I don't have a scanner, so if the client wants a digital version rather than a fax, I simply photograph the document and email the photo. Never had any trouble - as far as I am aware

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Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 14:12
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
legal aspect of the issue Jul 9, 2008

How does it get on with the legal notion of document validity in you countries? In Ukraine fax is accepted as an instrument, while scanned images are not. I understand it depends of the situation... If the people are decent and you get along well, even the word of mouth is suffice, but if it comes to direct contacts with the Big Brother, then your scans will be of no use...

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