Mobile menu

Drawing up a contract
Thread poster: Anne Key
Anne Key
Local time: 23:14
Dutch to English
+ ...
Sep 10, 2001

Hi there,

I recently decided to branch out on my own after 5 years working as an in-house translator, and am founding life as a free-lancer quite exciting.

I\'m currently in the process of starting a large translation project for a private client, and am obviously excited about the prospect of having 2 months\' worth of secure work with a private customer.

In order to protect my financial situation (i.e. avoid the likelihood of not being paid) I would like to draw up a contract, stating the basics (rates) as well as more complex issues (payment terms and conditions).

I\'ve worked with contracts before, but have up to now always been on the receiving end of them - I\'ve never actually drawn one up myself.

Does anybody have any suggestions on how best to go about things? I tried to find examples of job contracts on the Internet, but couldn\'t find anything relevant.

Thanks for your help!


Direct link Reply with quote
Jean Houwert
Local time: 00:14
Dutch to French
contract? Oct 8, 2001

Hello Ann,

You started for yourself, good for you! I wish you all the best.

As far as a contract is concerned, here is my two bits worth.

First of all, if your client has no intention to pay, a contract won\'t make much of a difference. So the first thing I would suggest is to check this client (the Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start), is it a known and sound company?

Second, speaking from experience, a contract can put the client off, sometimes insults him (what\'s the matter, doesn\'t she trust me?).

I hope this helps a bit.

Jean Houwert

Direct link Reply with quote
Daphne Theodoraki  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:14
Member (2003)
Swedish to Greek
+ ...
Get some of your payment in advance Nov 20, 2001

Hi Anne,

I don\'t know how enforceable a contract is if your client has decided not to pay you at the end of the day... It is often suggested to draw up one, so I suppose it might work - if nothing else, it may put your client off if he/she doesn\'t intend to pay. However, I think that the best thing to do is to get some 30% or so upfront for large projects. Getting an advance payment is perhaps the only method to protect yourself from bad payers – not totally, of course, but to a certain extent. In this way, not all your hard work will have been wasted.

If you do decide to draw up a contract, one of your terms could be that you’ll deliver x pages/words, etc. after payment of x amount of money. In other words, you’ll deliver more pages when you have been paid for the ones you’ve already delivered. This is often done with literary translation and is perhaps feasible with technical projects. I did it once with a large project and it worked. The client can’t say anything since they have agreed with that beforehand.

As for a model of a contract, you can visit the ATA web page or see the one that Evert Deloof posted on proz some time ago (

Hope this helps,


Direct link Reply with quote

To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Drawing up a contract

Advanced search

Translation news

memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »

All of
  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs