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Fair contract?
Thread poster: Carole Hognestad
Carole Hognestad
Local time: 07:09
Norwegian to English
Jan 18, 2008

I've just been asked to sign a contract for 2008 for a company that I do a lot of translation work for. I don't have a problem with this per se, however one of the clauses states the following

The agreement is valid until consultancy assignments are complete, but may be terminated in writing by the Customer with 30 days' notice. The Supplier may, where the type or scope of the consultancy work needs to be changed significantly, terminate the agreement with 3 months' written notice with a duty to complete work started". (Translated from Norwegian)

First of all, is it normal for the translator to accept a 3-month notice of termination, while the customer only has to give 30 days? Additionally, the fact that termination by me is subject to condition ("where the type or scope of the consultancy work needs to be changed significantly"), and the customer needs no reason to terminate the contract whatsoever, should I accept this?

[Edited at 2008-01-18 13:48]

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:09
English to Dutch
+ ...
Translation? Jan 18, 2008

It would really help if you translated the Norwegian part of your posting into English...

Thanks for the translation.
I don't think I'd be comfortable with this, but it is not terribly well-written either (the terms that is, I don't mean your translation).

Ask them about the exact meaning before you sign anything, this is rather vague, IMHO.

[Edited at 2008-01-18 15:11]

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Time to finish work started Jan 18, 2008

I think they say 3 months to give you time to finish any translations that are ongoing. For example if you are in the process of translating a manual, that may take some to complete. However, the contract should specify that you would not be required to start any new work during those 3 months.

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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:09
Swedish to English
+ ...
A few thoughts Jan 18, 2008

If this is had been a contract for one job, this might have been OK (unless you undertake to do very long assigments for the agency, which is unlikely). The job would have been finished well before the end of the contractual period.

If, as appears to be the case here, this is a contract for long term collaboration, I would be vary. They're asking you to be bound by very unequal terms.

However, if the agency is Norwegian, I wouldn't worry too much. I'm pretty sure Norway has laws against unfair contractual agreements (Sweden does, and I think most western European countries also do).

Finally, I personally wouldn't sign this agreement. I would instead supply my own agreement. Don't forget that I'm the supplier, i.e. I set the terms of the relationship. The client (in this case the agency) can either agree (sign) or not agree (not sign).

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Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 07:09
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...
Can you stop accepting new translation requests? Jan 19, 2008

I believe the main thing is your ability to stop accepting any further translation requests at any time. If this contract does not require you to take on all and any jobs they may offer (which would in fact make you a kind of in-house translator and an employee, rather than an independent contractor), then I think you can sign it and just stop accepting new translation requests as soon as you have given termination notice.

You may have to complete your current assignment, which sounds rather reasonable.

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