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Announcing the new Service agreement tool for members
Thread poster: Lucia Leszinsky

Lucia Leszinsky
SITE STAFF
Sep 17, 2015

Hello members,

Today, I am happy to announce a new member service designed to allow you to create, send and track service agreements online:

ProZ.com service agreements: http://www.proz.com/service-agreement/

You can use this tool to:

  • create and store standard service agreements that you can use in any working relationship,
  • send service agreements to other parties, discuss with them terms and agree on conditions before any projects are assigned, and
  • keep an online track of agreements you entered into to prevent potential disputes --or solve them quickly-- or to simply use them as reference.

Any ProZ.com member can create service agreements. Site users can only be invited to review and accept them.

You can check this new tool by clicking on the link above or by using the "Service agreements" link located under the Tools menu tab. For more information, please visit the FAQs section.

Hope you find this tool useful and that it helps you to improve the way you work. Feedback is welcome.

Kind regards,

Lucia


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 00:45
Partial member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
A solution to web-based job disputes Sep 17, 2015

Lucia Leszinsky wrote:

Hello members,

Today, I am happy to announce a new member service designed to allow you to create, send and track service agreements online:

You can use this tool to:

  • create and store standard service agreements that you can use in any working relationship,
  • send service agreements to other parties, discuss with them terms and agree on conditions before any projects are assigned, and
  • keep an online track of agreements you entered into to prevent potential disputes --or solve them quickly-- or to simply use them as reference.

Any ProZ.com member can create service agreements. Site users can only be invited to review and accept them.

Lucia


Thanks, Lucia. This shall be a good solution to web-based job disputes e.g. non-paying agency, translation quality issues, delivery time failure.
I formerly designed my own agreement. Now I believe your platform is very effective to protect translators of decent work.

Soonthon L.


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Olly Pekelharing  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:45
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
All boxes checked Sep 17, 2015

There are a couple of clients I'd like to send this to with all the boxes checked (if that were possible), just so I could enjoy thinking about them not reading it just like I assume they get enjoyment out of translators not reading theirs.

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Marina Menendez  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 14:45
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Great! Sep 17, 2015

Thanks, Lucia.

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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:45
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Every sentence is optional - why? Sep 20, 2015

Hi Lucia,
The format is quite different from the beta you showed on the Pro forum.
That one had paragraphs, not single sentences. In agreements like this, there are certain sentences that belong together, forming standard clauses, so there is no point in separating them, and make each of them individually selectable.
On the other hand, some sentences are mutually exclusive (for example, the 3 sentences about cancellation), and for those you had radio buttons in the beta version. Radio buttons allow selecting only one of the mutually exclusive choices. Those radio buttons are completely gone now, why? This is a problem, because it can happen very easily that one just checks all the boxes, and as a result the agreement will include mutually exclusive clauses, which would make the agreement invalid and useless.

Could you do a complete review, compare the structure with the beta version, and fix these issues?
The goal is to help people who are not lawyers to create a standard agreement in an easy way, and the beta version was much closer to that than this one.

Thanks
Katalin

[Edited at 2015-09-20 02:20 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:45
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Haven't seen the beta version, but... Sep 20, 2015

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:
The format is quite different from the beta you showed on the Pro forum.


Do you mean the beta version was shown in the red pee forums only?

The goal is to help people who are not lawyers to create a standard agreement in an easy way...


If that is the goal, then I think the agreement should also contain explanations of the meanings and consequences of each of these terms. The problem with some of these terms is that they don't mean what you think they mean, or: they are clear but they result in events that only lawyers and avid googlers may be aware of.

1.

Take the third option under "3. Relationship between Parties", for example. How many translators realise that by including this sentence they are offering to pay any service related tax (such as unemployment levies) that the outsourcer's tax department levies against them, even if the outsourcer makes absolutely no effort to inform their tax department that they are not actually liable for those taxes? One would assume that if a tax department attempts to apply a tax to you that you don't really qualify for, that you would make an effort to let the tax department know that they are mistaken and that you don't really have to pay that tax... but... by signing this clause in the contract, the translator agrees to pay those taxes regardless of whether the tax department had made a mistake, even if the outsourcer simply accepts the tax without making the slightest effort to query it. In other words, if the outsourcer's accountant is sloppy and neglects to include the necessary information that the translator as an independent contractor, then (by signing this option) the translator agrees to pay those taxes (and the outsourcer can claim them by deducting it from future invoices without additional prior agreement or notice).

I'm not saying "remove this clause" (for I know that some agencies will not accept the agreement without such a statement in it), but make some effort to explain the likely consequences.

2.

Under "2. Services", I would like to see a second option saying "The Service Provider is engaged in the business of" instead of just "Parties are engaged in the business of". As it stands, the pre-set options apply only clients who are also in the language business.

3.

The "Copyright" section contains too few options, in my opinion. It lacks options for permission to use the copyrighted materials.

4.

The word "through" is a highly ambiguous word in "13. Termination". I'm sure it can be replaced with something unambiguous.

5.

The section "15. Choice of Law" lacks an option describing jurisdiction. Choice of law and choice of jurisdiction isn't the same thing.

6.

I would like to see some videos about the entire process. If I understand correctly, I can't experiment with the system because the service agreements that I create will not be deleted, even if no-one had agreed to them.

Samuel


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Lucia Leszinsky
SITE STAFF
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the suggestions! Sep 21, 2015

The tool has been designed in such a way that you can set agreement parameters according to your needs. That way, if terms within a section are mutually exclusive, you are encouraged to choose the term that fits your needs.

In the same way, if a term needs further or different information, or if a section needs more options, you can add them using the write-in field available under each section.

@Samuel: as a member you can create as many service agreements as you want and delete them later using the "Delete" option provided in the "My service agreements" section (this option is only available for agreements that haven't been sent for review to another party).

Lucia


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:45
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Lucia, if it is possible to prevent mistakes, please do Sep 24, 2015

Lucia Leszinsky wrote:

The tool has been designed in such a way that you can set agreement parameters according to your needs. That way, if terms within a section are mutually exclusive, you are encouraged to choose the term that fits your needs.


Lucia, with all due respect, I don't think you understand the problem. Yes, when mutually exclusive terms are present, people should select the term (the ONE term) that fits their needs, and at that point the other terms that have the opposite meaning should be disabled from selection. Otherwise, you are running the risk of people selecting mutually exclusive terms (either by accident, or by not fully understanding the mutual exclusivity behind the legalese), and therefore creating an invalid agreement.

You did have radio buttons in the beta version (yes, Samuel, the beta was only announced to Pro people), so it is not a technical challenge to solve. I thought with this tool you are trying to help people to create standard agreements to protect their interest. Some of the people who could use this tool are not fully proficient in legalese - if they were, they probably won't need such a tool.
Leaving a loophole like this is counterproductive - too easy to make a mistake.
Obviously you can't make the tool foolproof, but having mutually exclusive terms handled by mutually exclusive selection tools (radio buttons) is an easy fix.

Katalin


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