Another unacceptable agreement, another ex-client
Thread poster: Steven Capsuto

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 23, 2009

How's this for a contractor agreement?

1) The freelancer must accept all legal responsibility for the quality of the translation

2) The freelancer cannot keep copies of the job (i.e., cannot retain evidence that might be of use in court when sued under the terms of item 1)

3) The client has a right to inspect the freelancer's workplace (in practice, the freelancer's home)

The terms are non-negotiable.

I politely told the client to go pound sand and remove me from their database. I hope others will do the same in similar circumstances.


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Valérie Catanzaro  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:20
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
You were right! Jul 23, 2009

It was just unacceptable!

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Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 17:20
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
OMG Jul 23, 2009

Steven Capsuto wrote:

How's this for a contractor agreement?

1) The freelancer must accept all legal responsibility for the quality of the translation

2) The freelancer cannot keep copies of the job (i.e., cannot retain evidence that might be of use in court when sued under the terms of item 1)

3) The client has a right to inspect the freelancer's workplace (in practice, the freelancer's home)

The terms are non-negotiable.

I politely told the client to go pound sand and remove me from their database. I hope others will do the same in similar circumstances.


Hi Steven,

This is ridiculous. It sounds like a joke.)

Regards,
Katalin


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:20
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some issues Jul 23, 2009

Steven Capsuto wrote:
1) The freelancer must accept all legal responsibility for the quality of the translation


Does the agreement's jurisdiction distinguish between responsibility and liability?

2) The freelancer cannot keep copies of the job (i.e., cannot retain evidence that might be of use in court when sued under the terms of item 1)


Even with a clause like this, can't you can still keep the files? You are, after all, required by law to do so (well, in many countries where there are tax laws and other laws regarding record keeping).

3) The client has a right to inspect the freelancer's workplace (in practice, the freelancer's home)


Whether you should sign this depends on whether there is another clause in the contract that allows the client to pass responsibility and duties to third parties. Say, what are the odds of the client himself visiting your premises?

This clause is a bit of an eye-opener. Is your work place sufficiently secure that anyone can visit it and all clients' files remain confidential? Your laptop / desktop computer should have passwords on it and have encrypted drives. Your file cabinet should have a lock and key.


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George Hopkins
Local time: 17:20
Swedish to English
Pounding Jul 23, 2009

Pounding sand sounds interesting -- something to be recommended for a variety of reasons to quite a few translation agencies.

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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:20
German to English
Regarding Number 3 Jul 23, 2009

I've signed agreements with direct customers that have included clauses similar to #3. In one instance it was related to the company's ISO certification. In another it had to do with the fact that the client was engaged in international commerce (import/export), and therefore came under regulations of the Department of Homeland Security. They required all vendors to sign the agreement, even though some of the requirements were silly for a single-shingle supplier like me, having to do with data security procedures, physical security of my premises, etc. My contacts at the company admitted that they considered it a joke to have me sign it and hoped I didn't take offense.

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Ana Rita Simões  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:20
Member (2009)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
:S Jul 23, 2009

Steven Capsuto wrote:

3) The client has a right to inspect the freelancer's workplace (in practice, the freelancer's home)



I'd better start cleaning up my desk more frequently!


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:20
Member
English to Turkish
I was thinking in the same line Jul 23, 2009

Ana Rita Simões wrote:

Steven Capsuto wrote:

3) The client has a right to inspect the freelancer's workplace (in practice, the freelancer's home)



I'd better start cleaning up my desk more frequently!


It would be a great motivator for many of us, don't you think? We'd start putting on something more decent than PJs, comb our hair, stop walking in socks around the house...

But have to admit I loved this pounding part. Is pounding sand how you express it politely? Noted down! Thanks


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:20
French to German
+ ...
American regulations? Jul 24, 2009

I was asked to sign such an agreement by a well-known US agency. Apart from the fact that the offered rate was not the best one can think of, I didn't see the point of being submitted to American laws and regulations, as I live and work in Europe. Some colleague even told me that my (French) ToS would not apply in Germany, although both countries are part of the EU. So why should American regulations affect European outsourcers - and vice versa for that matter?

Laurent K.

[Edited at 2009-07-24 05:59 GMT]


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:20
English to German
+ ...
"Unacceptable" is a euphemism Jul 24, 2009

It's a joke, it's too ridiculous to be true.

Hi Steven,

From the context I understand what you mean, however, I had to look it up:

Meaning

An expression of disdain, along the same lines as 'get lost', 'go and play in the traffic', etc.

Origin

This is sometimes used with the intention of meaning 'go and beat/whack sand' - with the back of a shovel or similar. That's not the original meaning though, as is made clear from the longer and less-often used version of the phrase - 'go pound sand up your ass'.

The phrase originated in the US and although common there, especially the midwest states, it isn't frequently heard in other countries.

The version 'go pound salt up your ass' is also sometimes used, presumably to heighten the image of discomfort.

yasgurIt may well date to the early 20th century. That version was certainly well enough known in the US in 1969 for Max Yasgur to have used it when arguing with local dignitaries over his bringing the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival to his farm in Bethal, New York, saying:

"Well, you can all go pound salt up your ass, because come Aug. 15, we're going to have a festival!"

There's also a less vulgar version, 'go pound sand in your ears'.

Here's an entry from the Southeast Economist, Chicago, 1948:

"From her store of memories Mrs. Mary R. Stuart of Harvard Ave, perpetrator of this column of sayings of wisecracks popular in the 'Oh yeah?' era, recalls that 'go pound sand in your ears' meant to soft-pedal the noise."

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/go-pound-sand.html


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:20
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Is translation a concentration camp? Jul 24, 2009

I would have rejected the agreement as well. Just absurd. That does not look like a mutually beneficial business relationship and sounds more like concentration camp conditions.

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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:20
French to English
A sense of proportion? Jul 24, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

I would have rejected the agreement as well. Just absurd. That does not look like a mutually beneficial business relationship and sounds more like concentration camp conditions.


Except that no-one is forcing anyone to do anything here. Mercifully, we are all free to walk away with a brisk "thanks, but no thanks" if the T&C of a contract are not to our liking.
Not, if memory serves, an option usually open to those invited to take up residence in concentration camps.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:20
Member (2008)
French to English
Payment? Jul 24, 2009

I'd be curious to know about their payment practices. Generally it seems that ridiculous demands from agencies are coupled later with slow or non-payment issues.

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Madeleine Guerra  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:20
French to English
Also happened in Quebec Jul 24, 2009

An agency in the Montreal area had the very same contract clauses.

Translators who are members of the Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes du Québec must adhere to the code of ethics that specifically state that we must (1) retain copies of our work as proof should any lawsuits be launched (OTTIAQ requires us to subscribe to liability insurance) and (2) that we maintain confidentiality of all our clients -- thus precluding any access given to third parties.

When an OTTIAQ member asked for advice on the issue, they emphatically said the contract should not be signed and posted a notice to all members to refuse to do so.

The agency relented and revised the contract language to respect OTTIAQ's code of ethics.

Being a member of OTTIAQ is rather expensive but I have found it to be well worth it!


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