Translator contracts - penalties
Thread poster: cynthiatesser

cynthiatesser  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:47
English to Italian
+ ...
Oct 8, 2009

Are the following terms and conditions customary and acceptable in translator contracts?

- Penalty for late cancellation or delivery: Where the Translator fails to notify XXX of their assignment cancellation more than 24 hours from the commencement of the assignment and fails to provide a suitable replacement, the Translator will be made liable for any financial costs incurred by XXX as a result of the Translator’s cancellation and providing an urgent replacement.

- The Translator shall notify XXX immediately of any event, including force majeure, likely to delay or prevent performance of the order within the deadline. The parties shall then jointly agree on the action to be taken.

- XXX, where it incurs additional costs, for example in having texts revised or re-translated, as a result of failure by the Translator to comply with the quality requirements set out in the contract and special instructions and, in particular, those relating to completeness, the absence of spelling and typing errors and mistranslations, reserves the right to recover the costs in question at a rate of 100% of the total amount.

Cinzia - Italy






[Edited at 2009-10-08 16:51 GMT]


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Ivana Kahle  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 03:47
Member (2007)
German to Croatian
+ ...
I would say yes Oct 8, 2009

... especially the first and the second one.
As for the third one - there are translators out there who offer themselves to the agency/client the possibility of not paying them it they are not satisfied with the translation. Make sure that "100% of the total amount" refers to the amount the agency pays to you and not to the amount the client pays to the agency (because you don't know how much the agency charges the client).
Also make sure to get a PO (purchase order) for each assignment. Don't hesitate to ask all the questions you have about a particular assignment - the agency is there to assist you.
Hope that helps and ... in bocca al lupo
Ivana Kahle.


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cynthiatesser  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:47
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Ivana Oct 8, 2009

You know, I have received an e-mail from a translating agency located in London asking me to sign a contract in order to work for them but I don't know where this agency got my address and I don't remember contacting them. They may have got my address indirectly from Proz.com or other websites. So I'm being somewhat cautious.

The agency and the contract seem to be all right but those few passages in the contract worry me. So I'm grateful to you for reassuring me ang giving me additional information.

Have a nice day.

Cinzia


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Julie Dion  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:47
English to French
careful with the 1st one Oct 8, 2009

That first paragraph would scare me a little. It means you would have to pay them money if you could not deliver. And that could amount to quite a bit.

Agencies charge clients a hefty mark-up, I'd say, and that's in part to cover the cost of a translator not being able to deliver in time.


My opinion.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
No, they're not Oct 8, 2009

cynthiatesser wrote:
- Penalty for late cancellation or delivery: ... the Translator will be made liable for any financial costs incurred by XXX as a result of the Translator’s cancellation and providing an urgent replacement.


If the client wants you to pay for breach of contract, he can sue you. Other than that, he can demand a refund (which, if you have given him credit, means that he can demand not to pay you). If he wants compensation for losses suffered, he should prove his losses in a court of law or negotiate an arrangement with you.

- The Translator shall notify XXX immediately of any event, including force majeure, likely to delay or prevent performance of the order within the deadline. The parties shall then jointly agree on the action to be taken.


Something tells me the client thinks that force majeure is when your alarm clock didn't go off or when a neighbour cornered you on the stairs with a long story or when you forgot where you left your laptop, and for these reasons you are unable to deliver the job on time. But to answer your question -- I would not mind signing that clause as it is written there.

- XXX, where it incurs additional costs ... reserves the right to recover the costs in question at a rate of 100% of the total amount.


This clause essentially gives the client the right to hire the most expensive editor to fix your errors, and let you pay for it. No, don't sign it.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:47
French to German
+ ...
Details Oct 8, 2009

cynthiatesser wrote:

- XXX, where it incurs additional costs, for example in having texts revised or re-translated, as a result of failure by the Translator to comply with the quality requirements set out in the contract and special instructions and, in particular, those relating to completeness, the absence of spelling and typing errors and mistranslations, reserves the right to recover the costs in question at a rate of 100% of the total amount.

Cinzia - Italy

At a rate of 100% of which total amount? Some agencies tend to believe that you can work for XXX euros per source word, but that their (in-house) editor(s) must be paid 40 euros or more per hour (lordo e/o senza IVA, of course). Too bad if the translator manages "only" 300 words @ 0.07 euros per word = 21 euros per hour...

Samuel Murray wrote:
Something tells me the client thinks that force majeure is when your alarm clock didn't go off or when a neighbour cornered you on the stairs with a long story or when you forgot where you left your laptop, and for these reasons you are unable to deliver the job on time.

I think any court would be delighted to determine whether these examples are constitutive of force majeure with reference to the overall redaction of this contract/agreement/piece of paper.

[Edited at 2009-10-08 20:55 GMT]


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Ivana Kahle  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 03:47
Member (2007)
German to Croatian
+ ...
Hire a lawyer Oct 8, 2009

Hi again,
there is always the possibility of hiring a lawyer to go through the contract. That's what I do when something looks suspicious to me.
I have seen worse contracts than yours, but still, if you want to be sure, ask a pro.
On the other hand, I recently scared away a potentially good client by being too suspicious.
Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best.
Ivana.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:47
French to German
+ ...
Article on the topic Oct 9, 2009

Hi again Cynthia,
I would encourage you to read this article written by our colleague Derek Gill Franßen back in 2005: http://www.proz.com/doc/554

[Edited at 2009-10-09 05:51 GMT]


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
German to Spanish
+ ...
Translator contracts - penalties Oct 9, 2009

Hi, Cynthia: I do not go to advise here on how to run your business. But, I can say what I do: I reject automatically any contract with penalizations. If you sell a car: who marks the sale conditions? You or the car concessionaire? And so I say to my clients. (I have never understood, why the translation market is the only one where the clients dare to impose his prices and imho we as translation providers should finish with this immediately).

If they insist on contracts with penalizations, this is what I answer them : When you are also ready to accept a penalization for payment delays (with an interest that I am very sure they are not going to accept, since very little number of agencies pay really punctually), I will accept your penalizations. And, curiously, the penalization clauses usually disappear as for delight.

Some rare times, it is the client who disappear. But, I don't care.
After all, it also did not have the minor intention of paying me for the value of my services...

To finish, I agree with all the points exposed by Samuel. I would NOT sign such contract.

[Editado a las 2009-10-09 07:34 GMT]


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cynthiatesser  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:47
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I asked for an explanation Oct 9, 2009

First of all, I'd like to thank you all for your advice.

I've replied to the company highlighting the parts of the contract I am perplexed about and asking for an explanation of them.

The company seems to be all right, it's located in central London and it's easy to trace in several websites on the Internet. In Proz.com Blue Board (to which I do not have full access) I can see it has a score of 4.8, so it shouldn't be so bad.

Let's see what they tell me.

So long

Cinzia


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cynthiatesser  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:47
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Oct 9, 2009

I really appreciated the article.

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

Hi again Cynthia,
I would encourage you to read this article written by our colleague Derek Gill Franßen back in 2005: http://www.proz.com/doc/554

[Edited at 2009-10-09 05:51 GMT]


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