Non-competition clause / non-concurrence
Thread poster: wiltom

wiltom
France
Local time: 03:59
French to English
Apr 28, 2010

Hello,

I have been working for translation agencies for a certain period of time whilst also translating for other direct clients. I am currently updating my site and would like to know if I can use the names of the companies that I have translated for via an agency. I realise that I cannot directly contact these companies for work, and that is not really the issue, but I would like to put the names as references on my site. It seems that if I can't use the names of companies I have translated for via the agencies then it is 3 years of my working life that has no references!!

Any insight would be appreciated.


Wil


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:59
Member (2002)
English to German
Contract Apr 28, 2010

You have to check your contract with each individual agency for the right answer. If your contract explicitly forbids to disclose these names, then there isn't much you can do.

Otherwise I see no reason why you shouldn't go ahead, as long as you don't do it in a misleading way.

Best regards

Andy
www.interlations.com


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 02:59
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No Apr 28, 2010

They are not your clients! Your client is the translation agency...

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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:59
German to English
Expertise matters, not prestigious clients Apr 28, 2010

Somehow translators think that they derive a certain amount of prestige from the end users of their documents. Your friends might be impressed, but clients, not so much.

Your prospective clients are much more interested in your area of expertise rather than the identity of the end users of your translations. For example, listing "Siemens" doesn't tell the potential client whether you've translated documents relating to wind farms or toasters.

You're really much better off, both professionally and ethically, by listing the types of translations you've completed: "balance sheet for multinational electronics conglomerate" or "repair manuals for high-end kitchen appliances". In this way you're not misleading your potential customer while providing essential information (expertise in financial statements, home appliances). You're also not running afoul of NDAs.


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wiltom
France
Local time: 03:59
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Apr 28, 2010

Thank you for your replies.

Andy, I have re-read the contract from my agency (which by the way I have never signed although I don't suppose that matters!!). Apparently I can't use the names, logos etc of the 'agencies' clients.


Teresa and Kevin, thank you for your replies although I found Kevin's reply more constructive!! I think you are right Kevin that " listing the types of translations you've completed" is indeed the way forward. It shows potential clients the type of translation I'm capable of and as you stated avoids non-disclosure agreement problems.


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:59
German to Spanish
+ ...
Non-competition clause / non-concurrence" Apr 28, 2010

wiltom wrote:

Hello,

I have been working for translation agencies for a certain period of time whilst also translating for other direct clients. I am currently updating my site and would like to know if I can use the names of the companies that I have translated for via an agency. I realise that I cannot directly contact these companies for work, and that is not really the issue, but I would like to put the names as references on my site. It seems that if I can't use the names of companies I have translated for via the agencies then it is 3 years of my working life that has no references!!

Any insight would be appreciated.


Wil


In Spain, a confidentiality agreement hasn't any value, if it is not specified by contract and at the same contract an additional amount is provided as compensation for being unable to work for these clients during the time agreed by the parties. This applies to contract workers. I do not know how it is for self-employed, but I believe it will be quite similar.

Anyway, from my point of view customers do not belong to anyone, nor to the agency neither to the translator, but they are who must decide about the use of its names, brands, trademarks, trade names, patents, etc. I believe the best you can do, is ask for advice to a translators association lawyer of your residence country


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:59
German to English
How important is it? Apr 29, 2010

Along the same lines as Pablo:
Many contracts also contain clauses that are simply not valid (at least in Germany) because of legal restrictions. I don't know if the agencies are saving money on bad lawyers or their lawyers are saving money on bad law books, but some of the clauses are patently absurd even for non-experts.

Pablo's suggestion that non-compete clauses are only binding if they include financial compensation would be one place to start. Like Pablo, I don't know in what way this applies to free-lance contracts.
The fact that you never signed the contract may also be a good place to start.

Teresa's point is also valid: Be careful with the wording of your references. They were not your clients, although you did work for them in some sense... A list of publications, for example, would be better in this case.

In the end, I (like Kevin) would suggest simply obeying the terms of the contract. If it's important and worth some money to you, you could consult a lawyer that is experienced in this area.

Michael


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wiltom
France
Local time: 03:59
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
No that important as it turns out! Apr 29, 2010

Thank you for your replies Pablo and Michael.

To be honest Pablo it all seems a it complicated and not worth the effort going too far with this problem, also when it comes down to it, it is better for me to list the type of translations I have done instead of the names of my clients. As Kevin wrote "listing "Siemens" doesn't tell the potential client whether you've translated documents relating to wind farms or toasters".

I'd once again like to thank Kevin and Michael for their ideas, quite simple really in the end and I will still be professionally and ethically intact!!


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Wolf Kux  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:59
Member (2006)
German to Portuguese
+ ...
A Practical Suggestion Apr 29, 2010

Try this:

ask your agency if his client may send to you a reference letter about your translation.

If the agency refuses to contact his client about this concern, ask the agency if you may do this contact for yourself.

If this is done (I do not think it may be done!) I think that you are free to show anyone about this reference.

Of course if this letter does not look good for you, do not show it to anyone.

[Editada em 2010-04-29 18:33 GMT]


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