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Two agencies, one end-client
Thread poster: Olly Pekelharing

Olly Pekelharing  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:50
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
Mar 22, 2011

One of the agencies I work for used to be the preferred supplier to a major university, but they obviously lost part of that contract, as another agency I work for recently started sending me work for the same end-client. This leads to a slight conundrum: I have a huge TM for this end-client provided me by agency no. 1, and practically speaking it would make sense to use this TM for agency no. 2 as well. Should I just do so surreptitiously? I fear if I bring the matter the up it will just lead to a lot of bother, and I'm not sure if it's such a big deal. Or is it?

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Jean-Pierre Artigau
Canada
Local time: 15:50
English to French
+ ...
Use the TM Mar 22, 2011

I would use the translation memory without asking questions, unless there was an explicit prohibition brought up by the agency concerning that TM.

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sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:50
English to Russian
+ ...
Take a closer look.. Mar 22, 2011

.. at all the agreements/contracts you signed with your Client N. 1. Is there anything related to the use of TM or copyright to the translations and when it expires? Requirement to submit the TM together with the translation(s)? If not, I do not see a reason why you cannot use it. And you are right: contacting your Client No. 1 will only bring confusion.

If your agreements have some specific clauses on TM and you will need their approval my understanding is that you will not get it as their competitor is involved. They would know which other agency won their contract. It could potentially be a big deal and for you as a contractor, better safe than sorry.

I also had quite a few episodes when I had the same end client but from two different agencies, however this was interpretation. Non-Disclosure Agreement and Non-Compete Agreement were primary documents in both cases and my limitations were quite clear.


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 15:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
surreptitiously? Mar 22, 2011

Olly Pekelharing wrote:

... Should I just [do what I want] surreptitiously?


Methinks doing anything "surreptitiously" is going to be difficult after plastering your doubts across the Internet for all to see.

Has it not occurred to you that the agencies might see this thread - and maybe even contribute to it?

MediaMatrix


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Shouguang Cao
China
Local time: 03:50
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Use the TM Mar 22, 2011

Use the TM and be happy.

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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:50
Member (2008)
French to English
Whose TM Mar 22, 2011

Does the copyright to the end client's TM belong to you, the agency or the end client? If it's either you or the end client - that answers the question.

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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:50
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TM provided by agency no. 1 Mar 22, 2011

Olly Pekelharing wrote:

I have a huge TM for this end-client provided me by agency no. 1


If they provided the TM to you - which I imagine means it includes segments translated by people other than you, in work paid for by agency 1 - then it is unethical to use or even consult those segments. Why should the reputation of agency 2 benefit from the work of translators hired by agency 1, and from any quality control done by agency 1? It would be an abuse of proprietary information.

Consulting segments that you yourself translated for another agency is a different matter.

[Edited at 2011-03-22 19:44 GMT]


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Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:50
English to Spanish
Work done by previous translators will be benefited from anyway Mar 22, 2011

Steven Capsuto wrote:

Olly Pekelharing wrote:

I have a huge TM for this end-client provided me by agency no. 1


If they provided the TM to you - which I imagine means it includes segments translated by people other than you, in work paid for by agency 1 - then it is unethical to use or even consult those segments. Why should the reputation of agency 2 benefit from the work of translators hired by agency 1, and from any quality control done by agency 1? It would be an abuse of proprietary information.

Consulting segments that you yourself translated for another agency is a different matter.

[Edited at 2011-03-22 19:44 GMT]


Let's assume that Olly is not hired to do the job, and agency 2 hires another translator to do the job. In order to produce a consistent translation the translator gets a hold of any previously translated documents (not any TMs) for that client.

Wouldn't in that situation the hired translator be benefiting from the work done by the original translators hired by agency 1 and from any quality control done by agency 1?

Why should Olly worry about anything in his present situation?

Why is it always that translators owe agencies everything and agencies do not owe translators anything?


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La Classe  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:20
French to English
+ ...
Use TM Mar 23, 2011

If there is no agreement related to TM, then you can use TM.

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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:50
English to Russian
+ ...
don´t Mar 23, 2011

trouble trouble before trouble troubles you
It only doubles trouble and troubles others too


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:50
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A BIG conundrum! Mar 23, 2011

Olly Pekelharing wrote:
One of the agencies I work for used to be the preferred supplier to a major university, but they obviously lost part of that contract, as another agency I work for recently started sending me work for the same end-client. This leads to a slight conundrum: I have a huge TM for this end-client provided me by agency no. 1, and practically speaking it would make sense to use this TM for agency no. 2 as well. Should I just do so surreptitiously? I fear if I bring the matter the up it will just lead to a lot of bother, and I'm not sure if it's such a big deal. Or is it?

Indeed the situation can happen to anyone working for a number of agencies in the same region.

I think that "surreptitiously" is not an option here. I would use the materials you already translated if, and only if:

1. They are your own translations and not the work of any other person in the agency (I would remove all other translators from the memory for these purposes).

2. And: Your translation is already publicly available over the web or other means, or can be purchased freely with no authorisation from any of the parties.

3. And: Your agreements with the agencies do not prohibit you from reusing the materials you translate for them. Since any standard agency agreement does prohibit that... this is the end of the story! End of the conundrum.

You should use your previous translations as reference material only. If you have a glossary you have made yourself and was not a deliverable for any of the agencies, I reckon you are free to use it as well.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:50
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
"Not so fast, stranger!" Mar 23, 2011

Dallas Cao wrote:
Use the TM and be happy.

I think there are legal implications here to consider: who does the TM belong to? Was the TM or exports from it a deliverable for the first agency? In that case, it clearly belongs to them and you cannot reuse it that happily.icon_smile.gif


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Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:50
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Quality issues? Mar 23, 2011

I am surprised nobody mentioned it before: if the first agency lost that part of the contract, it might mean the client was not satisfied with the quality they provided. I do not imply that it was your translations in particular that they rejected, as the TM probably contains works of many people. It might not be even the issue of quality as such - the client might not like a particular selection of phrases, or the overall "voice"... or a different problem altogether, e.g. rates.

Still the question remains: would you like to use a TM from a provider that was rejected by the same end client?

[Edited at 2011-03-23 07:41 GMT]


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
Go ahead! Mar 23, 2011

Isn't possession 9 tenths of the law. Go ahead and use it. It is in your power at the end of the day.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Olly Mar 23, 2011

Olly Pekelharing wrote:
I have a huge TM for this end-client provided me by agency no. 1, and practically speaking it would make sense to use this TM for agency no. 2 as well. Should I just do so surreptitiously?


This is a difficult question, but my opinion at this stage is as follows:

Firstly, you have no idea whether the translations in the TM are the same as the translations that were delivered to the end-client. Even if agency A never sent you the edited versions of your translations or gave you any idea that you should update your TM with edited work, you can't be certain that what the client got in the end is exactly what you had translated. In fact, it is not unlikely that agency A's contact person at the end-client then gave the translations to their own inhouse editor, who made further changes to it unknown to you.

Secondly, you are free to create your own TM from publically available materials and from materials that the client had sent you via agency B (or directly, but only while you're working for agency B).

Assuming you can't get an existing TM from the end-client (via agency B), you could ask for previous translations, and then align them to form a new TM.

[If the client can only supply you with translations (i.e. no source text), I personally think it would be okay for you to compare those materials with your existing TM (the whole TM) and create a new TM from it that consists of only the segments whose target field are identical to those in the end-client's materials. I look forward to other translators' opinion on this specific point.]

Think of it this way: If agency A had lost the contract because the end-client's own editor disliked the translations, then agency B will soon lose the contract too if you deliver translations that are consistent with the translations delivered by agency A.

I do believe that it would be okay for you to use your own translations (i.e. the portions of the TM that you have created while translating for agency A) for reference searches (i.e. terminology, but only subject-field terminology -- not client-specific terminology) while working for the new agency.

Essentially, everything that you got from agency A and did not create yourself does not belong to you and can't be used unless agency A gives permission for it (and who knows what might happen if you simply ask them)... no matter how much you may think it would benefit the end-client. Theoretically, everything that you had created yourself belongs to you, but then confidentiality is still an issue (so you can consult it but you can't re-use it). Basically, you can't use anything for the new client that you did not get either from the new client or from public sources.


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