Translation agreement questions
Thread poster: xxxflossy75

xxxflossy75
Local time: 14:23
French to English
Jul 2, 2012

I have a new client in Germany, and they have sent me an agreement to sign.
I'm not used to signing agreements, usually all is done via email.
I haven't signed it yet as I am slightly worried about a couple of the things included in it, specifically:

They are expecting me to proofread the print ready document free of charge (no problem), although there is no secondary proofreader of the project. They will basically spell check my version and that's it.

"If the Translator makes any corrections to the galleys, he shall bear any additional expense aris-
ing as a result and exceeding 10% (ten percent) of the typesetting costs."

and "the Publisher may at its own discretion reject the Translation in its entirety,
rescind the Contract and, where necessary, recover damages"

Should I be worried about this? It doesn't feel right somehow.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I certainly wouldn't agree Jul 2, 2012

flossy75 wrote:
They are expecting me to proofread the print ready document free of charge (no problem), although there is no secondary proofreader of the project. They will basically spell check my version and that's it.

"If the Translator makes any corrections to the galleys, he shall bear any additional expense aris-
ing as a result and exceeding 10% (ten percent) of the typesetting costs."


So they are going to manipulate this text in some way, if only to insert images etc.? Once they have done that, it is absolutely no responsibility of yours. They could introduce errors. What if you were under the impression that they wanted one variant of the language, but they spell-checked for another variant so made loads of changes? Are you supposed to change everything back, for free AND incur charges? That's simply absurd!

"the Publisher may at its own discretion reject the Translation in its entirety,
rescind the Contract and, where necessary, recover damages"


The first part of that is definitely valid. There has to be a way for a client to refuse to pay for a text that is totally unsuitable. I don't think (m)any of us would fear signing that as it should never happen. The second part I'm not happy about as I don't see that a translator should be expected to pay for unrelated costs. If you hire a car which breaks down, meaning you can't get to the airport so you have to stay overnight in a hotel and book another flight, the car hire company would not accept your claim for payment of your costs but may be amenable to not charging for the hire of the car. Not sure if that's a relevant analogy, though.

Sheila


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BeaDeer  Identity Verified
English to Slovenian
+ ...
by definition, Jul 2, 2012

a galley proof is a preliminary printing of a text with the purpose to find and correct any errors that might have been overlooked. also, they need not be yours but can happen in the process of importing the text into the file for printing. there are usually two sets of proofs, the first and the second.



[Edited at 2012-07-02 20:50 GMT]


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xxxflossy75
Local time: 14:23
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Another worrying clause Jul 3, 2012

Many thanks for the input.

There's another clause I've just noticed, which I don't like the look of either:

"The Translator warrants and represents that his Translation does not breach any third-party
rights, that he is solely entitled to utilize the rights granted hereunder free of any restrictions and
free of any third-party rights and that he has not entered and will not enter into any agreement
concerning the rights in question incompatible with the grant of rights hereunder.

6.2 To this extent, the Translator shall hold the Publisher harmless against all third-party claims in-
cluding the costs of legal defense and/or litigation."

Bearing in mind that there are a lot of quotes from different sources in this particular text, I am not happy about this either.

It just seems very excessive - it's a 6 page agreement.


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xxxM_S
English to Russian
disagree Jul 3, 2012

Sheila Wilson wrote:
"the Publisher may at its own discretion reject the Translation in its entirety,
rescind the Contract and, where necessary, recover damages"


The first part of that is definitely valid. There has to be a way for a client to refuse to pay for a text that is totally unsuitable. I don't think (m)any of us would fear signing that as it should never happen.

Sheila


Beg to disagree. When I act as a customer (I mean a customer of any service provider), normally I never have the right to reject services I've ordered "at my own discretion". Normally I have to prove and to convince the service provider supposedly at fault that his services are not good.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Mostly, courts give sensible judgements Jul 3, 2012

M_S wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote:
"the Publisher may at its own discretion reject the Translation in its entirety,
rescind the Contract and, where necessary, recover damages"


The first part of that is definitely valid. There has to be a way for a client to refuse to pay for a text that is totally unsuitable. I don't think (m)any of us would fear signing that as it should never happen.

Sheila


Beg to disagree. When I act as a customer (I mean a customer of any service provider), normally I never have the right to reject services I've ordered "at my own discretion". Normally I have to prove and to convince the service provider supposedly at fault that his services are not good.


I suppose "at its own discretion" is worded in a prejudicial way, M_S. It still wouldn't worry me unduly, though because I'm fairly sure that any court (at least in Europe) would uphold a translator's claim of abuse if they tried to invoke this clause when the translation is actually fit for use (as determined by a qualified third party).

Regarding the O.P.s additional post about another clause, I need a translator! What does all that mean in everyday English?

Sheila


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xxxflossy75
Local time: 14:23
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
refused to sign Jul 3, 2012

Thanks very much for the input.
I've told them that i don't agree with their terms, therefore will not be signing it. They have said that they will alter the contract, but until I receive something I'm happy with, I won't be carrying on with the translation.
Why is it all so difficult sometimes?!


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:23
English to Polish
+ ...
Because of sheer laziness... Jul 4, 2012

flossy75 wrote:
Why is it all so difficult sometimes?!

...on the part of some agencies, who think 'oh, let's conjure some agreement with the translators to cover our own ass' and then brainlessly copy from some software licences and such, never giving a damn about the text's incompatibility with the actual situation and the context of another industry. After all, if a legal text was worked out by the top lawyers of an IT giant, it surely must be waterproof and fit all sizes, right? So why take the trouble and actually think?


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BeaDeer  Identity Verified
English to Slovenian
+ ...
for literary translation, you might want to look at some model contracts Jul 4, 2012

available here: http://www.ceatl.eu/further-reading/downloads#s2.
Very useful.


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xxxflossy75
Local time: 14:23
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Useful link Jul 4, 2012

Thank you, that's very useful, and I can see where they have derived their contract from. However, they seem to have removed some of the clarifications.

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BeaDeer  Identity Verified
English to Slovenian
+ ...
it pays to know the legislation Jul 5, 2012

Gut feeling ("It did not feel right somehow") is good, but it also pays to be acquainted with the national legislation and international agreements. (I recall having read that the German copyright law was amended a few years ago due to lawsuits by German translators.)

The Society of Authors in Britain also provides plenty of advice (http://www.societyofauthors.org/rates-and-guidelines), useful to compare with the legal situation in Germany, and they have a model contract somewhere on the site as well (I think; if not, it is on the Ceatl site).

[Edited at 2012-07-05 06:16 GMT]


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