How to get out of a contract
Thread poster: Claudia Alvis

Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 14:39
Spanish
+ ...
Nov 5, 2013

Hello, about 5 years ago, I signed an NDA and other documents for a company. For years, the work relationship was great, but about 1 year ago, the jobs have been very scarce. There are also other reasons I want to end this working relationship but I want to annul the contract.

Some information:

The contract was never renewed after 5 years.
There are no specific stipulation about the expiration of the contract.
The jobs they have been sending in the past years have been minimum and very short--not worth taking them, so I have been rejecting most of them.
There are other important issues that I can't discuss in public.

I have already contacted a law practice in the country of the agency for help but I'd like to know if someone has gone through something similar. FYI, I don't just want to stop working for them, I want to get out of contract.

I'd really appreciate if I could read similar stories and what eventually happen. I don't want to take any risks or leave anything to change.

Thanks


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 21:39
German to English
+ ...
My questions Nov 5, 2013

I'm not really sure what you want to do. You will be bound by the NDA beyond the end of the contract. What is there in the contract otherwise that makes you want to end it. Given that you can turn down jobs anyway, what could the company possibly require of you that they couldn't if you ended the contract.

If you want to end it, I would just send them a signed letter announcing that you will no longer do any jobs for them and that the contract is hereby terminated. However, this isn't really necessary, just turning down jobs would under normal circumstances be sufficient.


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Britta Niggenaber
Germany
Local time: 21:39
English to German
No termination clause? Nov 5, 2013

Most standard contracts with translation agencies have some clause or other on termination as well as a period of notice. If yours does not, just write them a polite note that you wish to terminate the contract with immediate effect and ask them to remove your data from their database. Just because you signed a framework agreement with a client does not mean you have sold yourself into indentured servitude for the rest of your live.

It makes sense to offer an explanation in case you want to continue the business relationship as such but would like to negotiate a better contract, but if you really do not want to work for this client any more, I would not bother if I were you.

However, David is right, you will still be bound by the NDA, but the confidential treatment of client information should be a matter of course for any professional translator anyway.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:39
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Agree with David Nov 5, 2013

It is hard to envisage a situation where it would be highly important to officially terminate (not annul) the contract. But we don't know the whole story. As David says, a signed paper letter should do the trick though personally, for my own peace of mind, I'd send it registered mail so that I get back proof that they've accepted it. They then have no way of saying they never received it.

The NDA stays in place forever, AFAIK (I'm no lawyer). If there's a non-compete clause, then it should normally include a period. If it doesn't, then it certainly has a limited duration in law - a local lawyer should be able to advise on that. But I don't believe that period starts from the date of termination of the contract. It would start from the last time you actually worked with the agency, or maybe from the time you last worked on a job for a particular end-client, if that was earlier. It's the date that you were aware of the existence of the end client, through contacts made by the agency, that's important, I believe.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:39
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Give some assurances Nov 5, 2013

If you have worked through the 5-year term of the contract and it was automatically extended, but not officially renewed, after that, I think either party is free to terminate it at any time. Business contracts are not commitments for life.

I agree with the idea of sending a letter. In the letter, you could consider assuring the agency that you will continue to observe the NDA. If there is a stipulation in the contract that you will not work for any of their clients for 6 months or a year (or whatever term) after termination, you need to observe that as well.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:39
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Sheila Nov 5, 2013

Sheila Wilson wrote:
If there's a non-compete clause, then it should normally include a period.


For almost all of my agency clients, the non-compete clause is meaningless because I don't know who the end-client is anyway. This means that I can't ensure that I don't work for the end-client directly.


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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
. Nov 5, 2013

I don't understand why you're so worried about annulling the contract. Just screw it up, throw it in the bin, and forget about it.

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Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:39
German to English
Right on! Nov 5, 2013

philgoddard wrote:

I don't understand why you're so worried about annulling the contract. Just screw it up, throw it in the bin, and forget about it.


My sentiments exactly.

Steve K.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:39
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Steve and Phil (and @the OP) Nov 5, 2013

Steve Kerry wrote:
philgoddard wrote:
I don't understand why you're so worried about annulling the contract. Just [tear] it up, throw it in the bin, and forget about it.

My sentiments exactly.


I'm assuming the contract is one that acts as the default actions for any individual freelance task. In other words, the contract is not for a set period of time but for just one task and for every task individually that the client and translator may agree to in future. This is the most common form of agreement that I have seen between agencies and freelance translators. In other words, between jobs, the agreement is dormant and does not do anything, but whenever a new job is offered, the agreement kicks in and applies to that job.

In the light of this, one reason why one might want to cancel such an agreement is to avoid being bound by it later when one accepts another job from this client.

Apart from that, it is just tidy to cancel any contracts that you have no further need for, to be sure that you are no longer bound by it or can possibly become bound by it again in future. You should really do that with all contracts that don't have an end-date that have been reached.


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Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:39
German to English
Paperclips Nov 6, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

Steve Kerry wrote:
philgoddard wrote:
I don't understand why you're so worried about annulling the contract. Just [tear] it up, throw it in the bin, and forget about it.

My sentiments exactly.


I'm assuming the contract is one that acts as the default actions for any individual freelance task. In other words, the contract is not for a set period of time but for just one task and for every task individually that the client and translator may agree to in future. This is the most common form of agreement that I have seen between agencies and freelance translators. In other words, between jobs, the agreement is dormant and does not do anything, but whenever a new job is offered, the agreement kicks in and applies to that job.

In the light of this, one reason why one might want to cancel such an agreement is to avoid being bound by it later when one accepts another job from this client.

Apart from that, it is just tidy to cancel any contracts that you have no further need for, to be sure that you are no longer bound by it or can possibly become bound by it again in future. You should really do that with all contracts that don't have an end-date that have been reached.




There are some paperclips in the corner that are looking a little untidy too..

Steve K.


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