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NDA: is it normal??
Thread poster: saranardo

saranardo
Italy
Local time: 19:00
English to Italian
Dec 17, 2013

Hello,

I'm relatively new to freelancing.


I have been asked by an online provider to sign a NDA agreement which basically FORBIDS the translator to write on a paper CV, Linkedin etc the fact that they collaborate for that company.

In this way by paying you they get all the rights on the translation, that's what they say.

Not having the possibility to indicate you worked for a certain company is a HUGE disadvantage for the translator, as it doesn't appear in the translator's history. Having references; as a matter of fact, a name in your CV etc helps to get other customers.

Is this common practice in the US? I've NEVER come accross such thing in Europe...

Thanks



Sincerely



Sara


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:00
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Normal? I don't know Dec 17, 2013

I've signed at least three NDAs like that with UK agencies. After signing the first one I decided not to give references any longer. Clearly top translators can never give references

Cheers,
Gerard


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saranardo
Italy
Local time: 19:00
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
NDA Agreement Dec 17, 2013

The fact of the matter is that a lot oF translators indicate the name of this provider in their CV.

As a matter of fact translating shouldn't be only a way to make a living, but also to market yourself. This is why I find this particular NDA very odd.


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Lennart Luhtaru  Identity Verified
United States
Member
English to Estonian
+ ...
I have some clients like that Dec 17, 2013

And I can understand them as the ones I have do it to protect the identity of their translators from their competition. To make sure that if they offer price X for a very specific job to an end client, there won't be a direct competitor that can offer X-15% and say that we use the same translators and proofreaders, but charge you much less.

As long as they keep market prices reasonable, I couldn't care less, because potential agencies/clients that want to find me, will find me regardless.


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 02:00
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Normal Dec 18, 2013

I consider companies that require references to be the abnormal ones.

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dianaft  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:00
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Names are not that relevant Dec 18, 2013

saranardo wrote:

Not having the possibility to indicate you worked for a certain company is a HUGE disadvantage for the translator, as it doesn't appear in the translator's history. Having references; as a matter of fact, a name in your CV etc helps to get other customers.

Sara


That might be difficult for you just now starting out, because you WANT to talk about every single customer you've worked with, but remember that you are a freelancer and you won't be able to even remember the names of all your clients at some point.
Probably half of my direct clients prefer not to be named. Though this isn't written into a contract, quite obviously I comply, because I want to keep that customer. As a general rule I only ever name those, who have given express agreement and only if specifically asked. I don't wait for them to forbid it, but I wait for approval.

For work through agencies, it is the norm not to disclose the names of the end client. Or to approach the end client for that matter.

Confidentiality is a major issue in this line of work, with respect to content and also with respect to clients. Be thankful, if a client approves you mentioning your collaboration. It is the exception, not the rule.

Really, if you are even still able to list all your clients then you are likely to be inexperienced. If you have completed a good number of projects, you will prefer to sum them up anyway... "I mainly translate in XXX area."


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xxxnrichy
France
Local time: 19:00
French to Dutch
+ ...
For me this is quite normal Dec 18, 2013

As a matter of principle, translators shouldn' give out confidential or commercially sensitive information, and client names obviously belong to it. It's a pity that this should be stated in a NDA, but some clients want it to be mentioned and signed.

After 25 years of translation I have only two references, the first one of a book I translated (my name is on it) and the other of a multinational (I asked for it, and they don't care, as long as I don't mention the names of the contact persons).

We are not looking for an inhouse job.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
By their deeds shall ye judge them... Dec 18, 2013

saranardo wrote:

I have been asked by an online provider to sign a NDA agreement which basically FORBIDS the translator to write on a paper CV, Linkedin etc the fact that they collaborate for that company.

In this way by paying you they get all the rights on the translation, that's what they say.


To me, this behaviour screams "WE DON'T TRUST YOU (OR ANYONE ELSE)"...

My reaction is best expressed by the words of this old Johnny Paycheck ditty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPrSVkTRb24


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:00
English to Polish
Not odd Dec 18, 2013

Why I haven't seen such a clause in any NDAs I've signed, it wouldn't bother me. I don't reveal names of my clients anyway and the only information I provide in my business profile or LinkedIn is general info about past projects, without any details either.

Therefore I don't find it strange or even a problem. I wouldn't do what they want to forbid me from doing anyway. I also rarely see CVs with details of clients and find it a bit surprising someone does it at all. For a potential client those names could be empty and meaningless, or -- the worst case scenario -- a list of their potential clients.


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 02:00
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Which is quite normal Dec 18, 2013

neilmac wrote:

saranardo wrote:

I have been asked by an online provider to sign a NDA agreement which basically FORBIDS the translator to write on a paper CV, Linkedin etc the fact that they collaborate for that company.

In this way by paying you they get all the rights on the translation, that's what they say.


To me, this behaviour screams "WE DON'T TRUST YOU (OR ANYONE ELSE)"...

My reaction is best expressed by the words of this old Johnny Paycheck ditty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPrSVkTRb24


Since when did translators trust agencies?

Trust is a two-way street, in case you haven't realized.

[Edited at 2013-12-18 19:10 GMT]


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:00
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Think about it - at least twice Dec 18, 2013

saranardo wrote:

I have been asked by an online provider to sign a NDA agreement which basically FORBIDS the translator to write on a paper CV, Linkedin etc the fact that they collaborate for that company.


Which means you cannot write an opinion about them on a public forum, like the Blue Board, so if they don't pay you or do something that you may want to warn others about, you can't.
Have you checked the reputation of this "online provider"?

In this way by paying you they get all the rights on the translation, that's what they say.


This is not true. Their right to the translation has nothing to do with whether you keep their identity confidential. Freelance translation is normally "work for hire", which means if they pay you for the work, they own all rights to the job.
Some companies put a specific clause about this in their contracts, and that is normal, although in many jurisdictions it is implicit anyway.

My concern would not be about being able to use this company as a reference, but the basic success of this business relationship, given the issues I touched upon above.

Katalin


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 11:00
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Reasonable Dec 18, 2013

I agree with Ana. It seems reasonable from their point of view. They are asking you not to mention that you translate for them to prevent clients from contacting you directly, which would mean a loss of income for them. There is still plenty of room to market yourself by listing the types of documents you have translated without naming any names.

Confidentiality is expected of a translator and an oath you swear to for those who are sworn or certified.

If they don't pay you, they are breaching the contract and you are also no longer bound by the contract if you want to make a Blue Board entry.


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Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:00
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
It's fine Dec 18, 2013

I never write down the names of companies that I collaborated with on my CV. All client information is kept confidential. I can't even imagine why you'd want to indicate a client's name on your CV unless you had an in-house position with them.

You can write something general on your CV, like:

I recently completed a huge ________ to _________ project for a major (nationality) company in the _______ industry.

I don't see the point in requiring references of translators. They should be able to tell by your website and portfolio, etc. if they are the translator that they need. All serious clients have never asked for references from me. It is only the kind that add you to a database and then never send any projects that require a list of references.


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 15:00
English to Spanish
I think it's fairly usual Jan 13, 2014

I work with a couple of agencies that have similar NDAs in place, which doesn't really bother me, since I do not include a single client's name anywhere in my CV, online profiles, etc.

My client list is confidential (by choice).

Kind regards.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:00
Member (2008)
French to English
Generic vs. named clients Jan 13, 2014

I never identify the names of my clients to other clients, not that it's a question of an NDA but my own ethics. I have several WWA entries and when people ask for references I refer them to the WWA page, where some clients have voluntarily chosen to publicly disclose their business relationship with me.

This doesn't prevent identifying the industry I have done work for or the generic type of document, which seems to work fine for most marketing purposes.

The exception is a non-payer, who gets duly reported on the BlueBoard. IMO, a non-payer has breached any contract they have with me and so for that purpose I am no longer bound by any agreement not to disclose their name. In fact, on my own terms and conditions I state that I will not identify my clients' names to anyone else "except as required by law and for reporting of payment experience".

[Edited at 2014-01-13 21:55 GMT]


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