The ever expanding Terms of Business and NDA agreements - and their content
Thread poster: Hege Jakobsen Lepri

Hege Jakobsen Lepri  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:41
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Apr 23, 2014

Over the past three-four years, there's been a trend towards longer agreements with almost impenetrable legalese, that have to be signed in a hurry in order to even be able to view a prospective job (that you may even end turning down).
In addition to adding administrative chores and eating up time during your work-day, some of these agreements pose a major risk, if you're in a rush and sign without reading until you reeach the bottom of the last page.
This week I encountered the worst example so far:

"The subcontractor is responsible for and shall indemnify, keep indemnified and hold harmless XXX XXX against all losses which the indemnified party incurs or suffers as a consequence of any direct or indirect breach or any negligent performance of the work assigned by the subcontractor, including in each case any non-performance or delay in performance of the work assigned or of any breach of statutory duty, misrepresentation or misstatement by the subcontractor."
Basically, the responsibility of any hypothetical loss, due to whatever error, or misintepreted term, or delay, for whatever reason, falls on the translator according to this clause.

Even if I believe the clause is so unreasonable that it wouldn't hold up in court, it can certainly make your life miserable until that is established.

I wrote back and explained I wouldn't sign the agreement if they didn't allow me to edit that clause (limiting my responsibility to the value of the job order), but I wonder how many translators have signed this agreement without thinking of the consequences.

[Edited at 2014-04-23 18:43 GMT]


MANOJ OZA  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
English to Gujarati
+ ...
real dilema Apr 24, 2014

The communication in a local language does involve the intricacies of legal bindings put up by the clients for the service providers to sign up before the actual task commences and unless one has read the details provided in the clauses, the signing on the dot may bind for the unforseen.It is, therefore, necessary to read BETWEEN THE LINES.
However, the need for the binding clauses have to be appreciated from the clients view point too.Since the globalisation has juxtaposed the apparently unknown customers togather,, without adequate knoweledge of the native language on the either side, it is the job of the translator-interpreter to put the message across. It is he/she who claims to have an authority or expertise to understand the LANGUAGE PAIR.
The cleint has had to rely upon his/her claim and in case ,an odd error creeps up in translating the term/word which could be grave enough to raise a fury of protests or could lead to breach of trust or could be claimed to be misleading, then the client has to face the music and the effort to enter in to another language customer domain may prove to be irresponsible.
Therefore ,the mediums like have a meaningful role to does it by getting the details of the credentials, the ancillary proofs on display, the profile build up,the earlier opinions of the clients to be displayed and so on to justify the standing and trustworthiness of the translators.More and more clients ,in future, may increasingly seek services through similar web agencies like!

[Edited at 2014-04-24 13:19 GMT]


Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:41
Dutch to English
+ ...
I feel your pain Apr 24, 2014

It can definitely make your life a misery. There was a case in a closed group I'm a member of which was exactly that: proofreading job, client unhappy, threatened to start a court case against agency for lost profits/damages due to bad proofread, agency contacts translator and demands she pay a certain amount or otherwise face the court etc. In the end it wasn't about a large amount of money, but if they do put significant losses down to your translation (even if that is unreasonable and cannot be proven), then what do you do?

I would never sign that either, unless I could edit it. Mind you, the last time I tried to tell a potential client that if they wanted to pay me for a test translation, their contract couldn't state 'test translation shall be free of charge', they got angry with me and refused point blank to edit their contract. I still don't know why.


Branka Ramadanovic  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 20:41
English to Croatian
+ ...
Exactly Apr 24, 2014

why I did not sign a number of such NDAs, just because of this sentence. I wonder why they use it.icon_smile.gif


Hege Jakobsen Lepri  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:41
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
I'm amazed Apr 26, 2014

the translation agency can keep using this contract. They were clearly surprised when I refused to sign, which tells me that most translators sign the agreement without flinching.

Risk-takers and adrenalin junkies all of them, or don't they read the contract before signing?


Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:41
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Trust Apr 26, 2014

All of my successful working collaborations are based on trust. There are ways of establishing, maintaining, and strengthening trust that are very efficient because they completely eliminate any need for NDAs.

Lawyers hate this, of course.


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:41
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Ignore them Apr 28, 2014

I have never seen coming any real work from agencies that want me to sign those documents.


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