Sharing TM with (Former) Client at No Charge
Thread poster: Pamela Peterson

Pamela Peterson  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 3, 2015

I own a small agency. We've had a client for many years who got acquired by a larger firm. They are now going to use that firm's translation agency, however, my "former" client has asked me to share our Trados TM/Glossary with them.

If you're an agency, and have had this matter come up, please share with me how you how handled it. Do you give it away nilly willy? Do you refuse? or do you charge them for it?

Thanks for any input!


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Charge Them Mar 3, 2015

Charge them for it, after all, they dumped you!

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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:22
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Cui bono? Mar 3, 2015

Pamela Peterson wrote:
They are now going to use that firm's translation agency, however, my "former" client has asked me to share our Trados TM/Glossary with them.

I'm not an agency, but as a disinterested third party I can understand that if the client is of long standing you might feel obliged to give away your TM. Question is, what benefit would you get from this? I can't see anything concrete.

For all you know your client - or a manager in the company that acquired them - will just give the TM to the competing agency. So you not only lose the work to this agency but you give them the means to do a better job, using an asset you have built. I suspect they would flatly refuse to pay a realistic price for the TM, even if you could put a value on it.

It seems to me to be a big ask.

Regards
Dan


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Pamela Peterson  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Agree Mar 3, 2015

Thanks guys, that's what I figured, why give away our TM we spent years creating for nothing so the other agency can use it... I wouldn't even know what to ask them for (dollar wise).

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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:22
Russian to English
+ ...
Keeping TM at an agency is a risky thing in most cases Mar 4, 2015

While any agency's desire to keep a large TM of all its projects is certainly understandable, doing so is risky for two reasons. One, any TM is only as good as its worst entry; the only way to maintain high quality is to engage verified top-notch translators only and to commit texts to the TM only after they have been edited and proofread (which automatically means no online use of CAT tools). Two, even if all the contributors are truly excellent, their texts are stylistically and lexically different, and reusing a mixed TM may either produce "chunky" text or annoy the translators using it. Furthermore, a TM will grow unreasonably and accumulate a lot of garbage if kept unattended, and maintaining it takes a substantial effort by an experienced professional.

A reasonable exception to all that is a highly specialized boutique agency working mostly on very big projects and preferably employing a dedicated terminologist. In this case, an agencywide TM is a good thing indeed.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 20:22
Chinese to English
Legal issue? Mar 4, 2015

One worry is that if the TM contains all the client's own texts and bought-and-paid-for translations, they might very fairly think that it belongs to them by right. It is a piece of their IPR which they lent to you for mutual convenience while you were acting as their supplier. That's no longer the case, so...

You might have to make a legal argument to them that your management and CAT software has added value to the information (particularly if they now intend to transfer it to their new supplier), and that you deserve compensation for that. But calculating that value is no simple thing.


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Meta Arkadia
Local time: 19:22
English to Indonesian
+ ...
50/50 Mar 4, 2015

Give them your TMs (for segments), and show them you're a nice person. You avoid any legal issues as mentioned above, and they can re-create them anyway. Ask a nice lump sum for your glossaries. That's your IP, and it's worth a lot more than the TMs for segments. Hopefully.

Cheers,

Hans


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:22
Danish to English
+ ...
It has a value, maybe you can negotiate? Mar 4, 2015

I used to work as a translator and translation outsourcer for a large production company, which used a local translation agency for translation of extensive technical documentation into a multitude of languages. They became too expensive and we found another agency. Obviously, we were keen to have the first agency's TMs, but we didn't expect to get them for free. However, the price they asked was ridiculously high, so we simply abandoned the idea and gave the new agency ample reference material to start building up their own TMs via alignments...

If you want to avoid legal issues with your ex client, simply delete their TMs. You have no obligation to keep them, and if they no longer exist, your ex client can't claim them. (I realise that would be a TM loss for you, all that work going down the drain, but it may be an option.) Any glossaries you have made are your own, so your client has no claim to those, but it is a product you could sell to them.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 14:22
English to Hungarian
+ ...
TM is a freebie, charge for glossaries Mar 4, 2015

I'd give them the TM for free if it's not much trouble. They bought the translations, the TM is just the translation in a different format. As noted above, it's also not that difficult to align the translated documents and recreate the TM. Charging a couple hundred EUR for the trouble of compiling/maintaining the TM over the years and handing it over now wouldn't be entirely unreasonable; I guess it's up to you to decide how hard you want to push this. You could also refuse to give them the TM in the hope that they will continue to use your agency, but I would not advise trying that. They will probably ditch you anyway and they won't exactly have warm feelings toward you.

Glossaries are a different matter. If you have carefully built, reliable, extensive glossaries specifically made for their texts, offer them up for sale.


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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:22
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Alignment Mar 5, 2015

Phil Hand wrote:
You might have to make a legal argument to them that your management and CAT software has added value to the information (particularly if they now intend to transfer it to their new supplier), and that you deserve compensation for that. But calculating that value is no simple thing.


I would say that just the fact that all the information is aligned and therefore usable in and of itself is worth a lot of money.

As the poster is talking about years of work I imagine they are talking about a lot of documents and just aligning hundreds of documents would take the client hundreds of hours, so the fact that they can save all that time is worth money, quite a substantial amount of money probably.

So I would say that the CAT software has added value to the information. After all that's probably why the client is asking for it, so they don't have to align all the documents.


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fazil

Russian to English
+ ...
TM is a property of TA Mar 6, 2015

Phil Hand wrote:

One worry is that if the TM contains all the client's own texts and bought-and-paid-for translations, they might very fairly think that it belongs to them by right. It is a piece of their IPR which they lent to you for mutual convenience while you were acting as their supplier. That's no longer the case, so...

Imho, clients own final product - translations, TM is a tool to develop a product. TM is built and paid by TA at own risk and therefore under every reasonable standard is owned by TA. Their source text and target translation are their IPR, what's in between - no way. Your reasoning will basically make every possible terminology a property of the client.

So the answer is no, you don't have to and shouldn't share TMs.


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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:22
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
What they own ... Mar 6, 2015

... is all the source texts and their translations. I'm not a lawyer, so unsure about the ins and outs of it all, but I reckon it's a matter of them taking their property (which they have always had) and making a start on alignment.

You could maybe come up with a price to save them the trouble of doing all that, which they may or may not appreciate.

[Edited at 2015-03-06 09:23 GMT]


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Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:22
Serbian to English
+ ...
If they dumped you Mar 7, 2015

with no prospect of ever coming back, no point doing them any favour.

I can hardly imagine a car mechanic giving away for free his tools to another garage just because a big client decided to move there the maintenance of its fleet.

Read again the contract you had with them - except delivering the translations, are you required to supply anything else? Probably not - so why give anything for free to an EX-client? What they expect? Turkeys voting for Christmas?


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Pamela Peterson  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for all your opinions! Mar 30, 2015

Thanks for all your wisdom. I still haven't done anything with this. I told them "I was still thinking about it" a few weeks ago and they haven't bugged me again.

I do like Daryos comment, it IS like that technically... I also dread having to get 6 languages TMs together for them... too busy!


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