Do you submit your terms & conditions when quoting?
Thread poster: John Fossey

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:41
Member (2008)
French to English
Oct 28, 2016

We all know about the extensive and sometimes outrageous terms and conditions that many agencies require translators to agree to when accepting a project.

I'm interested to know how many translators submit their own terms and conditions to agencies when quoting on a project.

Do you do this? And if so, how - as an attachment to an email, link to your website?

If you do this, how is it received by the recipients? Do you lose any business because of it?


Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 04:41
German to Serbian
+ ...
Minimum project fee. Oct 28, 2016

I usually only stress it when necessary. For instance, if someone is sending a big project, no need for me to stress my minimum fee.

Otherwise, a long list of irrelevant and relevant stuff for the agency to read - no I do not have it. I like keeping it to just "relevant" (for a particular project).


Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:41
English to French
+ ...
Work Order Oct 28, 2016

I send new and recent customers a Work Order containing essential data (customer name and contact, description od file name of document(s) to be translated, agreed-on delivery date and price/rates, delivery method), and ask customer to E-mail it back to me after signing it.
That way, I have some sort of legal recourse if Small Claims Court (or worse) gets involved.
I also usually add a sentence to the effect of "No glossary was provided by customer" when applicable.


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:41
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nop Oct 29, 2016

In fact, I don't have such a thing as a standard Terms and Conditions document. I feel that this type of documents clutter good-faith business relationships. Whenever any act or omission on the part of my customers is a bad sign or is contrary to the usual practices within business relationships in good faith, I stop working for them.

[Edited at 2016-10-29 07:27 GMT]


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:41
Member (2007)
+ ...
No separate T&C Oct 29, 2016

Just a couple of sentences in the body of the email that pack in the relevant details. Rate(s), minima, payment terms go in one sentence. A statement to the effect that the Canary Islands are outside the scope of VAT (even though in Spain and in the euro zone) forms the second sentence for EU clients. And if they're in the UK or the US there's an additional one about alternative currencies being possible.

I also insist on getting their full invoice details and their acceptance of my terms before I start work but that's for another email.

If the client starts mentioning very different terms then it's normally a non-starter but I try to negotiate where possible and keep an open mind. I have managed to get some clients to make exceptions to their own terms if they need my services badly enough.

Like some other answerers, I prefer more informal relationships with clients who see me as Sheila, an important (well, fairly important, though not irreplaceable) part of their business. I don't perform well as "Provider 123456".


Robin Levey
Local time: 00:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes ... and yes. Oct 29, 2016

I do things the other way around, compared to the posters so far. I have a quite comprehensive T&C document. I send it to all new clients, along with my quote for the first job. I only send it to a client again if there has been a significant change in the terms since they last received them.

Some (probably most) of the T&C will be irrelevant to most clients/jobs, and can safely be ignored even if problems arise. They are there to catch the occasional fraudster, and give me the legal backing I might need if things go hay-wire.

My T&C cover payment methods and time-scales, in general terms, but prices and other specific conditions for a particular job are excluded; those go in the quote to which the T&C are attached.

OP asked whether we’ve lost business because of our T&Cs. Answer: yes, once.

I have a clause that requires clients to provide a purchase order in which they certify that they own the copyright in the source text, or have the owner’s authorization to have the translation done. This is needed to protect me against a possible claim under Chilean IP law. In most cases the clause is irrelevant – it’s obvious, for example, that the document was written by the client him/herself, or that it’s in the public domain. On one occasion, however, someone (who, of course shall remain nameless...) asked me to translate a large extract from a French text-book on digital video technology into English. I had doubts as to the legitimacy of the request, pointed out the IP clause in my T&C – and never heard from that person again. I have no doubt he found someone else (maybe a fellow Proz member...) to do the translation, but I was happy to have avoided a potential problem.

[Edited at 2016-10-29 12:42 GMT]


French to English
+ ...
Yes, to direct clients Oct 29, 2016

My T&C are based on the SFT recommendations here They fit onto two pages and are included in a PDF along with my quote. Once a relationship is more established, I might omit them with a footnote that they can be consulted on my website. Noone has ever told me the T&C were the reason a quote was turned down. I wonder if your province's translators' association might have something similar.

One interesting point is that French law stipulates what mandatory information must appear on quotes, including after-sales arrangements and penalties that will be applied if a bill is paid late. So even without T&C, a well-prepared quote affords some protection. A service provider can be fined up to €1500 for an incomplete quote.


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