Contract for set volume of translation
Thread poster: Charlotte Revill

Charlotte Revill
Local time: 17:16
English to French
+ ...
Jan 10

Hi everyone

One of my clients has asked for a contract for a set, yearly volume of translation.

I am relatively new to freelancing and have never come across this before. The client wants me to provide the contract, but I don't really know how to go about it, as I usually just provide normal quotes. I know the company well and like working with them, but the work won't be regular over the year, so I couldn't set aside regular blocks of time for them. At the same time their jobs are too big to just slot in if I'm already fully booked.

My question is, has anyone ever signed such a contract and are there any "standard" clauses that I should include? I guess turnaround time, minimum / maximum volume of translation, payment conditions... I do have some legal knowledge but there's no way I can take a blank document and start writing a contract!

Thank you.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
Member (2007)
+ ...
Why? Jan 10

From what you've said, it doesn't seem to be in anyone's interest. I imagine they think that will guarantee your availability whenever they need it, for however long they need it. But that can only be possible if you reserve huge blocks of time for them. They'd have to pay for that time whether or not they used it.

Ricki Farn
Teresa Borges
Gerard de Noord
Dan Lucas

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:16
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Did the client really want you to write up the contract? Jan 10

Charlotte Revill wrote:

I do have some legal knowledge but there's no way I can take a blank document and start writing a contract!

Thank you.

I think it is their job to write up the contract if they want you to sign one.


Local time: 17:16
Member (2017)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
As long as you set up the contract Jan 11

you can put whatever conditions you would like on it....

You can fix certain amount of time (i.e. words) per week, and get paid for those regardless of you actually doing any translation. You can also introduce rush-fees. There are a lot of things you can do to turn this in your favour.
However, I would assume the client expects some kind of discount. But you would get a fixed income.

Set up some general guidelines first, and ask the client to accept. I wouldn't spend any time on a contract before you have reached agreement on the details. If you agree, you can depart for a contract you already have with an agency and adapt it to your needs.

Teresa Borges

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:16
Member (2018)
French to English
retainer fee Jan 11

Set a retainer fee so that you guarantee a set number of hours a month for their jobs. They won't want to pay that.
Or quite simply charge them more than all your other clients, so you're motivated to fit their projects in on top of other work. I mean, I was busy the other day and a direct client suddenly needed a large file translated. Since they pay my top rate, I rearranged my schedule to squeeze them in. I wouldn't have done that for an agency paying my lowest rate.

Sheila Wilson
Teresa Borges
Adam Jarczyk

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Contract for set volume of translation

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