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Definition of "errors" in a framework agreement
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:44
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Jan 22

An agency with which I haven't worked before has sent me a framework agreement to sign.

It includes me agreeing that "XXXX reserves the right to apply penalties should the number of errors found in the end product require XXXX to incur in unbudgeted expenses”.

I have asked them for their definition of "errors".

Should I sign this?


 

Eva Stoppa  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:44
Member
English to German
+ ...
Sounds very vague to me Jan 22

Another question would be: how they define Errors and from which number of such do they deem this applicalbe? If you should sign this? Well, this question can only be answered by one Person, Tom in London.

Jean Lachaud
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Hmm Jan 22

It's a bit too vague for my taste. Neither the penalties nor the level of errors that would require unbudgeted expenses is defined. Nor does it say if they normally budget for a reviewer. They could claim that after finding two minor errors in a 10,000-word translation, they are going to apply a penalty of 100%.

I would ask for some clarification in such a case. Of course it also depends on the outsourcer's reputation, but as we know, some negative feedback doesn't survive in the Bl
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It's a bit too vague for my taste. Neither the penalties nor the level of errors that would require unbudgeted expenses is defined. Nor does it say if they normally budget for a reviewer. They could claim that after finding two minor errors in a 10,000-word translation, they are going to apply a penalty of 100%.

I would ask for some clarification in such a case. Of course it also depends on the outsourcer's reputation, but as we know, some negative feedback doesn't survive in the Blue Board.

[Edited at 2019-01-22 15:17 GMT]
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Jennifer Forbes
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:44
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
I asked them Jan 22

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

It's a bit too vague for my taste. Neither the penalties nor the level of errors that would require unbudgeted expenses is defined. Nor does it say if they normally budget for a reviewer. They could claim that after finding two minor errors in a 10,000-word translation, they are going to apply a penalty of 100%.

I would ask for some clarification in such a case. Of course it also depends on the outsourcer's reputation, but as we know, some negative feedback doesn't survive in the Blue Board.

[Edited at 2019-01-22 15:17 GMT]


OK I asked them, and they replied quite encouragingly as follows

"An error has to be objective to be included on this category (typos, lack of understanding of the original text, etc.). We’ve only applied penalties when we’ve encountered translations of such poor quality that our proofreader refuses to finish the job. This is very rare, as you can imagine."


[Edited at 2019-01-22 16:10 GMT]


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:44
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
No Jan 22

Tom in London wrote:
I have asked them for their definition of "errors".

That definition is so elastic that it could be made to mean anything, which means in turn that they can try and coerce you into accepting discounts and so on. If it's a respectable agency it's unlikely they would go that far, but in my experience such agencies do not insert terms of this sort in their agreements.

Regards,
Dan


Josephine Cassar
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Yes, but hmm Jan 22

Tom in London wrote:

OK I asked them, and they replied quite encouragingly as follows

"An error has to be objective to be included on this category (typos, lack of understanding of the original text, etc.). We’ve only applied penalties when we’ve encountered translations of such poor quality that our proofreader refuses to finish the job. This is very rare, as you can imagine."


That's all very well, but I would want a clause or statement to say that the penalties, should they apply, cannot exceed the reasonable cost of additional editing, and that in case of a dispute in respect of the quality, an independent third-party opinion is to be sought.

But it is notoriously difficult to write such clauses because these things are not black and white.

I make a global assessment in such cases, taking all factors into account. If everything else looks good, I accept moderate compromise. If the previous incarnation of the company was subject to insolvency proceedings last year, I take all precautions I can think of.


 

Tina Vonhof
Canada
Local time: 18:44
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Is it that important? Jan 22

I think the explanation of the client is indeed vague but the fact that they did respond and the tone of their response suggests to me that this is not something you have to worry about a great deal. I think it is just a warning to those who might deliver a translation full of errors. You are an experienced translator - how many errors do you think are you going to make? One? Two?

In the few cases that I have received agreements with that wording I have just ignored it and, as exp
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I think the explanation of the client is indeed vague but the fact that they did respond and the tone of their response suggests to me that this is not something you have to worry about a great deal. I think it is just a warning to those who might deliver a translation full of errors. You are an experienced translator - how many errors do you think are you going to make? One? Two?

In the few cases that I have received agreements with that wording I have just ignored it and, as expected, the issue has never come up.
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IrinaN
Teresa Borges
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:44
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Why do you ask? Jan 22

The fact that you, a seasoned translator and freelancer, are asking this on a forum implies that you don't want to sign it. And with good reason, IMO. If everything else about the client seems fine then I'm sure they'll be amenable to rewording the clause to include a definition or an error and/or to define and limit liability. If they aren't amenable to rewording or deleting it then that would set alarm bells ringing for me.

Christophe Delaunay
Josephine Cassar
Dan Lucas
Michele Fauble
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Queer Jan 23

Tom, if you're really into cooperation with them, I'd rather (1) define in writing the "error" and--if the events are not specified or per project--(2) the absolute minimum number of allowed errors, not to mention (3) who's the competent arbitrator.

Why, I do remember a colleague once mentioned she was working with an "European" (yo!) agency, where among other small prints they considered longer synonyms as mistakes, so take care)


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:44
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone Jan 23

Thanks to everyone for your comments.

There's always an element of risk with any new client, especially this one, which according to the Blue Board is a very late payer.

They headhunted me via Proz with a very urgent small job, which I politely declined because I didn't know anything about them and, anyway, I was busy.

I have now signed their agreement, but since they had already complained about my rate (which has not increased for 7 years!!) I think it
... See more
Thanks to everyone for your comments.

There's always an element of risk with any new client, especially this one, which according to the Blue Board is a very late payer.

They headhunted me via Proz with a very urgent small job, which I politely declined because I didn't know anything about them and, anyway, I was busy.

I have now signed their agreement, but since they had already complained about my rate (which has not increased for 7 years!!) I think it is unlikely that they will ever actually give me any work, since I do not reduce my rate.

If/when they do I will be exercising due diligence, as with all new working relationships.

[Edited at 2019-01-23 08:01 GMT]
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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
I would sign it Jan 23

It seems reasonable to me for an agency to impose penalties if a translator makes a lot of errors.

I don't, so no problemo.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
penalties and fines Jan 23

@Tom, aren't we adrenaline junkies? It's fancy they did know your rates beforehand, yet keep nagging... Perhaps, it's a good sign, because only not interested parties ask no questions and seem content with everything.

@Chris, depending on very their definition, you might have made some five "errors" and one big mistake... Good start!)


Chris S
 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:44
Member (2004)
English to Italian
? Jan 23

Tom in London wrote:

especially this one, which according to the Blue Board is a very late payer.



I have now signed their agreement, but since they had already complained about my rate (which has not increased for 7 years!!) I think it is unlikely that they will ever actually give me any work, since I do not reduce my rate.


Why did you sign a contract to work with a very late payer and also a client who has already complained about your rate? It doesn't make much sense to me.


Barbara Carrara
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:44
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Need to go to SpecSavers Jan 23

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

Tom in London wrote:

especially this one, which according to the Blue Board is a very late payer.



I have now signed their agreement, but since they had already complained about my rate (which has not increased for 7 years!!) I think it is unlikely that they will ever actually give me any work, since I do not reduce my rate.


Why did you sign a contract to work with a very late payer and also a client who has already complained about your rate? It doesn't make much sense to me.


I'm not surprised it doesn't make much sense to you. I did not sign a contract. Please read more carefully. I signed a Framework Agreement. If you don't know the difference....


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:44
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Nitpicking... Jan 23

Tom in London wrote:

I'm not surprised it doesn't make much sense to you. I did not sign a contract. Please read more carefully. I signed a Framework Agreement. If you don't know the difference....


Ok, my bad... good luck with the late payments...


Thomas T. Frost
Chris S
 
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