dinners during interpreting services
Thread poster: Francesca moletta

Francesca moletta
Italy
Local time: 08:07
English to Italian
+ ...
Dec 3, 2003

Dear colleagues,

next week I will work as a liaison interpreter for 2 clients (3 people). The translation agency I am working for sent me a formal contract where it's written that my service hours will be from 11am to 7pm for the first day and from 9am to noon for the second one.
Now, I guess that a dinner (after 7pm) will take place on the first night.
My question is: should I go to the dinner (meaning: working after 7pm)?
According to the contract I could say "see you tomorrow" at 7.01am!
What would you do?
Shall I call the agency to tell them that I'm going to charge an hourly rate for extra hours?

Thanks in advance
Bye


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Pat Jenner
Local time: 07:07
German to English
+ ...
check what's needed Dec 3, 2003

This happens fairly often, and you need to sort out in advance what you will be required to do. As your contracted hours are till 7 p.m., any time you are required to work after that should be paid in addition. Check with the agency whether you will be needed - it might not have occurred to them. Also, make sure you get regular breaks on the first day - that's quite a long time to work on your own, as I know from experience.
Good luck.


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xxxYamato
Bulgaria
Local time: 09:07
Russian to Spanish
+ ...
opinion from a green liaisoner Dec 3, 2003

Well, I am quite green in this field (but I would like to stop being green) and I would say that you should negotiate it... I mean, it's worktime...

I would inform them well in advance that will go home at 7pm, so that if they were expecting for me to stay, they would know they have to pay for that as well.

That's the theory, in practise I could of course fail... *ains*


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 08:07
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
It is always the best to discuss it with your agency Dec 3, 2003

Since they've sent you the contract with stated hours, it clearly means that they do not expect you to participate in the dinner or after 7pm anyway. It is not unusual: the clients might prefer to dine without an interpreter or another person is hired specifically for dinner - to avoid making you working too long (and paying extra charges for excessive time ). It is fairly common practice.

To be on the safe side, why don't you just call the agency and confirm their expectations?

All the best,
Magda


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sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 08:07
German to English
Molly... Dec 3, 2003

Molly,

You say that you "*guess* that a dinner (after 7pm) will take place on the first night". And your formal contract is until 7 pm.

So I don't understand the problem. You don't even know that there's a dinner and are already panicking that you have to attend. Your contract is until 7 pm. Maybe they don't *want* you to attend. (C:

Stop worrying.
sylvie



[Edited at 2003-12-03 15:30]


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Francesca moletta
Italy
Local time: 08:07
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
guessing Dec 3, 2003

It's not that I am worrying. I'm pretty sure both clients (the American and the Italian one) will end up negotiations saying "let's go out for dinner". Quite usual situation. I just want to avoid embarrasing situations. Saying "I'm not coming because I'm not paid for" is not very professional!
On the other hand, I would be glad if they don't ask me to go!


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:07
Flemish to English
+ ...
Wine and dine may be useful Dec 3, 2003

Usually, you will be invited. The dinner is your time for your networking and handing out biz-cards. It may be that an agency does not like you to stay, because it is "the time" to socialize and make direct customers both for interpreting and translation.
This does not mean that you are a "poacher" Usually, more individuals from different companies (who are not the agency's direct client) attend the gathering (in whatever form). I recently got an offer to teach English from a participant, but this is not my core business.



[Edited at 2003-12-03 15:51]


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Francesca moletta
Italy
Local time: 08:07
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
no way! Dec 3, 2003

The dinner is your time for your networking and handing out biz-cards.

In the contract the agency made me sign it is written that I can't steal the client!

I see you know French, so have a look:

Sauf accord préalable de ***, l'INTERPRETE s'interdit de réaliser directement ou indirectement des prestations d'interprétariat à une société ou une personne cliente de ***, dont une action d'interprétariat lui aura été confiée, et ceci pendant une période de 2 ans qui suivra la dernière action de traduction réalisée. En cas de non-respect de cet article 3, l'INTERPRETE devra verser à *** la somme de 45.740 € Ht à titre de dommages et intérêts.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:07
Flemish to English
+ ...
It is not forbidden to socialize with conference participants Dec 3, 2003

s'interdit de réaliser directement ou indirectement des prestations d'interprétariat à une société ou une personne cliente de ***, dont une action d'interprétariat lui aura été confiée, et ceci pendant une période de 2 ans qui suivra la dernière action de traduction (**)réalisée.
********************************************
The stipulation mentioned above says that you are not to get involved directly or indirectly with a customer or a client of ****.
However, it does not forbid getting acquainted with the participants of the conference, who are no direct customers of that agency.
Unless, I am not paid, I do not run away with the customers of an agency either, but if representatives of different companies, who attend that conference give me their biz-card, it would not be polite not to give them my card.
Besides, what happens if you happen to get a client of this agency via a direct way (by marketing yourself to companies) without you knowing that it is their client?
--
And as far as that term of two years goes, I wonder if you can be forced to abide such a stipulation?
A reference to the relevant EU-regulation with regard to that clause would be welcome.
-
D'aillieurs, ils parlent de (suivra la dernière action de) "traduction réalisée", pas d'interprétariat.
La traduction n'est pas la même chose que l'interprétariat.









[Edited at 2003-12-03 17:39]


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 08:07
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
It's a bit dangerous advice... Dec 3, 2003

Hi Williamson,
Perhaps it varies from country to country (I doubt, however), but going to dinner with the agency's customer without the agency's knowledge and agreement would usually be considered as serious breach of professional conduct, even if not the contract.
Actually, in many contracts 'socialising' with the customer is strictly forbiden - if you go for dinner, you go to interpret not to 'socialize' or give away your biz cards and solicit translation. THAT IS unprofessional.

My advice to Molly is to call and ask the agency how they would prefer to do it, probably they wouldn't mind the working day to be longer so they could charge the customer for it.

Magda


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Francesca moletta
Italy
Local time: 08:07
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I did it Dec 3, 2003

Magda Dziadosz wrote:

My advice to Molly is to call and ask the agency how they would prefer to do it, probably they wouldn\'t mind the working day to be longer so they could charge the customer for it.

Magda


That\'s what I did: I wrote to them my hourly rate and how I am expected to behave. But they didn\'t answer yet.
Thanks everybody for your precious (as usual) advice.
Bye


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:07
Flemish to English
+ ...
Leisure time is private.... Dec 4, 2003

After some meetings you are invited to dinner. If "dinner" takes place after working-hours, this time-span is my spare time and in my spare time, it is nobody's business what I do.
It may be "highly unprofessional", but if it suits my day's schedule, I will not refuse.

At some meetings representatives of different companies, who have nothing to do with the agency, are present and in that case it is "highly unprofessional" (see supra) to talk to these people (during or) after working hours, even if they introduce themselves to you. I would say, it is "highly unpolite" not to react and introduce yourself.

Unless they do not pay,I will never sollicit business of any agency's direct customer, but once again sometimes representatives of other companies are present and these are NO direct customers of a particular agency.

It may be that since the advent of translator's websites, we have become a bit to focussed on these websites and agencies as a means to get work. However, there are other means to find direct customers for oneself than just to hand out one's biz card. It is up to every individual translator/interpreter to find these ways.



[Edited at 2003-12-04 14:11]


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:37
English to Tamil
+ ...
Is the Agency your regular employer? Dec 4, 2003

And are they looking after your other needs such as leave salary, medical reimbursements and all that? The answers to these questions being negative, I don't think you owe anything to the agency. There remains the question of your signing the agreement barring you from dealing with their clients for a period of 2 years. It is so one-sided and unfair that it cannot stand the scrutiny of courts, at least here in India.
Take one scenario as detailed below. Agency A has got a client B. You are not supposed to deal with B. But, if B's work is forwarded to you by Agency C, what then? Are you supposed to refuse that work as well? Does A have an inalienable right over B's works? I think not.
Having said that, let me tell you how I proceeded in a similar circumstance. This agency wanted me to sign this agreement and I demanded that it pay me a monthly retainer fee for the period of this ban. This is like the non-practising allowance paid to doctors working as professors in medical colleges. Obviously the agency refused to pay the fee saying that I am no employee of the agency. I refused to sign their agreement for the same reason. The matter rested there. This agency continued to give me work but didn't raise the question of my signing any agreement ever again on this point.
Having said that, let me hasten to add that the agency may refuse to give you any further work, but then they can do so for any number of other reasons.
My advice is clear: Do not accept the condition of the 2 year ban as explained by you. This is not even translation where the choice is over the entire world, thanks to the internet. This is interpreting and the choice is always limited to the local interpreters. It is just a question of calling the agency's bluff. I did it and have survived to tell the tale.
Your loyalty is only for the period of your assignment. During that time do not undercut the agency and this should suffice.

As for the dinner ask the agency about it and make it clear that you will charge your hourly rate. If they agree, well and good. Otherwise, just walk out at the end of the appointed period. Here too one direct client tried to take me along but not pay arguing that I am provided a good dinner in a 5 star hotel. I just smiled indulgently at him and told him that I have eaten enough in such hotels and the prospect is not tempting. He did without me as he didn't want to pay but then the next day the visitor had diarrohea as he had eaten whatever was put up to him and I was not there to tell him such and such Indian spices may not agree with him. Interpreting was done by me the next day, between the visitor and the hospital staff and the client was not amused.
Regards,
N.Raghavan


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Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:07
German to Italian
+ ...
Lol! Dec 5, 2003

Narasimhan Raghavan wrote:

He did without me as he didn't want to pay but then the next day the visitor had diarrohea as he had eaten whatever was put up to him and I was not there to tell him such and such Indian spices may not agree with him. Interpreting was done by me the next day, between the visitor and the hospital staff and the client was not amused.
Regards,
N.Raghavan


LOL! Thank God I'm not an interpreter But I'm sure my work would be much spicier if I were


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Francesca moletta
Italy
Local time: 08:07
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Dec 5, 2003

[quote]Narasimhan Raghavan wrote:

As for the dinner ask the agency about it and make it clear that you will charge your hourly rate. If they agree, well and good. Otherwise, just walk out at the end of the appointed period. Here too one direct client tried to take me along but not pay arguing that I am provided a good dinner in a 5 star hotel. I just smiled indulgently at him and told him that I have eaten enough in such hotels and the prospect is not tempting. He did without me as he didn't want to pay but then the next day the visitor had diarrohea as he had eaten whatever was put up to him and I was not there to tell him such and such Indian spices may not agree with him. Interpreting was done by me the next day, between the visitor and the hospital staff and the client was not amused.


Thanks Narasimhan:
your advice is very logic and well structured!
... and your funny tale made me laugh!!!
thank you again
Bye


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