Working for agency (liability of the freelancer)
Thread poster: xxxmaryse54321

Jul 6, 2011


I am new to the freelance industry and I am wondering about liability when working for an agency.

(I am sorry if this has been asked in the past, there are so many different subjects in the forum, I could not find what I was looking for)

But I read in an article that a translator should establish the following when working for an agency:

Product Liability

If you work for an agency, then you have a contract solely with them. This means you are in no way liable to their customers. If an operator cuts off a finger at a machine because your translation is faulty, then the agency is the first in the line of fire, not you. You are, of course, second in the line of fire. There are some ways you can limit your liability here. One is to write-up some Standard Business Conditions (in German these are the infamous AGB's - allgemeine Geschäftsbedingungen). Such conditions can be used to severely limit your liability. These are in fact helpful no matter who you are working for. Every freelancer should have some. Make sure that you send your conditions to all of your employers.

Using Standard Business Conditions (AGB') to Limit Liability

Generally, you should include the following in your conditions:
1. Limit your liability to the maximum amount of the contract, and not a penny more.
2. Explicitly exclude any extra liability either arising from late completion or defective work.
3. Use your Conditions to clearly delimit what belongs to a contract and what doesn't. Many customers/agencies tend to think of "additions" to a text as belonging to the same contract. Make it clear that any such additions always constitute a new and unique contract, except when otherwise explicitly agreed upon (or when it is obvious).
4. Use your Conditions to reserve the right to have suitable time to correct work the customer views as unsatisfactory.
5. Include a clause on prompt payment by the customer.


I do include the prompt payment clause on my bills.

But for the rest, do you include them?

If so, where? Do you indicate them in an email when you first start working for an agency?

And in the case the translation DOES cause some problems (as in the example above of the finger cut), do you also have a clause to limit your liability in case it happens?

Thanks for your help! I want to do things right in the industry but I also want to avoid as many problems as possible. Since I am not very familiar with the legal side of being self-employed yet, your comments are important to me!


French to English
+ ...
Include with quote Jul 8, 2011

I attach my terms and conditions to each quote, regardless of whether I worked with the client before. Both files are in the same PDF so the client receives only one file to read.

The Société Française des Traducteurs has a recommended set of standard business conditions you can check out here. Maybe your province's translators' association has something similar. Best.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:38
Member (2007)
+ ...
Insurance Jul 8, 2011

Another necessity here.

I certainly wouldn't agree to pay whatever damages were proposed as most of them must be the risk of the agency - they are supposed to proofread our work, after all! But before I became a professional translator, I interpreted at a meeting where a contract for many thousands (if not millions) of euros was being finalised and I took out insurance the next day I was really worried about the consequences of having omitted a significant digit somewhere!


Thank you! Jul 11, 2011

Thank you so much for your answers, they were both very useful!


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Working for agency (liability of the freelancer)

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