Publicity clause - NDA
Thread poster: Marta Otrząsek

Marta Otrząsek  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:54
Member (2017)
English to Polish
Dec 10, 2016

Hello everyone,

I'm relatively new to the translation business - I'm at the point of establishing cooperation with various agencies. One agency got back to me and asked for the NDA to be signed. So far, so good, I understand NDA is one of the documents a translator needs to sign before starting to work for an agency. My question is this though: there's a point stating that I can't disclose the existence of this particular NDA or disclose that I work for them unless they agree to it in writing.
Could you give me your thoughts on this; is such point in an NDA nothing out of the ordinary? For me, it seems a bit odd not being able to say that I've worked for a particular agency.

Thank you!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:54
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I wonder... Dec 12, 2016

Marta Otrząsek wrote:
there's a point stating that I can't disclose the existence of this particular NDA or disclose that I work for them unless they agree to it in writing.
Could you give me your thoughts on this; is such point in an NDA nothing out of the ordinary? For me, it seems a bit odd not being able to say that I've worked for a particular agency.

Did they also ask you for 'references'?

I don't really see any problem with not being able to publicise the connection between suppliers and clients, although I do wonder why it would be an issue. So I'm fine either way. (It's totally out of order for us to claim any connection between ourselves and an agency's clients though.) But what makes me laugh is agencies who on the one hand demand secrecy and yet on the other insist on us providing 'references' (in quotes because the way they use the term is the way an employer would).


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:54
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Strictly, this means you must not recommend the agency to others or warn about problems Dec 12, 2016

Taken to its logical conclusion, not mentioning your collaboration with the agency means you are not allowed to rate them on the Blue Board on this site, or mention them, for better or worse, anywhere else. You are would not be allowed to say you like or dislike their payment terms, methods of contacting translators and exchanging files (e.g. those platforms that may work fine or may be an absolute pain). I guess they have a platform and so much security that it takes half an hour's hassle to upload and download files, present your invoice etc. They do not want you to complain, in short.

In practice I regularly discuss agencies - in confidence - with colleagues, and we exchange experiences. You do have to be careful about what you say, but it is perfectly legitimate. I proudly name my favourite agencies and tell others why I like them, what makes a good agency and so on. That is perfectly possible, without revealing anything confidential. Most of it is in fact in the agencies' favour!

I would not sign a clause like that myself. I also refuse to sign if NDAs have clauses with unclear terms for compensation above and beyond the fee charged for the translation. Beware of expressions like 'indemnify each and every ...' and the word 'whatsoever' after a long string of conditions! Read the small print, and if you are not happy about it, protest.

An NDA is not strictly necessary for working with an agency, if you have signed a code of professional conduct as a member of a translators' association for instance. That deals with the issue of references once and for all, too - as an MCIL and Chartered Linguist, I obtained references when I applied to the CIoL, but I was not giving the names of good clients to potential competitors.
However, it may be better to sign a reasonable NDA than lose a client by refusing. As long as it is reasonable. I find smaller agencies often accept suitable credentials and don't worry about NDAs.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It's not odd Dec 12, 2016

Marta Otrząsek wrote:
There's a point stating that I can't disclose the existence of this particular NDA or disclose that I work for them unless they agree to it in writing.


This actually goes without saying. Your client's identity is always confidential, unless there is a good reason to disclose it, unless there is absolutely no harm in disclosing it, or unless disclosing it serves a greater good that outweighs the confidentiality.

Typically, this "rule" is applied less strictly with regard to agencies -- it is generally considered fair to post a review of an agency that you've worked for, as long as you don't reveal too many details about the content of your communication with them.

This agency simply does not want you to post anything about them unless they give you permission to do so. It's not odd.


 

Marta Otrząsek  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:54
Member (2017)
English to Polish
TOPIC STARTER
Yes... Dec 13, 2016

... I've been asked to provide references, too.

Your suggestions have been most helpful! I'm glad I've asked, it all definitely makes more sense now; and I feel more aware of what I should pay attention to while reading a document like this.

Thank you!


 


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