Is it standard practice for an agency to ask you to sign an NDA before they've hired you?
Thread poster: Anthony Mazzorana

Anthony Mazzorana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:28
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 12

Is it standard practice for an agency to ask you to sign an NDA before they've hired you to do anything?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2018-06-12 22:24 GMT]


 

Onur Inal  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:28
Member (2015)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Why to sign an NDA before everything else? Jun 12

This practice also irritates me. Why to sign an NDA before everything else?

I sent a price quote today. Here is the response I received:

Thanks for sending your CV.

Please find the attached file, You will find the NDA, Sign it then send it back to complete your profile on our data base.

Kindly note that when NDA is signed, we will discuss further aspects of cooperation such as rates, quality control, work process etc.


 

Anthony Mazzorana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:28
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
agree Jun 12

Thanks, Onur,

Glad I'm not the only who finds it strange.


 

Heike Holthaus  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:28
Member (2012)
German to English
+ ...
NDA befrore seeing any documents - yes / before agreeing on the rate - no Jun 12

I am perfectly okay with signing an NDA AFTER we agreed on the rate ( at least a rate estimate), but BEFORE they send me any documents for my review (to establish subject matter suitability, agree on a deadline etc.) or for translation. I do, however specify in my rate proposal that this rate is subject to me seeing the document.

 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:28
Member (2008)
French to English
Yes Jun 12

Anthony Mazzorana wrote:

Is it standard practice for an agency to ask you to sign an NDA before they've hired you to do anything?


You need to see the documents before quoting and it's only reasonable for the client to ask you to sign an NDA before you can see the documents.


 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 00:28
English to Russian
+ ...
Red flag Jun 12

It may be standard nowadays with all those new agencies growing like mushrooms in the dark but that does not make it right. No decent, reputable agency does that.

I bet my last skirt that the next stage is 150 pages of questionnaries, negotiations to 3-5 cents and only 25% of the latter for funny matches etc etc, promises of bright and wealthy future and no work whatsoever... or worse, some work and no pay. When the first move toward the deal is obviously shady (no rates to start with), who can be sure that the whole thing is not shady or at least utterly unprofessional? Who would attempt to strike any deal without as much as a somewhat predictable financial outcome? Who offers such deals? Ask yourself all those questions beforehand.

The agencies of the sort fish for the cheapest vendors, and after a few inexperienced or desperate seekers would spend all that time and nerve cells jumping through all the hoops, they'd be weakened and willing to accept anything just to comfort themselves with the tiniest reward after all that hard and frustrating labor. All of a sudden Oscar Wilde's The Devoted Friend came to mindicon_smile.gif. Human psychology works in mysterious ways...

I have signed a few project-specific NDAs before receiving the job but I knew the agencies for ages, I knew that the projects were physically in their hands or their chances to get it were very high and the NDAs were required by very serious project/bid owners together with the list of candidates, I knew how much I'd be paid.

Steer clear.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:28
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Rates first Jun 12

Heike Holthaus wrote:
I am perfectly okay with signing an NDA AFTER we agreed on the rate ( at least a rate estimate), but BEFORE they send me any documents for my review (to establish subject matter suitability, agree on a deadline etc.) or for translation. I do, however specify in my rate proposal that this rate is subject to me seeing the document.

Same here. I explain my rates first, and tell them that unless they agree there is no point in my proceeding. If they say "You need to sign the NDA first" then I politely end the dialogue.

The basic issue is that nobody has a right to take up my time with paperwork until I know that they can at least pay my rates.

Dan


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:28
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes Jun 12

Anthony Mazzorana wrote:
Is it standard practice for an agency to ask you to sign an NDA before they've hired you to do anything?


Yes, it's quite common. Some NDAs can be quite lengthy, so before you spend time reading it, try to discover whether the agency would be willing to pay your rate. You could ask them, but if they are reluctant to say, use judgement based on other factors about the agency.


 

eric huizer
Netherlands
Local time: 07:28
Member (Jun 2018)
English to Dutch
+ ...


Posted via
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To me it makes sense Jun 13

Several times clients have asked to do this before even seeing the files.

After all, in order to see the files and make a correct quote it is important for the client to have the nda signed.

So for me it is not a "Red flag".


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 08:28
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
I would sign one page Jun 13

If it is a multi page document I have to scan and send back I ignore the whole thing. I would need to read the text carefully before signing, so I don't do it.

 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:28
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Not necessarily Jun 13

John Fossey wrote:

Anthony Mazzorana wrote:

Is it standard practice for an agency to ask you to sign an NDA before they've hired you to do anything?


You need to see the documents before quoting and it's only reasonable for the client to ask you to sign an NDA before you can see the documents.


I very rarely ask for more money because of file content. Either I can do it, in which case I apply my usual rate, or I can't, in which case I turn down their offer.

Most agencies have a set rate for translators, with a few exceptions such as highly specialised work and rare language pairs, so it's simply a matter of whether they can afford to hire me or not, no need for me to plough through seven pages before looking at a press release about a new water park.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 07:28
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
My rates vary quite a lot... Jun 13

Kay Denney wrote:

I very rarely ask for more money because of file content. Either I can do it, in which case I apply my usual rate, or I can't, in which case I turn down their offer.

Most agencies have a set rate for translators, with a few exceptions such as highly specialised work and rare language pairs, so it's simply a matter of whether they can afford to hire me or not, no need for me to plough through seven pages before looking at a press release about a new water park.


I set my rate according to the kind of work I expect to get from that agency. A lot of them specialise and advertise the fact on their websites.
In fact several agencies I work for do vary the rate according to the type of job, because there cannot ever be a single rate that is fair for all types of work.
______________________________________________

Once the client agrees to pay in your ball park, then it is quite reasonable to ask for an NDA before they send you confidential documents. Agencies have to reassure their clients that they have the translator's signature.

READ the NDA before you sign, however.
If it is one or two pages that make sense and simply cover normal ethics, then fine.

If there are several pages of small print, it may in fact include a lot of terms and conditions that go way beyond confidentiality or non-declaration.

Check for payment terms - how long after the invoice date will the client wait to before paying?
What happens if the client is not entirely satisfied with your work - how long after delivery can they still complain? (Six months should be the absolute limit IMHO.) Will they ask for a reduction, withhold payment, or refuse to pay you at all? Or even worse, charge you for a reviewer's time?
Who decides whether your work is satisfactory or not anyway?

If you are asked to delete all files and material about the job after completing it, what are your rights if anyone complains about your work? You will no longer have evidence of what you delivered, if a reviewer has made changes in it...

Check carefully for INDEMNITY CLAUSES… If they contain long sentences with phrases like 'hold harmless', 'each and every person' and a long list of consequential loss, loss of profits, loss of goodwill and so on, this can be quite open ended.

They tell you don't worry, it may never happen, but if they don't mean it, why write is a clause about it in the NDA?

Likewise any clause about auditing. You should NOT agree to allow them to come and inspect your premises or gain access to your computer to check on it. If you have signed NDAs with other clients, then it is an infringement of those, quite apart from your own code of ethics about keeping your work confidential.

Again, if they don't really mean it, then why write a clause about it in the NDA?
_____________________________________________________

If there is a lot of that kind of stuff, you need not spend a lot of time reading it all. Just tell the agency you cannot accept clauses xx, yy and zz, so you will not sign.


 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:28
Serbian to English
+ ...
as always, the devil is in the detail Jun 13

IOW it depends on the content of this NDA.

If it's really ONLY a "Non Disclosure Agreement" - about preserving confidentiality and nothing else being added underhand (like silly "indemnity clauses", or whatever the febrile paranoid imagination of corporate lawyers could try to sneak in) it does make sense to sign a NDA before receiving any confidential information, like texts to translate.

It also make sense to start by talking about rates first - if there are no reasonable chances of agreeing on that point, there is no point wasting any more time on negotiations doomed to fail. And you don't need an NDA for that part.

BTW you don't get "hired" by an agency - initially you are only added to their "list of potential subcontractors".


 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 00:28
English to Russian
+ ...
I beg to differ with some colleagues Jun 13

Stating a mandatory starting point of any negotiations in advance is a far cry from quoting for the actual project. I don't care if it's an oatmeal recipe or a serious job within my range of subjects. The client should know from the start what minimum I expect before I open my computer. From that point the price can only go up.

I could never figure out why the translators are having such a hard time answering a simple question about "the best rates", and why does is cause so much fuzz and problems. We spend half of our lives looking for the best prices everywhere and we know exactly what we mean in doing so (the cheapesticon_smile.gif ), why such outrage when it comes to us? Name it and forget it, if you are inclined to reply at all. Rolls Royce have their best price tooicon_smile.gif

"My minimum rate per word is XXX, per day of simo - YYY (no hourly rates accepted, simo is always a full day charge), per day/hour of consec - ZZZ, my minimum charge is $$. Interested? Let's talk. Not? - Have a nice day. Feel like you can offer some perks as a form of compensation for lower rates? A truly exciting location, for example? Hmmmm, I'm listeningicon_smile.gif"


 

Anthony Mazzorana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:28
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
appreciate all the feedback Jun 13

I appreciate everyone's thoughts on the matter.

Thanks!


 


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