Memory ownership
Thread poster: Fugee

Fugee
Local time: 03:44
Dutch to English
Apr 26, 2011

Not really a technical problem, but I don't know where else to place this.

I work directly for a company. This company also uses an agency for its translations, but took the decision a number of years ago to work directly with me for my language combination.

Until recently, I also used to work for this translation agency, but no longer do, or ever will, and there is no goodwill on my side towards the translation agency (I'm not sure whether my feelings towards the agenc
... See more
Not really a technical problem, but I don't know where else to place this.

I work directly for a company. This company also uses an agency for its translations, but took the decision a number of years ago to work directly with me for my language combination.

Until recently, I also used to work for this translation agency, but no longer do, or ever will, and there is no goodwill on my side towards the translation agency (I'm not sure whether my feelings towards the agency are relevant to my question).

Today, I received a request from the company for a copy of the translation memory. They know I use CAT for their translations and I give them a good discount - I often receive jobs of more than 20,000 words of which less than 5,000 words need translating and I do not charge them for the 100% matches.

The reason why they would like a copy of my translation memory is that they require a text translated in the opposite direction to which I translate (they know it is possible to swap the languages around). They are planning on giving the translation memory that I have built up of their texts to the translation agency that I have no goodwill towards.

My questions is: is this a reasonable request by the company? And why?
Collapse


 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 03:44
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
No Apr 26, 2011

Of course they do have the source and translated texts you have produced for them and could give those to the agency to align. However, your TM is your intellectual property. If you want to offer to sell it to them, that is up to you. If it were me, I certainly would not give it to them even if I liked the agency they wanted to hand it over to. If it were for an agency I had nothing against and was prepared to sell the TM, I would still want to double check their story that it is for use for t... See more
Of course they do have the source and translated texts you have produced for them and could give those to the agency to align. However, your TM is your intellectual property. If you want to offer to sell it to them, that is up to you. If it were me, I certainly would not give it to them even if I liked the agency they wanted to hand it over to. If it were for an agency I had nothing against and was prepared to sell the TM, I would still want to double check their story that it is for use for translation in the reverse direction.



[Edited at 2011-04-26 15:59 GMT]
Collapse


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Do you have a contract with them? Apr 26, 2011

Do you have a contract with the company? What does the contract say?

Let's assume that you don't have a contract with them and that is why you ask. Let me ask you this: the source text is the company's intellectual property (something that is not in discussion, I reckon); now, do you think the company would consider that your translations are your intellectual property?

If you instead think that they believe that the translations are their intellectual property (be it b
... See more
Do you have a contract with the company? What does the contract say?

Let's assume that you don't have a contract with them and that is why you ask. Let me ask you this: the source text is the company's intellectual property (something that is not in discussion, I reckon); now, do you think the company would consider that your translations are your intellectual property?

If you instead think that they believe that the translations are their intellectual property (be it black on white in a contract or not), the matter at stake here is whose is the intellectual property. If theirs, then the memory is theirs too; if yours, then the memory is yours and you should sell it to the company for a fair price, basically the same cost they would have if they aligned all the materials translated by you so far.
Collapse


 

Germaine  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:44
English to French
+ ...
Two things... Apr 26, 2011

I don't know and probably don't even fully understand all of the ins and outs on that issue, but I am curious to learn. So, reading you, two things come to my mind. First, since you never charged for the 100% matches, one might consider that you never "valued" your TM. Therefore, your client may not undestand why you suddenly want him to pay for them. Second, let's say you handle your TM to the agency, wouldn't it then be able to take over your job as well? I mean, can this be part of some sort... See more
I don't know and probably don't even fully understand all of the ins and outs on that issue, but I am curious to learn. So, reading you, two things come to my mind. First, since you never charged for the 100% matches, one might consider that you never "valued" your TM. Therefore, your client may not undestand why you suddenly want him to pay for them. Second, let's say you handle your TM to the agency, wouldn't it then be able to take over your job as well? I mean, can this be part of some sort of a "volume" (give-me-these-and-we'll-do-both) deal?Collapse


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The memory does not matter Apr 26, 2011

Germaine wrote:
Second, let's say you handle your TM to the agency, wouldn't it then be able to take over your job as well? I mean, can this be part of some sort of a "volume" (give-me-these-and-we'll-do-both) deal?

I had this same question from a customer who wondered what would happen if the end customer asked for the memories in different languages. I shared my point of view: the memory is not important. What is important is your expertise. If they don't want to pay for your expertise, they can always align the translated materials and forget about you completely, so it is best to show a collaborative spirit and give them the memory.


 

Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:44
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
IMHO it's reasonable Apr 26, 2011

You created it working for them, and you were paid (I presume) for creating every segment it contains. They may clearly save some money by using it and the cost in a form of bad impression definitely overweights potential risk of loosing the client.

S


 

Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 03:44
French to English
T&C or contract? May 2, 2011

I second others' questions...do you have signed T&C or a contract? Our T&C stipulate transfer of ownership of intellectual property (the target files) upon payment of services. That's it. How we create our translations is our secret sauce and we don't give out the recipe or the fruits of our process, whether that involves TM or other methods.

If what the client wants is to provide the agency with the TM, I'd say no. It is part of an agency's cost of doing business to generate and ma
... See more
I second others' questions...do you have signed T&C or a contract? Our T&C stipulate transfer of ownership of intellectual property (the target files) upon payment of services. That's it. How we create our translations is our secret sauce and we don't give out the recipe or the fruits of our process, whether that involves TM or other methods.

If what the client wants is to provide the agency with the TM, I'd say no. It is part of an agency's cost of doing business to generate and manage TMs. I'd tell the client that the best way to go would be to provide the agency with source and target files as reference documents and let the agency (and their professional project and TM managers) decide how best to handle it according to their workflow and QA system (align to get a TM, provide new translators with the reference files, or whatever they decide).

Your end client probably has no idea how TM works and is just passing on a request from an agency looking for the easy way out.

Alternatively, would you be willing to take on and handle the translations in the opposite direction? Do you have a trusted colleague you could get on board and train to work with you? Could you give the client some good business reasons why it would make sense to do this rather than going through the agency (maybe they'd get the same level of quality and service you are delivering currently, they would not run the risk of translations being assigned to too many different people as with many agencies, they could continue to leverage the TM, and you -- with your expert knowledge of the client's projects -- could continue to keep an eye on the whole process?). Just throwing some ideas out there.

IMO the tricky thing here is to solve the problem while continuing to demonstrate to the client why working diretly with an independent professional is the best response to their business needs (as opposed to giving everything to an agency). To do this tactfully, I'd try to sit down (in person) with the client and review your business relationship to date. What is working for the client so far? How can you keep delivering those things? What new needs does the client have and is the client assuming you, as an independent professional can't meet those needs before even really discussing it with you? How can you and the client work together to provide more/better/faster/different (or whatever they need) service while continuing to leverage your skills and expert knowledge of the client's projects (which obviously they appreciate).

Don't do this over the phone or by email, go and pay the client a visit. Take'em to lunch, even

[Edited at 2011-05-02 11:06 GMT]
Collapse


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:44
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Fugee May 2, 2011

Fugee wrote:
The reason why they would like a copy of my translation memory is that they require a text translated in the opposite direction to which I translate (they know it is possible to swap the languages around). They are planning on giving the translation memory that I have built up of their texts to the translation agency that I have no goodwill towards.

My questions is: is this a reasonable request by the company?


1. If the request is a demand, then it is unreasonable. But if the request is a request, then it is not unreasonable.

2. The fact that you have no goodwill towards the other agency is not relevant here and should not influence your decision.

3. If you are able to provide the TM easily, then my approach would be to simply give it to them. I'm assuming that the TM contains translations only of that client and does not contain anything that you would be ashamed of. If the TM contains more than just that client's translations and if it is not a simple thing to clean the TM, then I would explain to the client that I don't have a clean TM handy.


 

Kroz Wado
Japan
Local time: 10:44
Japanese to English
It's your property May 23, 2011

Unless they've explicitly paid you to make a TM for them then in my opinion, even if the source and the translation are theirs, the knowledge, know-how and alignment between the two documents are all still yours. In the same way that companies must protect their intellectual properties, if I were you I'd say that you have a strict policy of not disclosing this expertise.

Then offer to handle the reverse translation with a colleague who can handle the job without messing up your TMs
... See more
Unless they've explicitly paid you to make a TM for them then in my opinion, even if the source and the translation are theirs, the knowledge, know-how and alignment between the two documents are all still yours. In the same way that companies must protect their intellectual properties, if I were you I'd say that you have a strict policy of not disclosing this expertise.

Then offer to handle the reverse translation with a colleague who can handle the job without messing up your TMs and a thorough check through on your part, I'm sure the client would be more than happy with that.
Collapse


 

Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:44
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
your property? May 23, 2011

Kroz Wado wrote:

Unless they've explicitly paid you to make a TM for them then in my opinion, even if the source and the translation are theirs, the knowledge, know-how and alignment between the two documents are all still yours.


So do you think that it would be acceptable to sell it to a third party? That would be logical conclusion of a statement that the TM is "your property".

Cheers
S


 

Kroz Wado
Japan
Local time: 10:44
Japanese to English
Not quite May 27, 2011

That's not quite what I said, the source and the target would still be subject to copyright (arguably) and NDAs etc., but the intellectual property that you created through your time and effort i.e. the actual correspondence between the source and target is yours, unless you explicitly gave that right away. What you do with that right is up to you, but I see a very good case for protecting it as a trade secret, especially in this situation where they did not ask the OP to use a CAT and are not p... See more
That's not quite what I said, the source and the target would still be subject to copyright (arguably) and NDAs etc., but the intellectual property that you created through your time and effort i.e. the actual correspondence between the source and target is yours, unless you explicitly gave that right away. What you do with that right is up to you, but I see a very good case for protecting it as a trade secret, especially in this situation where they did not ask the OP to use a CAT and are not paying for the creation of a TM.Collapse


 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Memory ownership

Advanced search







Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search