Do any freelancers have their own contracts/terms and conditions of payment etc?
Thread poster: Matthew Preston
Matthew Preston  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:50
German to English
+ ...
Nov 21, 2007

Hello,

I am just interested to know if any freelance translators have their own set of terms and conditions or a contract which they ask the client/agency to agree with before work commences? It has struck me that this kind of thing is very one sided and the translator can be left without a leg to stand on if the customer refuses to provide feedback or even to pay. What happens if a client decides after a month for example that the work done is not satisfactory and then refuses to pay. The translator has assumed that "no news is good news" and is entitled to expect payment after that amount of time. Does anyone have an arrangement that any negative feedback must be given within a certain time frame, and that payment should follow thereafter? Is there a template for such a contract/agreement?

Many thanks for suggestions


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:50
Flemish to English
+ ...
2000/35/EC Nov 21, 2007

I integrated the content of the E.U.directive :
"Combating late payments in. commercial transactions. Directive 2000/35/EC" translated into national law in all the E.U.-Member-States into my terms and conditions and these take precedence over the terms and conditions of whoever wants to avail of my services. After all, I am a registered business too.

[Edited at 2007-11-21 11:46]


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 19:50
Turkish to English
+ ...
With direct clients, yes Nov 21, 2007

I think it is a good idea to get direct clients to sign a simple agreement outlining things such as the scope of the assignment, deadlines, and the amount of payment and payment terms. If, ultimately, you need to start formal recovery proceedings against a client who defaults on payment, you will be on very thin ground unless you have something in writing. Of course, a lot depends on the amount involved. If the fee is too small to lose any sleep over, then I wouldn't bother. For example, if a private individual just wants to have a short e-mail translated then I wouldn't need to get anything in writing. The most effective sanction here is the liklihood that the same person will need your services again. Otherwise, chasing after payment for a very small amount is counter productive.
In the case of agencies, I do not think there is any need for an agreement. The commonest practice is for the agency to send a purchase order, and this is proof that you entered into an agreement should you require this at a later stage. Reputable agencies need to strike up long-term working relationships with translators, so they can't really afford to fall out with their translators over payments.


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megane_wang  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sure Nov 21, 2007

I do. I usually add my General terms and conditions to my offers and make sure that the agency/contractor explicitly agrees with them at least once. All my offers include project specific conditions (i.e. delivery date) and then refer to these General rules.

These General terms and conditions are the result of 10 years working in several sorts of projects. I add and modify things from time to time. The model may depend on how things are done in your country and market. Time ago I took my "General terms and conditions" to a lawyer for a check, and he helped to put it in order.

Many agencies do have their own contracts. In that case I just check that everything is covered and matches my requests (in that case again, it usually does within reasonable margins).

Once I had a customer (an agent) who said that my General terms and conditions were frightening. I run away from him as soon as I could before having worked too much. That guy is still being prosecuted by half a dozen end customers, who had paid money in advance for the same project, which involved writing, translating, photography...: that "customer" just flew away with the money and disappeared overseas (no, not a joke).

Matthew Preston wrote:
It has struck me that this kind of thing is very one sided and the translator can be left without a leg to stand on if the customer refuses to provide feedback or even to pay.


Well, note that even with a signed contract, this is life. But at least you have a contract, which means that both your customer and you have agreed on a few rules before starting the game, and no one can say that they did not know what to expect.

What happens if a client decides after a month for example that the work done is not satisfactory and then refuses to pay.


Before working for anyone, you should define these terms:

- "delivery" (how will you deliver the job and when, and how the customer will notify the reception of the job)

- "acceptance" (how the customer will notify that the job is ok)

- "review process" (how any needed modification should be requested and done: i.e. comments must be sent back to you within 1-2 weeks -depending on the job-, and you will send the modified job within N days)

- "what silence means" (... if nothing is said -note: written- about your job, this means that it has been accepted TO ALL EFFECTS -including invoicing and payment-)

- "invoicing and payment terms" (when you are going to send an invoice, how, and when and how will the payment be done)


The translator has assumed that "no news is good news" and is entitled to expect payment after that amount of time.


No, unless this is clearly stated somewhere!!

Does anyone have an arrangement that any negative feedback must be given within a certain time frame, and that payment should follow thereafter?


YES!!! If you search in this forum, I remember someone posting a url with some models that could be adapted to your needs.

Best regards!

Ruth


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Jerónimo Fernández  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Some links Nov 21, 2007

Here you go. (Please note that I complied this list a while ago, and some links may be no longer working).

You might tell me (and you'll be right) that some of these Terms & Conditions are taken from companies, not freelancers. However, if you come to think about it, a freelancer is a one-person company, isn's it?

http://www.amanara.co.uk/Terms_and_Conditions_-_V2_-_March_2006.pdf
http://www.crystalhues.com/terms-condition.htm
http://www.deltalangue.com/service-traduction/uk/conditions.php
http://www.dlds.co.uk/index.php?page=eng_clienttermsconditions
http://www.eiti.com/Legal_Disclaimer.htm
http://www.englishservices.nl/index.php > Translation services > Rates > link "Terms and conditions"
http://www.expertranslators.co.uk/Services.htm
http://www.globalltd.net/english/company/terms.htm
http://www.lxcentre.co.uk/translation/terms.htm
http://www.langtech.co.uk/eng/services/translation/terms.asp
http://www.lexiteria.com/translation/terms.html
http://www.linguatranslations.co.uk/terms.htm
http://www.online-language-translations.co.uk/customer%20terms%20and%20conditions%20.aspx
http://www.push-international.com/translation_terms.html
http://www.qualingua.com/terms_and_contitions.pdf
http://www.sbc-co.com/TC.pdf
http://www.thebigword.com/termsandconditions.aspx
http://www.translated.net/en/, under "5 Great Reasons to Choose Us", "Guaranteed Quality", click "More info"
http://www.trans-experts.com/translation-experts-paymentterms.html
http://www.wolfestone.co.uk/terms-of-business.htm

And my very favourite:
http://www.jrdias.com/jrd-business-terms-ROW.htm
http://www.jrdias.com/jrd-business-terms-EU.htm

I hope this helps.
Jerónimo

[Edited at 2007-11-21 12:03]


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Matthew Preston  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:50
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, this is very helpful. Nov 21, 2007

megane_wang wrote:

I do. I usually add my General terms and conditions to my offers and make sure that the agency/contractor explicitly agrees with them at least once. All my offers include project specific conditions (i.e. delivery date) and then refer to these General rules.

These General terms and conditions are the result of 10 years working in several sorts of projects. I add and modify things from time to time. The model may depend on how things are done in your country and market. Time ago I took my "General terms and conditions" to a lawyer for a check, and he helped to put it in order.

Many agencies do have their own contracts. In that case I just check that everything is covered and matches my requests (in that case again, it usually does within reasonable margins).

Once I had a customer (an agent) who said that my General terms and conditions were frightening. I run away from him as soon as I could before having worked too much. That guy is still being prosecuted by half a dozen end customers, who had paid money in advance for the same project, which involved writing, translating, photography...: that "customer" just flew away with the money and disappeared overseas (no, not a joke).

Matthew Preston wrote:
It has struck me that this kind of thing is very one sided and the translator can be left without a leg to stand on if the customer refuses to provide feedback or even to pay.


Well, note that even with a signed contract, this is life. But at least you have a contract, which means that both your customer and you have agreed on a few rules before starting the game, and no one can say that they did not know what to expect.

What happens if a client decides after a month for example that the work done is not satisfactory and then refuses to pay.


Before working for anyone, you should define these terms:

- "delivery" (how will you deliver the job and when, and how the customer will notify the reception of the job)

- "acceptance" (how the customer will notify that the job is ok)

- "review process" (how any needed modification should be requested and done: i.e. comments must be sent back to you within 1-2 weeks -depending on the job-, and you will send the modified job within N days)

- "what silence means" (... if nothing is said -note: written- about your job, this means that it has been accepted TO ALL EFFECTS -including invoicing and payment-)

- "invoicing and payment terms" (when you are going to send an invoice, how, and when and how will the payment be done)


The translator has assumed that "no news is good news" and is entitled to expect payment after that amount of time.


No, unless this is clearly stated somewhere!!

Does anyone have an arrangement that any negative feedback must be given within a certain time frame, and that payment should follow thereafter?


YES!!! If you search in this forum, I remember someone posting a url with some models that could be adapted to your needs.

Best regards!

Ruth


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
... Nov 21, 2007

(duplicate post)

[Edited at 2007-11-21 14:39]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It's not one-sided at all Nov 21, 2007

Matthew Preston wrote:
I am just interested to know if any freelance translators have their own set of terms and conditions or a contract which they ask the client/agency to agree with before work commences? It has struck me that this kind of thing is very one sided...


There is only one agreement between you and the client. So what if the client provides the basic agreement on which your mutual, final agreement is based? There can't be two agreements -- one has to supercede the other. So... if a client gives you a contract to sign, read it and change it until you're happy (not merely satisfied) that is protects both parties equally. Then sign it and ask the client to sign it too.


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MGL  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:50
Russian to English
Actually... Nov 21, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:

Matthew Preston wrote:
I am just interested to know if any freelance translators have their own set of terms and conditions or a contract which they ask the client/agency to agree with before work commences? It has struck me that this kind of thing is very one sided...


There is only one agreement between you and the client. So what if the client provides the basic agreement on which your mutual, final agreement is based? There can't be two agreements -- one has to supercede the other. So... if a client gives you a contract to sign, read it and change it until you're happy (not merely satisfied) that is protects both parties equally. Then sign it and ask the client to sign it too.



I usually do what Samuel suggested above. But recently I received terms and conditions from one translation agency which had no place for me to sign, and no wiggle room. I do not agree with a number of their conditions, and let the PM know as much.

However, there is a clause specifically stating that if you accept any work from them, then you accept their terms and conditions by default.

And all of this after about 3 hours of filling out their gazillion forms and whatnot just to get accepted into their "system."

Needless to say, I will not be accepting any work from them...


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