REQUIRING a copy of references/contracts?
Thread poster: F Scott Ophof

F Scott Ophof  Identity Verified
Belize
Local time: 03:42
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jul 24, 2012

In a certain job posting for 'Highly Experienced Editors/Proofreaders' by a not-to-be-named Vendor Manager at a not-to-be-named outsourcer, the following is stated in the Requirements section:
'- Must provide copy of references/contracts for editing/proofreading jobs'

Is this requirement from an outsourcer with a perfect Blue Board record comme il faut?
Wouldn't this requirement break NDA?

What are your thoughts, pro and con?


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 17:42
Chinese to English
Understandable but impractical Jul 24, 2012

I don't see any major NDA issue - you can get a proofreading reference from an agency without ever mentioning what projects you worked on. And it's a reference given directly by the agency, so they are consenting by definition.

And I can see why it would be desirable, in a quality assurance program, to see references.

The problem is the impracticality, but maybe we should just get used to that. I have a couple of agencies (smaller/one man operations) with whom I have good, longstanding relationships. They have been kind enough to provide me with references on occasion.

But yeah, it's a pain. I think agencies themselves should work out some way around this: they don't want to be writing references all the time; if they want references, they have to work out a solution than makes it practical.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:42
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Agreed Jul 24, 2012

Phil Hand wrote:
The problem is the impracticality

But yeah, it's a pain. I think agencies themselves should work out some way around this: they don't want to be writing references all the time; if they want references, they have to work out a solution than makes it practical.

I've landed those jobs by referring the agency to my profile page here, where there are 5 WWA entries. But then, I don't land all the jobs I go foricon_smile.gif so perhaps it's the lack of more formal references that's dissuading the rest. Shame, but I'll live with it. I am NOT sending copies of contracts to potential clients! Anyway, I very rarely see contracts - it's all done in emails 9 times out of 10.

Sheila


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:42
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
See my WWA or forget it Jul 24, 2012

I do not go running to clients for references.

I am always very reluctant to reveal who my clients are, even those who have not specified in NDAs that I must not.

One or two simply did not answer, when I asked for references. A couple have stopped sending me work after being asked. So why should I risk my good relations with clients who do trust me for someone who has not yet promised me anything?

No way. Some have been so kind as to give me WWAs on my profile, and I don't mind asking clients who mention my name as their translator in their publications.

I have some samples of my work in my portfolio, and I occasionally do small test translations. Max. 250 - 300 words, for a client that looks interesting, and only three or four a year, not for every enquiry from people who approach me and then disappear.

I'm a professional. I can send scans of my exam certificates, and I have enough satisfied clients to make a living. So that has to be acceptable.



[Edited at 2012-07-24 09:03 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:42
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
There's but one answer Jul 24, 2012

At least for me.icon_biggrin.gif

I whole-heartedly agree with Christine. Ruining my good business relationship with my clients just to meet another outsourcer's demand is completely out of the question.

Since I know which job posting you are referring to, F. Scott, I am simply going to rephrase the question:

What would the not-to-be-named outsourcer say in case I would (though I'd never consider this) give out their company details, including contract details, to another outsourcer requesting this information/such references?

Would they not try to sue me because I have knowingly violated their NDA I've signed?

Would they really appreciate me sending out all their details to others (again, I would never do this) with their own prerequisites and demands as my sole justification?

I don't think so. Case closed.icon_smile.gif


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Requests for references... always an honest answer Jul 24, 2012

Christine Andersen wrote:
I am always very reluctantto reveal who my clients are, even those who have not specified in NDAs that I must not.

Exactly. It would be a bit odd to risk actual work from current customers for potential work from a new customer, wouldn't it?

May I add that surely this new customer will expect total privacy of their business relationship with you. How come they think that your relationship with other customers is less important and private? This is what I explain when someone asks for references, and I redirect them to my ATA-certification (which requires proof of happy customers), or my WWA record in Proz.com.

Asking for references makes sense only if they will be used by non-customers, for instance if they are requested in order to do some certification exam, to enroll in a postgraduate course, or to register in a translator association.


 

Catherine GUILLIAUMET  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:42
English to French
+ ...
NO references at all ! Jul 24, 2012

Hi,

AFA I'm concerned, I am simply not allowed to even just disclose the names of my clients (agencies or not) to any third party. It is clearly written in every NDA I was asked to sign, and I have signed dozens of them.

Maybe it is due to the fact that I work only in the Pharma Industry, which is known to be a little bit¨paranoidicon_smile.gif

Catherine


 

Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:42
German to English
+ ...
Not in the habit Jul 24, 2012

No one is going to see any copy of any contract I have signed with anybody unless for legitimate legal purposes.

I am often bemused that agencies put more value on the opinion of clients for whom one has done a job.

While I love compliments from clients, and happy clients who keep giving me work, it does seem strange that the opinion of a non linguist (for whom the language in question may not be his or her mother tongue) should carry so much weight.

I have some great compliments. Unfortunately, my respect for the client(s) in question prevent me from publishing them *anywhere* unedited, since the linguistic and grammatical errors contained therein would detract from the sincerity of the compliment being paid, and could well reflect badly on the client(s).

To agencies requiring references, I say work with me or give me a small test. Trust me just a little. You will be so glad you did!


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:42
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
And yet another one Jan 29, 2013

I've just seen a post on the job board in which a new company without a BB record and an almost empty profile requires the following:

...send us your CV, references and list of agencies/companies you are/was working for...,

Now, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with a new agency not having been able to complete their profile since they've registered last October. Still, I find the thought a little disturbing to even be asked to send such confidential client information (not that I'd ever even consider doing it) to a company that provides so little information about itself.

I wonder what they'd say if I asked them for a list of clients they have been/ are working for?icon_biggrin.gif

[Edited at 2013-01-29 08:47 GMT]


 

Theo Bernards  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:42
English to Dutch
+ ...
References are a deal breaker... Jan 29, 2013

... to me at least. Doing business over the internet requires a certain trust and if I trust an outsourcer enough to offer my services, I expect them to trust me that whatever I claim on my website is true. There, outsourcers can see a long list of projects completed to date, all anonymous to ensure that my clients cannot be identified (apart from the many NDA's I have my own Non-Disclosure Principle as well) and prospects simply have to respect that if they ever want to become clients. Same as I respect the many agencies that require a signed NDA.

 

F Scott Ophof  Identity Verified
Belize
Local time: 03:42
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
And why not? Jan 29, 2013

Thayenga wrote:
I wonder what they'd say if I asked them for a list of clients they have been/ are working for?icon_biggrin.gif

Methinks that should be a normal thing to do, including a mention that--in this case--their profile doesn't give any useful information. (Said deadly seriously, without smilie.)
Quid pro quo...

[Edited at 2013-01-29 13:52 GMT]


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 11:42
English to Polish
+ ...
Very likely to be illegal to comply with the request! May 26, 2013

F Scott Ophof wrote:

In a certain job posting for 'Highly Experienced Editors/Proofreaders' by a not-to-be-named Vendor Manager at a not-to-be-named outsourcer, the following is stated in the Requirements section:
'- Must provide copy of references/contracts for editing/proofreading jobs'

Is this requirement from an outsourcer with a perfect Blue Board record comme il faut?
Wouldn't this requirement break NDA?

What are your thoughts, pro and con?


[Lawyer talking] Do not provide 'contracts' without the consent of everybody involved in that contract (which may be more people than just the client, e.g. anybody named in or otherwise identifiable through contract clauses).

Please note that just because a large company or even a government body or a freaking court requires such information, doesn't mean it's legal for you to give it. You will probably escape criminal sanctions for breach of secrecy if you comply with such a request from a court of law, possibly a government agency. But that doesn't mean you can't be sued or have disciplinary proceedings instituted against you.

The fact that, 'somebody else asked me to,' doesn't excuse you from any NDA violation vis-à-vis the obligee (the person to whom you owe the duty of confidentiality). Also, similar duties may apply even without a contract. For example, they may apply on a statutory basis, especially under EU competition law.

...Which does not mean that an EU agency, including the Court itself, will not make requests which would lead you to violations and serious legal consequences for yourself if you comply without previously securing all appropriate consents.

The 'appropriate consents' may include consents from any people whose personal data come into question. This is even more problematic where you would be providing information from within the EOG (EU and a couple of associates) to someone outside the EOG (and outside Safe Harbor).

It is not necessarily illegal for those guys to make such requests, though. They may well claim that according to their understanding you shouldn't breach any of your obligations such as you may have to other parties. In plain English, they can just say they thought you would ask your clients if they're okay with you giving that information.

Still, I believe Proz staff should do something about such requests. Not all translators have enough legal awareness to sense trouble, while many may rely on the reputation of the requesting party as an assurance that everything is okay.[/Lawyer talking]


 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:42
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Fishing for leads May 27, 2013

At the risk of repeating things I've said before, I think that agencies who REQUIRE a copy of references are at best unrealistic about the business they're in, and at worst fishing for leads.
They probably realize that agencies don't give references. They probably realize that it's not normal for agencies to ask for references. Do you say to a builder/architect/lawyer that you need a copy of their references? No. Because you're not employing them, you're entering into a mutual arrangement for work to be carried out or services to be provided in exchange for payment.
I have probably approached hundreds of agencies in the few years I've been working freelance. Imagine if a client had been kind enough to provide me with a reference and had been contacted by all of these. They'd probably think twice about being so kind the next time.

However, I wouldn't be surprised if some willing translators had given agencies copies of references from direct clients on numerous occasions and the agencies had used this as a lead.
After all, they're getting contact details with a name of someone who uses translation services and they have the perfect excuse to contact them. It's so much easier to get your foot in the door if you call a client asking for a reference and then casually ask them whether they ever need services in other languages than making a simple cold call.
And all they have to do is ask.

I would always use my prerogative of refusing in this case.


 

F Scott Ophof  Identity Verified
Belize
Local time: 03:42
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! May 29, 2013

Thank you, Łukasz and Marie-Helene. Your info is indeed what I'd think shoulld be fairly obvious to people in the field. But indeed, not enough of us realise it all. I hope someone will collect all this info and make it available as an article in the Knowledge base of both ProZ and TC.
Again, thanks for all the good advice, pointers, & suggestions!


 


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