Confidentiality Agreement before a test
Thread poster: Platon Danilov

Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 10:15
English to Russian
+ ...
Mar 27, 2015

I made lots of test translations and signed NDAs, but only after the test is confirmed to be successful and never before that.

Here are some outlines from the mail:

"In line with our selection process, I would like to email you the test to complete. Please sign the attached Confidentiality Agreement (CA) and email me back. The Confidentiality Agreement is the most important part as this must be signed and returned to us before you are able to participate on our testing process.
...
Upon receiving your signed CA, I will send you the test. Unfortunately you will not be paid for completion of the test.
...
Please see also our payment policy:
XXX operate a 60-day payment policy.
We cannot pay by cheque or via PayPal or Moneybookers. We only make payment through bank transfer (BACS Payment).
Your bank detail must be in the same country where you reside otherwise we won’t be able to pay you.
If you are a UK-based registered freelancer, your National Insurance and UTR (Unique Tax Reference) numbers must appear on your invoice. If this does not appear, we cannot process your payment."

It seems to me a bit suspicious that they require to sign Confidentiality Agreement before a test, because if it is really test and not a small commercial translation or a part of it, than why they require CA? Just remove any confidential data from your test, that's it!

Another concern is their payment terms. Of course, they promise good order flow and ongoing projects, but what if they issue only a small order during a month, thus the money due will be hardly transferred because of bank transfer fees that make too expensive to send a small amount of money by SWIFT, as the sum of these fees is going to be comparable to the amount due.

Your comments are welcome.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:15
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I think you got it right Mar 27, 2015

At least they stated beforehand that they pay in 60 days. Most likely, their cash flow is not at all enviable, so if an end-client defaults on payment, they'll be forced to default on you as well.

However the worst here, from my experience, is that after they run out of hoops to make you jump through, they'll eventually reveal the despicable rates they can afford to pay for translation work.


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 15:15
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Not a scam Mar 27, 2015

Annoying, perhaps, but not unheard of, nor does it suggest anything illegal. The only thing you stand to lose is the time and bother of having signed the agreement if the terms do not turn out to be satisfactory.

As for the suspicion that the confidentiality agreement has anything to do with if the test is actually a commercial translation, that's just ridiculous. Criminals do not go out of their way to leave paper trails.


 

Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 10:15
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
still haven't made my mind Mar 27, 2015

Thank you both.
Perhaps, not a scam indeed, but I still doubt and shall think twice.


 

laurgi  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:15
German to French
maybe Mar 27, 2015

they want to have your signature

 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:15
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Payment terms Mar 27, 2015

May not be a scam, but the 60 day payment terms would rule it out for me.

 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
60 days Mar 27, 2015

Rachel Waddington wrote:

May not be a scam, but the 60 day payment terms would rule it out for me.


You could compensate for that by charging interest.

And now that interest rates have gone negative many places, you'd have to pay them for paying late.


 

Andrea Muller  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:15
English to German
+ ...
Not sure about requirement to put NINO on invoice... Mar 28, 2015

It should not affect you, Platon, as you are based in the Ukraine, but as far as I know, there is no legal requirement for UK invoices to show a NINO https://www.gov.uk/invoicing-and-taking-payment-from-customers/invoices-what-they-must-include

I would not like the 60 days payment, though. Especially if the 60 days start to run from the month following the date of the invoice, or if you are expected to send invoices only at a certain time, like the end of the month.

The confidentiality agreement would not necessarily make me suspicious, maybe they just don't want you to pass on their test to others, but for me it is another sign that this agency likes to make their translators jump through unnecessary hoops.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:15
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
The sequence Mar 28, 2015

First you do the test translation, then, if they like your work, you'll discuss rates and payment terms. If both parties are happy with the results, then you sign the CA.

Personally, requesting a signed CA/NDA before anything else, would turn me off right away. Payment terms of 60 days have the same effect. When I first started as a freelancer I took the tests and signed NDA's only to never receive a single project from those agencies. However, right from the start I always informed these possible clients that my bank details will only be available on the first invoice I am to send them.

There is absolutely no justified need for anyone to know one's bank details before all other items have been discussed and agreed on, and before the first project has been assigned.

This may not be a scam, however, signing anything without receiving any vital information from a prospective client is, at least for me, a no-go.


 

Roy OConnor (X)
Local time: 09:15
German to English
It sounds dodgy to me Mar 28, 2015

Perhaps the main reason for the CA is that they want to use your test text, but not pay you for it. Surely they have test texts which contain nothing confidential.

 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 15:15
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Makes no sense Mar 28, 2015

Roy OConnor wrote:

Perhaps the main reason for the CA is that they want to use your test text, but not pay you for it. Surely they have test texts which contain nothing confidential.

Right, because if I were a scammer I would make sure that my victims won't report me by having them sign a confidentiality agreement which has to contain my legitimate identity and business information in order to carry legal power. I can't help but feel that there might just be a tiny little flaw in this plan.

A confidentiality agreement does nothing except enable the agency to take you to court if it is breached. I leave you to mull on whether it is likely that such a scammer would be inclined to do so, or if a company so eager to save costs would then go to the expense of a legal battle for the purpose of exposing themselves.

they want to have your signature

If they just wanted your signature they can do away with the test altogether.

[Edited at 2015-03-28 14:34 GMT]


 

Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 10:15
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Mar 28, 2015

Dear colleagues,
Thank you all for your valuable comments. After some doubts, I decided to try. But I offered them a 20% surcharge because of their payment terms.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:15
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Some possible sense Mar 28, 2015

Lincoln Hui wrote:

Makes no sense

A confidentiality agreement does nothing except enable the agency to take you to court if it is breached. I leave you to mull on whether it is likely that such a scammer would be inclined to do so, or if a company so eager to save costs would then go to the expense of a legal battle for the purpose of exposing themselves.


Long ago, I once took an impressive test by an agency: five different types of translations; though the text in each was short, each contained a good number of translation 'traps' that would enable them to screen out amateurs.

The agency was kind enough to send me the result, as scored by their evaluator(s). Whoever did it should not be allowed to touch technical translation with a barge pole. That one was about pumps, and incidentally I worked as a translator for three completely different pump manufacturers. They had no clue on what it was all about, nor on the standard terminology adopted.

Not much later, I was searching for something else on the Proz Kudoz, and found out that that test, one phrase at a time, had been completely asked (by different people) and answered there. Now and then some wrong answers had been selected as 'best'!

So maybe the early NDA was intended to prevent their test from being spoiled on Kudoz or whatever.

Of course, there is no point in taking anyone to court by attempting to cheat on a test via Kudoz. However it should suffice to scare the most gullible candidates away from doing it.


 


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