As a translation company, many times we need to draft and sign different types of agreements setting forth the terms and conditions agreed upon between us, the translation company, and our client – usually a business entity. The agreement normally includes compensation and payment terms, delivery, quality assurance, ownership of translation, confidentiality, non-inducement/non-solicitation, indemnification, dispute resolution, and choice of law.

We sign these types of contracts both with the companies hiring our services and with the translators we hire.

What’s the difference between a translation services agreement and a translation job contract?

Normally, a translation services agreement is an arrangement that covers multiple jobs or assignments. It establishes a structure for an ongoing business relationship, generally between a company and a service provider (that may be a freelancer or another company). The agreement does not specify a job, language pair, deadline, delivery mode, or price. Once signed, the two parties are bound by the terms of the agreement whether or not the translation company ever actually assigns, or the translator ever actually accepts, a translation job or assignment.

Useful Legal Agreements When Dealing with a Translation Company

A translation job contract is a one-time arrangement covering an individual job or assignment. It specifies the details of the work for that job—and only for that job. These terms should be defined for every job, even one-time-only assignments for direct clients who may never need your services again.

Some clients require that we sign a confidentiality agreement, the main purpose of which is to protect the confidential information of clients whose documents are being translated. In turn, the translation company undertakes to protect the confidential nature of those documents.

A confidentiality agreement, or non-disclosure agreement, outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties intend to share with one another for a given purpose, but wish to restrict access to or by third parties. It’s a contract by means of which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement. A confidential relationship is created between the parties to protect any type of confidential and proprietary information or trade secrets.

The ownership of a translator’s work product’s copyright should be dealt with separately; that is no part of a confidentiality agreement. However, it may be included in a translation job contract or in a translation services agreement.

Finally, some translators choose (and some are required) to take professional liability insurance, (also called professional indemnity insurance or errors & omissions insurance). This insurance covers the translation company if a client suffers a financial loss due to negligence or mistakes in the translator’s work. Some insurers also cover legal expenses that may be incurred in defending the case.

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