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Agencies demanding more and more private information - fair or unfair?
Thread poster: Alison High

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:40
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I stuck out my neck and had a special agreement with an agency Jan 11, 2017

They started off as one of those small, specialist agencies that are really great to work with. Then they started expanding and collaborating with a bigger one... and wanted me to use a specific CAT tool. (My fingers have just typed CAT TOIL twice, and that just about describes it. )
Then came the NDA/contract and the requests for information, not quite about the colour of my wallpaper and what I had for breakfast, but i
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They started off as one of those small, specialist agencies that are really great to work with. Then they started expanding and collaborating with a bigger one... and wanted me to use a specific CAT tool. (My fingers have just typed CAT TOIL twice, and that just about describes it. )
Then came the NDA/contract and the requests for information, not quite about the colour of my wallpaper and what I had for breakfast, but it felt like it. The NDA included an open ended 'hold harmless' clause... covering 'each and every' person or instance remotely connected with the translation. In short, 'the butcher and his dog' as we used to say in the North...

I wrote to my original contact, not the 'recruitment manager' or whatever the title was, and said no way would I agree to all that. My CAT or no CAT, and I did have indemnity insurance, but it was not as open ended as their clause.

My contact, the founder of the original firm, was absolutely reasonable, and as I had worked for them for several years, she agreed to carry on as before. She did add that most of the work I did for them was not connected with their new business partner, so it was not a problem.

Try going higher up the system - and say that if the client wants registered letters etc. you will invoice for the cost and administration.

Sometimes you simply have to point out that you are not an office junior, you are a business partner, a specialist consultant, and you set your own terms too.
Call their bluff, offer a solution that should be satisfactory to both parties, and see whether you can reach an agreement. At least it will give them something to think about.

I give people my VAT number, which they can check in the Danish companies register. That is my business identity, and all they need to know. (I exist, am still in business, not bankrupt, and my taxes are duly paid.) Certainly no private details, passport number, or anything like that.
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Kay Denney
 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:40
English to German
Employment rights Jan 11, 2017

Recently I have read about several court judgements in respect of that new 'gig economy'. A delivery driver who had worked as a self-employed contractor won a case for employment rights (holidays...) due to the fact that he/she only worked for that one company for two years and was being ordered about by them all day.

Nevertheless, translators have always been self-employed, I believe, and I would want to know what they want that information for.


 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:40
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
... Jan 11, 2017

I was asked last year to provide my marital status for an EU project and someone assured that such info was needed for EU to protect us, translatorsDD

 

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:40
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
You are right, most of that is not their business and an invasion of privacy Jan 1

Sometimes agencies require you to submit a copy of some form of ID to show your identity for their records, and I can see that this might be a reasonable request. So the passport thing, it could be reasonable (unless you have already provided a lot of other forms of ID).

However, reporting to them if their money to you exceeds 20% which would allow them to calculate your exact income, that is none of their business whatsoever, and I would tell them to take a hike. There is no way I
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Sometimes agencies require you to submit a copy of some form of ID to show your identity for their records, and I can see that this might be a reasonable request. So the passport thing, it could be reasonable (unless you have already provided a lot of other forms of ID).

However, reporting to them if their money to you exceeds 20% which would allow them to calculate your exact income, that is none of their business whatsoever, and I would tell them to take a hike. There is no way I would sign that agreement. This is an example of the ridiculous agreements we are often asked to sign nowadays.

Yes it is an invasion of privacy and no it is not their business. You can say no.
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