Etusivu | The Translator’s Guide to the Industry | CHAPTER 9 – AGREEMENT | FRAMEWORK AGREEMENTS AND STANDARD TERMS


Major translation agencies usually want you to sign some kind of a framework agreement before starting any actual cooperation. The framework agreement sets the general conditions of cooperation, i.e. it does not detail the practical aspects of individual assignments but lays out the broader lines of cooperation. A framework agreement means you don’t have to negotiate these broader terms with each assignment. You should read the suggested framework agreement carefully and make note of all the points that concern you.

Companies can agree on anything that is legal. Even if you are a freelancer/sole entrepreneur, you are considered a company when you enter into a contract. Sometimes, in the event of a dispute, the terms of a contract can be modified, but this will always entail some kind of a legal process. The entrepreneur should think twice about non-competition clauses copied from employment contracts – can you secure your own livelihood and in good faith agree that you won’t provide services to other companies in the industry for five years after the end of the cooperation / during the cooperation. What if the sector in question is your core area of expertise? Or how you can find out who the end client is if you work through another translation agency?

It is worth remembering that the framework agreement of even a large partner is only a proposal and subject to negotiations. Read through the agreement, ask your colleagues or have a lawyer take look at it. Do not let the other party rush you into signing it. Carefully consider, for example, the size of eventual damage compensation – half of your annual turnover makes a nasty dent in the year’s earnings. And also reflect everything against the amount of work coming from that particular customer. Reading a 30-page contract for an assignment of 100 euros seriously digs into your hourly earnings. In contracts, the old wisdom still holds true: only sign a contract you can accept for yourself.