Contract through private individual - Legal Matters
Thread poster: Louise Etheridge

Louise Etheridge
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:46
French to English
+ ...
Jul 17

Hello there,

I'm wondering if anyone could give some advice on the following:

I've been approached by an NGO contact I've worked with before. I have previously completed work for him but the contract was with the agency he works for.

So my contact recently approached me about another translation job. I should mention that I haven't worked with this person for around two and a half years, so it's not as though this type of work is regular occurrence, meaning
... See more
Hello there,

I'm wondering if anyone could give some advice on the following:

I've been approached by an NGO contact I've worked with before. I have previously completed work for him but the contract was with the agency he works for.

So my contact recently approached me about another translation job. I should mention that I haven't worked with this person for around two and a half years, so it's not as though this type of work is regular occurrence, meaning I haven't had an opportunity to build trust. He did mention that the job was a consultancy job commissioned by another agency but I didn't really think anything of it, as NGOs often work in consortia.

However, today I was informed by my contact that in fact, the job is not through the NGO he works for (the one I have signed a contract with). In fact, my contact is working in a consultancy capacity for another (US-based) NGO. So it turns out that the other NGO would pay him as a consultant (including my fee) and he would be responsible for paying me.

I must admit, I find this situation highly irregular and I have never worked directly with a private individual before. I can't say I'm comfortable with the idea of having to invoice a private individual for a job that represents around one month's earnings for me. If there were a default on the payment, then it would be fairly catastrophic for my finances. I also do not want the hassle of going to court if this were to happen.

I asked my contact whether he had any contract templates, however, I must admit that I'm not even too comfortable about this (i.e. signing a contract with him). I'm just not keen on the idea of the funds going to his bank account first, then he pays me. I do believe it's the NGO who should be settling the fee with me directly and it's much safer to have a contract with a large international organisation.

I should say, obviously I know where my contact works, but the job is not directly connected to this organisation, only in a very tenuous way (i.e. in terms of reputation, member of the same consortium). I mean, it wouldn't look great for any parties if there were a default on the payment. However, I have never met my contact in person and it just all seems a bit irregular. I'm not saying he's untrustworthy, I just prefer to be in situations where I don't leave myself exposed to potential risks.

Have you found yourself in a similar situation? What did you do? Or what would you do if you found yourself in this situation?

Any answers/experiences would be much appreciated.

Many thanks

Louise
Collapse


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:46
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Contract with the client Jul 17

It's exactly the same as working with an agency. Your relationship is with your contact. Enter into a contract with the contact, make sure the terms are clear (i.e. they owe you money no matter what, regardless of whether they have been paid), and bill the contact. Many outsourcers are one-man operations.

The risk is what it is. You cannot fully mitigate it even if they are working entirely in good faith. Your client could suddenly die in the middle of the project, god forbid. You'r
... See more
It's exactly the same as working with an agency. Your relationship is with your contact. Enter into a contract with the contact, make sure the terms are clear (i.e. they owe you money no matter what, regardless of whether they have been paid), and bill the contact. Many outsourcers are one-man operations.

The risk is what it is. You cannot fully mitigate it even if they are working entirely in good faith. Your client could suddenly die in the middle of the project, god forbid. You're just going to have to keep the option of legal action in your back pocket, maybe try to mitigate the risk to your finances by spreading things out or securing a down payment.

All things considered, I don't think working with an individual is any more risky than working for an unknown corporation. If anything, the corporation is the one better equipped to pull a disappearing act.
Collapse


Thomas Pfann
John Fossey
Morano El-Kholy
 

Louise Etheridge
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:46
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your response Jul 17

I see what you mean.

The NGO is question is a well-known NGO. Personally, I'd feel more comfortable about having the contract with them, since they are the ones commissioning the translation (through a third party). The arrangement being suggested does seem rather unorthodox to me for a large NGO. Having said that, they are based in the US, so how I'd chase for payment if they didn't pay me for some reason, I don't know.

I hadn't even thought of matters such as somethin
... See more
I see what you mean.

The NGO is question is a well-known NGO. Personally, I'd feel more comfortable about having the contract with them, since they are the ones commissioning the translation (through a third party). The arrangement being suggested does seem rather unorthodox to me for a large NGO. Having said that, they are based in the US, so how I'd chase for payment if they didn't pay me for some reason, I don't know.

I hadn't even thought of matters such as something happening to an individual but it's certainly a valid point.

I think if it was a small job, I wouldn't be too bothered, but it's the size of the job that presents the risk.

Anyway, I'm still thinking on it. Part-payment upfront could work.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.
Collapse


 

Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:46
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Don't think about the arrangement between your client and the NGO Jul 18

Louise Etheridge wrote:

The NGO in question...


No, there is no NGO in question. You have been contacted by someone (your contact) who wants to subcontract work to you. Just like some translators might subcontract work to other translators when a project is too big for them to handle on their own.

You will work with and for your contact. You will negotiate the fee with your contact. You will invoice your contact and your contact will pay you. The NGO does not come into play at all.


Morano El-Kholy
Sheila Wilson
Ian Mansbridge
 

Louise Etheridge
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:46
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your response Thomas Jul 18

I suppose I'm not used to working with private individuals, I don't think I ever have in my entire time as a freelancer so this is new territory for me.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:46
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Private individual or professional? Jul 18

Louise Etheridge wrote:
I suppose I'm not used to working with private individuals, I don't think I ever have in my entire time as a freelancer so this is new territory for me.

But has he actually come to you as a private individual or is he actually representing his own business as a professional, self-employed consultant? Each and every one of us is a private individual on one level, of course, but many of us are also professionals trading under our own names. Here in Spain there's a big difference, in that autónomos (self-employed persons) have to register and pay a whopping €300 a month in social contributions before we can send the first legal invoice. I think the line may be far more blurred in the UK. AFAIC, a professional who orders translation/editing services for their business is a business client -- it's a B2B relationship. A self-employed IT analyst who wants some house deeds translated (as an example) would be acting as a private individual; if they want their website translated then they may well be a business client. Again, in Spain it matters to the tax authorities, but maybe not to HMRC.


Thomas Pfann
 

Louise Etheridge
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:46
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your response Sheila Jul 18

You raise a good point. I'm not sure about his business registration status. I would imagine he is simply contracting as a private individual, since I'm not aware of any business held in his name, but that doesn't mean he doesn't run a limited company, for example. I imagine there may be a potential problem with funneling money through your account as I'm not sure whether HMRC would see this as a tax liability, although he'd have my invoice to account for it. It just seems like an unusual arrang... See more
You raise a good point. I'm not sure about his business registration status. I would imagine he is simply contracting as a private individual, since I'm not aware of any business held in his name, but that doesn't mean he doesn't run a limited company, for example. I imagine there may be a potential problem with funneling money through your account as I'm not sure whether HMRC would see this as a tax liability, although he'd have my invoice to account for it. It just seems like an unusual arrangement. Having worked with NGOs previously, they normally just pay the translator directly but I don't know what his arrangement is with them. I imagine he's consulting on a wider project and part of that is to have these reports translated and it's his responsibility to find someone.Collapse


 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Contract through private individual - Legal Matters

Advanced search







TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Termsøk
  • Jobber
  • Forumer
  • Multiple search