NDAs for Interpreters and Translators: to Sign or Not to Sign?

Non-Disclosure Agreements  for Interpreters and Translators

As a freelance interpreter or translator, you may be asked by a client to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.  This is a common legal procedure between clients and service providers. But why is this relevant for interpreters and translators whose work is surely protected by confidentiality? We’ve invited lawyer-linguist Sue Leschen to express her professional opinion on the role of NDA for interpreters and help you understand which NDA clauses are safe to sign and which ones you should challenge and try to renegotiate in case they cause you problems in the future.

What is an NDA and what are its Advantages

 NDA is an abbreviation for the term “Non-Disclosure Agreement”.  An NDA is a legal contract between the parties that aims to protect sensitive and confidential material, knowledge, and information that the parties (or party) need to share with the other party but also want to protect. The purpose of an NDA is to set out who and how a party can access and use the information in question, and to establish penalties for disclosing confidential information by accident or on purpose.

Even though an NDA  does not always prevent the unauthorised disclosure of sensitive information,  there are some significant benefits for the parties:

  1. NDAs encourage trust and confidence as regards the sharing of confidential information.
  2. NDAs can clarify which information is confidential.
  3. NDAs set out the consequences of unauthorised disclosure of confidential information.
  4. NDAs can help to preserve key business relationships.

Can signing an NDA Harm your Career as an Interpreter or a Translator?

Confidentiality has always been the cornerstone of interpretation and translation services. Interpreters and translators are regularly exposed to personal and confidential information that clients share in conversations, presentations, or documents. Keeping information confidential is a given for most language professionals who have signed up to their professional organisations’ Codes of Conduct.

Drafted properly, NDAs should not negatively affect the future career of a translator or interpreter. However, not all language professionals actually bother to read the NDAs that their clients are asking them to sign or if they do, understand the implications of what they are signing. As a result, they sometimes sign an NDA that will prevent them from working in certain subject areas and places and even for certain time periods!

How to Test the Reasonableness (or otherwise!) of an NDA?

We’re inviting you to join Translit’s live masterclass for interpreters and translators who may wish to question the reasonableness of NDAs for specific projects. Our guest presenter,  lawyer-linguist Sue Leschen will cover common dilemmas related to signing NDAs.  Sue will advise on which clauses interpreters and translators should sign, and which ones should be renegotiated or completely rejected.

The masterclass will take place online live on the 31st of January, 2.00 pm – 3.30 pm GMT. You can reserve you space HERE.