When it’s officially time to sign with our clients who are living in a different country with a different mother language than ours, we need to think about how to make our relationship smooth and clear.
Don’t try to get back at me.
I am sure we all have had to think about it. And we all struggled with this topic.
How can we all get it efficient and still legal (obviously)?
#1 | English is international
Mostly when it’s time to deal with clients and money. This is the classic and common language that everyone has / can understand. Look at signs anywhere you’re flying to when in an airport: you’ll find both language. The ones from the country + the english ones. When you want to book for a hotel room, it’s always in english too.
From this perspective: make it easy and provide english agreement to your clients if:
- they are english speaking when you’re not
- you both speak a different language and english is your only way to communicate
#2 | What is legal?
First, before dealing with written language on it, it is legal and mandatory to provide an agreement that is all ruled by the country where your company is settled.
You have to follow the laws that rule your services, and no deviation is permitted.
I have been asked by a destination wedding-planner if she has to change her agreement clauses (she’s Italy based) as her clients were from Honk Kong. Simple answer: you can’t change the laws from your country.
#3 | Do we need to consider cultural differences?
Then comes the complicated segment of this topic.
Russian clients will have different expectations from the Indian ones or from the American ones. Same for Asian and clients from Middle East.
What you can prepare in advance with your lawyer is a more specific agreement depending of the cultural expectations. Russians will focus on delivery and payments, while American will wait for detailed clauses for process, while Asian will wait for very detailed timing and window to negotiation.
That said, your agreement’s backbone will still be the same. Don’t underestimate this aspect of your relationships with your clients. When signing a contract with them, they want things to be clear and tailor-made for them.
#4 | Can I translate my agreement myself?
I admit that would be the easiest way to do it (and cheapest ^^) if you’re comfortable in the language you’re targeting.
However, that’s where the mistrust lies!
There are plenty (not to say tons of) of clauses / words that are truly specific to the laws you’re assigned to. In my case, my company is French (so am I ^^) and some French words do not exist in English for the same purpose. And vice-versa.
I strongly recommend to ask for a professional lawyer to translate your agreement. It’s better to pay for his service than having a immeasurable issue during a trial, where the Court will decide how to interpret your clause, and worst, misinterpret it.
#5 | What works for me?
I have all of my agreements available both in French and English. As most of clients for my wedding-planning services are American, Australian and British, I mostly work in English.
I had my agreement translated by a lawyer. And I know that I sleep as well as all the pennies I spent for his services.
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Muriel Saldalamacchia has been named “Industry Leader” several times when introduced on international conferences and talks for industry professionals.
Settled in the wedding industry since 2008, Muriel is a seasoned destination wedding-planner and is living with her husband and their two daughters between Southern France, New-York and Lake Como. Thanks her Wedding Academy fully dedicated to wedding-planners, focused on both technical expertise and business know-how, Muriel helps and guides wedding entrepreneurs to run their business healthy while maintaining the best work-life balance on the path of professionalism, ethic and passion.