Language Translation and Tortuous Interference with a Contractual Relationship

Language translation and foreign language interpreting issues are often a consideration when doing business abroad. When doing business with foreign suppliers, one should seriously consider having them sign an OEM Agreement that forbids them from having any direct contact with one’s US customers. Without such an agreement, the foreign suppliers can contact all US customers. This, needless to say, is bad for business as when one’s customers’ learn where they are getting the product from, they may go directly to the supplier instead of to the original company. Furthermore, it is suggested that a company using foreign suppliers should also have their US customers sign an agreement not to deal directly with any of that company’s suppliers.

Granted, a contract with foreign suppliers will have to contain a foreign language translation – for both the suppliers and for the US companies. Likewise, any non-compete agreement with a US company should also have a foreign language translation for the benefit of the foreign suppliers. And although it may have little effect in a foreign court, it creates a paper trail to use against a US company that attempts to deal directly with the foreign supplier. In the US, this is considered tortuous interference with a contractual relationship.

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