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Translation plus full time job (UK)
Thread poster: Suzanne Withers

Suzanne Withers  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:34
French to English
May 23, 2006

Hi all

I'd like to start doing freelance translation work alongside a full time IT job, with a view to gradually giving up paid employment when my earnings from translation are reasonable enough to live on. I realise, of course, that this could take some time.

I have read through some forum posts on becoming a freelance translator and it seems that the options are either to set up a limited company or to register as self-employed. However, how could I register as self-employed if I'm also employed? Is my only option to set up a limited company? Would I have to inform my employer that I have a business outside of my employment?

I wonder if anyone out there has done what I am proposing to do and could share their experience. I'm a little bit lost as to how to get started and would appreciate your advice



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Beth Fowler
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:34
Catalan to English
+ ...
You can register as self employed May 23, 2006

Hi Suzie,

I'm in a similar situation to you - working full time and hoping that eventually I'll be able to translate full time!

You can still register as self employed even if you have a full time job - there's no need to set up a limited company unless you want to.

Call the Inland Revenue helpline (08459 15 45 15) - they're very helpful and can register you over the phone. They sent me all sorts of information as well, about what i'll need to do when it comes to completing my dreaded first tax return (can't wait!).

I find that it is difficult working full time and still having to make time for marketing etc - let alone actual translation! - but I think I'm getting there, so stick with it!

Good luck


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Kirsty Mason  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:34
German to English
Self-employed status May 23, 2006

Hi Suzie

It is possible to be employed and self-employed at the same time - you have to fill out a tax return for both scenarios declaring self-employed work separately. Some information on the technicalities is available on the inland revenue website:

There are advantages to setting up a limited company, but there's a fair amount of organisation and paperwork involved so it may be best to wait until you have a reasonable idea of turnover and stability before taking this step. It can also be useful to get an accountant to help in setting up the company, so you'd probably want to start actually earning before you splash out on that kind of assistance.

As for informing your employer, I don't think you have to from a tax perspective, but you should probably check the terms of your actual employment contract.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2006-05-23 16:28]

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Suzanne Withers  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:34
French to English
Thanks for the info May 23, 2006

Beth - thanks. I know it will be hard trying to do both - glad to hear you're getting there, though!

Kirsty - thanks for the advice. I'd better check my employment contract just in case.

I'm just so impatient to get started with translation, but I know I've got a long journey ahead of me...

[Edited at 2006-05-23 18:58]

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