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Things to prepare
Thread poster: Larmes
Local time: 13:28
English to Chinese
Jan 2, 2007

I am trying to get into the freelancer market and I'd like to get everything ready before I get a job. So I am writing a check list to do. What I can think of is invoicing for now. I know contracts would be better, but still looking for any samples. What else I should prepare during the whole process from contact client and submiting works?

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Vito Smolej
Local time: 07:28
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
before invoicing... Jan 2, 2007

What I can think of is invoicing for now.

... there's orders. For what? Translations? What market segment? Which language pairs? To make it simple: what are you selling? who are the buyers?

Without selling there's no buying, i.e. no invoices.

Regards and keep us posted.


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Chinese to English
a few more bits Jan 2, 2007

"What I can think of is invoicing for now."

It seems to have much to do with where you are. You may or may not need to register a company name with your local (city or county?) government before invoicing your clients. I think there are sample invoice forms on the internet that you may try to search and edit for your needs. Usually what are on the invoice are your firm name, e.g., Wu Consulting, your client name, the time interval of the work performed, the nature of the work, and the monetary amount you'd charge your client for your work.

In the US, at the end of each year your client would send you a tax form, usually 1099, and a copy to the Internal Revenue Service, to report how much they have paid you, and you will need to file a copy with your tax return to the IRS.

Check with your local government for official info and details.

[Edited at 2007-01-02 19:41]

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Veronica Coquard
Local time: 07:28
Member (2007)
French to English
Know thyself, thy client and thy text Jan 4, 2007

Hello Ann!

As Vito pointed out, you must first know exactly what services you are offering at what price, and to do that you must be able to estimate how long it will take you to carry out various types of work. In the absence of professional experience, you can simulate this by timing yourself on self-imposed texts or non-profit work. This will also give you an idea of the kind of texts that you enjoy translating and those which are outside of your realm of competence, as well as giving you a feeling for the way that you will handle your time. You can always include the products of these tests on your ProZ profile as examples of work done.

Next, you must find out how to get established in an administrative sense in your country. Only the authorities can help you with that one.

As far as the nitty-gritty, here is how transactions generally (ideally) take place:

The client contacts you for a job (after you have successfully carried out your prospecting work: sending out CVs and cover letters, contacts through ProZ, etc). You must gather as much information as possible on the client as well as the text. Is the client known to the ProZ blueboard? This is a helpful tool in evaluating the confidence level of the firm or agency.

You should ask to look at the text to see if it is something you are capable of doing and how quickly you can reasonably do it. Count the words, study the text for technical jargon and other aspects which may make the task more complicated.

Sometimes the client will send you the terms, but if they do not, make up an offer. Always put the offer in writing, even if the negotiations happen by telephone. Here is an example of an offer:

Work method: Clearly state what software you will be using so that there are no surprises.

Rates: How much of what currency per unit (generally per word) and for which tasks. Example: Translation 0.07 USD/word.

Number of units: Generally, how many words you counted, which will be multiplied by your rate-per-word.

Total price: This price must include all taxes which the authorities may impose upon your work.

Deadline: Take into account not only the client's needs, but other work that you may already have accepted and of course your capacity per day which you have discovered while doing your self-imposed tests.

Payment details: The general rule is 30 days after invoicing, but you will also have to consider which currency you can accept and by which methods of payment. This could lead you to a talk with your banker (obviously you will have a professional account) and/or to set up an account with PayPal.

Reduction: A good tip is to propose a small reduction if the client pays quickly, such as 3% if they pay within 8 days.

If the client negotiates some of the terms, change the terms on the offer and send it back as many times as is necessary.

Once you do the work, most of the information that you put in your offer will go directly on the invoice. Keep strict records of all transactions. If the client is late in paying, send a polite reminder. Prepare yourself for non-payers with a debt-recovery strategy.

How you carry out the work and what techniques can help you work faster are aspects that you will discover and refine little by little. They vary greatly from one translator to another, but general rules do apply. It is useful, for example, to keep a glossary for each client or each subject matter (I don't have Trados yet, so I do this on good old excel). You will slowly become aware of your weaknesses and what resources you can use to make up for them.

You can learn a huge amount of things from reading this forum: how to market yourself, how to deal with the work and with sticky situations, how to improve the technical and linguistic strategies that you will continue to develop.

You have a lot of research ahead of you "if you accept the challenge," but rest assured, even seasoned translators learn something new every day.

Welcome to the club and best of luck!

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Local time: 13:28
English to Chinese
thanks everyone Jan 5, 2007

I must say thanks to everyone who replied and helped. People are really kind here.

I am doing English to Chinese in Taiwan, mainly localisation.
I sent out CV and a few agencies, but only one replied.
I will try to accept wide range of texts and use softwares to help translation as they really can save my time.

I have some struggles about change job (I am a fulltime translator now). I plan to be a full time freelancer in the future. I am thinking which of the following is better:
1. to be a Project Manager for a year, to have some skills needed for freelancer but having no time for taking cases
2. to be a translator or reviewer in another company, which again leaves me no time for taking cases
3. to find a easier job, such as assistant, which leaves me sometime to take cases during weekday

what do you guys think?

This website has so much info and I am kind of lost here. How can I follow up certain topic or messages I reply or post? What is KudoZ for and what is article knowledgebase? There is no guide telling us how to use this website?

As for the tax, as I work in Taiwan, do I still receive a tax form from foreign agencies and have to pay to the foreign government? As we are individuals, how government knows we have income if foreign agencies pay to my bank account?

Thanks again everyone

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