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Getting paid to attend training overseas?
Thread poster: Jake Estrada

Jake Estrada  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 09:53
Member (2003)
English to Tagalog
+ ...
Jan 4, 2007

Hi everbody,

Just wondering....

Q1: Would it be reasonable for a freelance linguist to expect compensation for attending a client's training sessions in another country?

assuming the ff:

a) client is already paying for all transportation, accommodation and meals

b) attendee is a freelance linguist who would surely forego other earning opportunities (i.e. jobs) while attending the said seminar / workshop / conference / training, etc.

c) client is not not the linguist's sole client nor is the linguist the client's sole vendor.



if answer to Q1 is yes...


Q2: how much compensation (per diem/per hour?) could be expected over and above the other costs already shouldered (transpo, lodging, food).

would state per-diem scales such as the one at http://www.gsa.gov serve as reasonable benchmarks?


TIA for your thoughts...


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Sybille  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:53
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Getting paid to attend training overseas Jan 4, 2007

Hi, Jake

I recommend you ask your tax agent. Attending a client in another country in general is possible and the cost involved will be included into the operating costs of your business (at least in Germany). I visited 2 clients in the UK one and a half year ago and could submit all those costs to the tax agent.

The question is: If your client will already be paying "transportation, accommodation and meals", as you say, which expenses do you still expect?


Regards

Sybille


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:53
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Re: Getting paid to attend training Jan 4, 2007

Hi Jake,

Looking at it from your client's point of view:
- We are paying for the training, transport, accomodation and meals.
- Training is for a freelancer who is likely to use learnt skills elsewhere too (assuming it's not some super specialized customer training)
-> Now you want compensation for the time spend on this training too?

Honestly, I don't think they fall for it.

Ed


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:53
German to English
No, not reasonable Jan 4, 2007

Jake Estrada wrote:
a) client is already paying for all transportation, accommodation and meals


That's pretty generous as it stands. You need to check your tax position as to whether e.g. free meals actually represent a taxable benefit (transportation and accommodation shouldn't be a problem tax-wise, though).

b) attendee is a freelance linguist who would surely forego other earning opportunities (i.e. jobs) while attending the said seminar / workshop / conference / training, etc.


You will presumably generating a benefit from the training in the form of future income from that client (otherwise you wouldn't be going in the first place), so it's hardly reasonable to expect to be paid for that. Ultimately, it doesn't matter if you're attending a client seminar or a translation conference: it's an investment of your time to gain additional knowledge that you can then turn to your financial advantage.

c) client is not not the linguist's sole client nor is the linguist the client's sole vendor.


Entirely irrelevant.


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Jake Estrada  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 09:53
Member (2003)
English to Tagalog
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
for time and other jobs turned down Jan 4, 2007

Hi Sybille


Thanks for the tax tip, but actually I asked the questions on the context of *loss of income opportunity* while attending the training.

As you may know, we translators receive (and fulfill) jobs from various clients 'round the clock, which is something we obviously can't do while attending training for one of these clients (let's assume the training sessions will last all day).

Yes, the relevant expenses are paid, but how about your time and all those (potential) jobs you could be turning away?


This may not be so much of an issue for a day-long training session but if it's a week-long affair then you might certainly feel the pinch come invoicing time.


To put things into perspective, let's say the client is among your top 10 accounts...but certainly not your only source of jobs. That should give a fair idea of how important the training sessions are.



BR

Jake


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Darin Fitzpatrick  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2006)
German to English
Copmany's policy Jan 4, 2007

Based on the list of expenses paid, it sounds like the company offering the training has an established policy of what they will and will not pay for this training.

Did they already tell you that they will not pay for your time? If so, I would not ask again.

It is not unreasonable to expect that you will share some of the cost of this training; that is, you will provide your time, and they will provide the training and travel expenses.

However, it's also not unreasonable to ask to be paid for your time. In the worst case, they will say, "No." In that case, you have to decide if it's worth your investment.


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Jake Estrada  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 09:53
Member (2003)
English to Tagalog
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
terrific viewpoint Jan 4, 2007

thanks for your comments RobinB. points taken.

I must let you know that in our culture it is uncommon for certain professionals to get paid to attend symposia or board meetings so any and all fresh perspectives will be highly appreciated....


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:53
German to English
Universal culture? Jan 4, 2007

Jake Estrada wrote: I must let you know that in our culture it is uncommon for certain professionals to get paid to attend symposia or board meetings so any and all fresh perspectives will be highly appreciated....


I'd say that's pretty universal, to be honest. From time to time, we're invited to various events by customers - training, presentations, parties - and we'd never even dream of charging them for our time. Similarly, we sometimes invite freelances to attend internal training seminars, but only ever on a "pay your own way" basis (i.e. we don't pay for travel, accommodation, etc.). Of course staff translators will continue to be paid their salary if they attend an external event, but that's not the case for freelances.

For freelance translators, it doesn't matter what a particular external event is (seminar, conference, workshop, etc.), the primary criterion will always be the cost/benefit consideration. Though of course there may well be other aspects that might even override the cost, for example location, networking, meeting up with friends, a few days away from the office, that sort of thing. For example, there is a French language technology association that only holds a conference once every ten years. But it's in Tahiti


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Judy Rojas  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 22:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Is the training a requirement from your client? Jan 4, 2007

Hi:

If the training is an invitation from your client, I would say no charge for loss of work is due. However, if this training is a requirement from your client for you to perform a certain future job(s) for the client, then you should charge for your time, as you have no option of turning it down.

Regards,

Ricardo


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Ana Cuesta  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:53
Member
English to Spanish
Two sides of the coin Jan 4, 2007

I was in pretty much the same situation a while back. A good client invited me to visit one of their offices to receive private tuition on one of their equipment by one of their experts. They paid for travel, accommodation and meals but there was no mention of compensation for my time… my initial thought was what about loss of profit, but then I realized the sort of training I was getting was probably worth much more than my two days of lost profit, assuming the training was available at all in the first place, so I got to the conclusion that the arrangement was not only fair but also profitable for me from a cost/benefit point of view. But only you can assess how beneficial that training will be to you (either for jobs from other clients or to save you time on that particular client’s jobs in the future).

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Jake Estrada  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 09:53
Member (2003)
English to Tagalog
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
not uncommon Jan 4, 2007

in our culture it is uncommon for certain professionals to get paid to attend symposia or board meetings



I'm sorry, I meant "not uncommon"...over here we have a joke about "living on a 'diem" rather than "living on a dime"

(i.e. these people spend more time at symposia than at work where they are supposed to be implementing the acquired knowledge)


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Jake Estrada  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 09:53
Member (2003)
English to Tagalog
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
required training Jan 4, 2007

Ricardo Martinez de la Torre wrote:

If the training is an invitation from your client, I would say no charge for loss of work is due. However, if this training is a requirement from your client for you to perform a certain future job(s) for the client, then you should charge for your time, as you have no option of turning it down.



I understand the training being discussed is a requirement from the client to perform future job(s) and enhance existing related jobs through updates. There is practically no option of turning it down, without of course losing their account.


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Jake Estrada  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 09:53
Member (2003)
English to Tagalog
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
1 week lost = 1 month to recoup from this client Jan 4, 2007

Ana Cuesta wrote:

...my initial thought was what about loss of profit, but then I realized the sort of training I was getting was probably worth much more than my two days of lost profit...



The training will take slightly more than a week including travel time.

To recoup the amount of passed-up work during that one week, I'd say it would take a month's volume of work from this particular client (based on their history of assigning work).

Which is why this has turned from a fascination to a dilemma for me...


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Jake Estrada  Identity Verified
Philippines
Local time: 09:53
Member (2003)
English to Tagalog
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
(my) cost vs. (my) benefit vs. (their) cost vs. (their) benefit Jan 4, 2007

Without oversimplifying, I perfectly agree that this boils down to cost-against-benefit, for both sides.

But through the exchange of knowledge in these sessions I think the client should be able to recoup the costs they shouldered for my trip. They can then pass on the same knowledge to other freelancers as this becomes their intellectual property.

On the other hand, the knowledge that I will gain in return is something that I could use *only* for this client, because the training is related to a specific aspect of their operation. I understand that I will in fact be asked to perform some product development during the sessions.

hence:

my cost: my time
my benefit: knowledge (not applicable for other clients)-OK

their cost: monetary
their benefit: knowledge (my inputs, work done in-session) which they can pass on to other freelancers -OK

my cost: loss of income opportunity
my benefit: jobs from same client (not enough to cover) - ??




[Edited at 2007-01-04 22:39]

[Edited at 2007-01-04 22:44]


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:53
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Give up the account Jan 5, 2007

Hi Jake,

You must be one of those fortunate translators who is working freelance fulltime 7 days a week.
This client has the confidance in you and wants offer you this opportunity to learn first hand about whatever they do.
This means you are/will be their preferred translator.
So, a result you will have more work.
Because of the training, you will have an easier time translating it.

If I was the client, I would make sure I have a few other translators in that training session too, because from the looks of itm, you do not seem to see the added value and investment of this client.

Getting paid for your time to make up for (possible) lost work...???
What do you do when you are on vacation?
If you take your laptop and your mobile, you should be able to read your e-mail and answer a few calls during breaks and lunch. Then work evenings on the projects or outsource work to a colleage....

If you don't want to "go to all this trouble" for the client (presumably because you have other "better" clients) just tell them and drop the account.

Ed


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