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ways of payment: what's right and what's not?
Thread poster: Iris Shalev

Iris Shalev  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 17:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
Mar 25, 2007

Hi!

I have just started working as a freelance translator and am trying to find out what's the best way to get paid. Because I am new to this and have no idea what's right and what's not, I hope some people are willing answer my questions:

1. Do you usually send your clients an invoice or do they send you some sort of 'payment bill'?

2. How does it work with taxes and international payments? Do the clients pay taxes or do you, and according to the rules of which country? (this really confuses me).

3. A Chinese agency that I have just started working for, answered to my question of how they were going to pay me in the following way: 'On the 20th of every month, by T'T, Western Union or Paypal. Payment by T'T and Western Union should wait until the amount reaches $500, Paypal until 50$.' Is this normal..? (I don't even know if my work for them will ever amount to 500$!)

4. From the translator's point of view, is bank transfer better or Paypal?

5. With international payments, is the original currency (in this case $) changed into another (in my case NIS) by the bank, and do you lose money with that?

Thanks for answering!

Regards, Iris.


[Edited at 2007-03-25 09:41]


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
Some answers Mar 25, 2007

1. The client/agency sends you a statement of what you have done and how much they pay for it (often called a PO, project order), then you send them an invoice.

2. This IS confusing. Ask your tax office, by all means.

3. Unusual, and not something I would ever accept. Like you say yourself: will the amount ever reach that sum? No, a client should pay you within a reasonable time frame. Now, in our business, agencies have a somewhat elongated idea of what is 'reasonable', but some usual arrangements are:
- 30/45/60 days after receival of invoice
- 30/45/60 days after date of completion of job
- 30/45/60 days after the first day of the month starting after receival of the invoice (or completion of job)
- you bill them once a month, and then they pay 30/45/60 days later.
Occasionally, an agency will pay 15 days after [...].

4. I have no experience with Paypal, but it sounds rather complicated to me.

5. Somewhere along the road, the currency has to be converted, and usually banks charge for that. However, it should be the client who pays for that, as he has agreed that you will receive a certain sum for your work. So he has to make sure that you actually receive that sum.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
Your business Mar 25, 2007

Hi Iris,

here's my two cents.

1. You send an invoice. If you received a project order, you charge accordingly. If you didn't, you calculate the amount yourself.

2. Taxes vary from country to country, the rule of thumb is: you pay income tax (contact your local tax agency), other taxes, such as VAT depend on the client location.

3. Being paid on a set date is normal practice, waiting for amounts to reach a certain limit isn't. Western Union charges high fees for transfer, so that's understandable. If you disagree, the client may want you to pay the transfer fees. Paypal is very cheap, so I don't see why they want to wait there.

4. Depends on who's paying the bank fees! I use Paypal for international clients, works just fine. In my own country, clients pay directly into my bank account.

5. Yes and no. You withdraw NIS, don't you? So they convert the money into NIS. Whether or not you pay for that depends on your bank; you usually pay a percentage.

Perhaps you should try and find a nice accountant who's willing to explain this to you for your specific situation (for free, of course) or maybe your tax collecting agency has a website where you can ask questions.

Bottomline is: you are running a business, and you're getting an income out of it. So you're going to have to sort this out.
Meanwhile, keep your paperwork organized, make note of any financial transaction, in other words: keep an administration/accounting records. It's essential to running your own business.

Good luck!


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Iris Shalev  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 17:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Mar 25, 2007

(changing the post to english after request from Ralph):

Thanks, Jan Willem en Margreet!

regards, Iris.

[Edited at 2007-03-26 06:47]


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Wouter van Kampen
Thailand
Local time: 22:26
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
Western Union kost veel Mar 25, 2007

De vaste kosten van een betaling zijn voor de opdrachtgever erg hoog als de betaling via Western Union loopt. Vandaar dat ze minimaal USD 500 willen overmaken. Daar is niets vreemds aan. PayPal is veel handiger voor hen, maar denk eraan dat op het moment dat je geld van je Paypal-account naar je bankrekening overmaakt, jouw bank behoorlijk hoge kosten kan rekenen.

Chinese opdrachtgevers bieden zulke lage tarieven dat ik nog nooit voor ze heb willen werken. Hoe vriendelijk ze ook zijn. Vaak komen de opdrachten gewoon uit Europa en wordt de Chinese route bewandeld om de kosten naar een superlaag niveau te drukken. Ik begrijp niet dat Westerse collega's daar intrappen.

Iris Shalev wrote:

bedankt, Jan Willem en Margreet!

Ik zal inderdaad eens wat vragen stellen aan een belastingkantoor of accountant, goed idee. Het is allemaal ingewikkelder dan ik dacht!

Ik vond dat 'wachten tot het bedrag op is gelopen tot 500$ inderdaad nogal vreemd! Dat is dus niet iets wat gewoonlijk gebeurt, goed dat ik dat weet.

groetjes, Iris.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:26
English to German
+ ...
English, please Mar 25, 2007

Hi Iris and 'titi',
Please bear in mind that the working language of this forum is English. Thanks.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Iris Shalev  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 17:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yes, but... Mar 25, 2007

titi-at-home wrote:

Chinese opdrachtgevers bieden zulke lage tarieven dat ik nog nooit voor ze heb willen werken. Hoe vriendelijk ze ook zijn. Vaak komen de opdrachten gewoon uit Europa en wordt de Chinese route bewandeld om de kosten naar een superlaag niveau te drukken. Ik begrijp niet dat Westerse collega's daar intrappen.



(changing to english again after request from moderator):

I know that this happens, but you have to start somewhere, and I would rather work with bad pay than not work at all.

regards, Iris.

[Edited at 2007-03-26 06:48]


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Iris Shalev  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 17:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
oy! Mar 25, 2007

Ralf Lemster wrote:

Hi Iris and 'titi',
Please bear in mind that the working language of this forum is English. Thanks.

Best regards,
Ralf


sorry!! It's easy to forget when you're speaking to fellow countrypeople.

Iris.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Some answers Mar 25, 2007

Iris Shalev wrote:
1. Do you usually send your clients an invoice or do they send you some sort of 'payment bill'?


Most of them request that I send an invoice. Only one or two local clients have ever paid me without an invoice. All of my international clients require an invoice.

2. How does it work with taxes and international payments? Do the clients pay taxes or do you, and according to the rules of which country? (this really confuses me).


What you do is hope the client doesn't deduct taxes on your behalf, because you'll have a hard time getting it back. Income taxes are generally paid in the country where you are a "resident" according to that country's laws.

"Payment by T'T and Western Union should wait until the amount reaches $500, Paypal until 50$." Is this normal?


It is not normal that the agency gives you no choice in the matter, and you can request that they pay you immediately (but then your transaction costs may be a sizeable percentage of the total fee). On the other hand, it is quite normal for a client and translator to mutually agree to hold payment until a certain value is reached, or until a certain period of time has passed.

4. From the translator's point of view, is bank transfer better or Paypal?


That depends on where your client is.

5. With international payments, is the original currency (in this case $) changed into another (in my case NIS) by the bank, and do you lose money with that?


In my case, when a client pays directly into my bank account using a different currency, the bank automatically converts it, and charges me a conversion fee for it. Do you lose money? Well, don't you always lose money when using a bank?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
PO comes before, not after Mar 25, 2007

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:
The client/agency sends you a statement of what you have done and how much they pay for it (often called a PO, project order)...


IMO the PO comes before the job is done, not after. Some clients may send the PO after the job is done, but then that is only a formality. The PO is a "purchase order".


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Wouter van Kampen
Thailand
Local time: 22:26
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
mea culpa Mar 26, 2007

my apologies Ralf,
didn't pay close attention to the working language of this forum.

Ralf Lemster wrote:

Hi Iris and 'titi',
Please bear in mind that the working language of this forum is English. Thanks.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
PO Mar 26, 2007

Samuel Murray wrote:

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:
The client/agency sends you a statement of what you have done and how much they pay for it (often called a PO, project order)...


IMO the PO comes before the job is done, not after. Some clients may send the PO after the job is done, but then that is only a formality. The PO is a "purchase order".


I agree that the PO _should_ come before the job is even started, but that rarely is the case...
As to what the letters PO exactly stand for, different agencies have different ideas about that. Some call it Project Order, others Purchase Order, but what's in a name? Money smells as sweet if given an other name...


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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:26
Partial member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
Israeli regulations Mar 26, 2007

Iris shalom,

2. How does it work with taxes and international payments? Do the clients pay taxes or do you, and according to the rules of which country? (this really confuses me).

I lived in Israel for 8 years and worked as a freelance translator for local and international clients. Are you an Israeli resident or are you a foreign resident? If you are in Israeli resident you should become "osek murshe", open an account at the Income Tax Office (Mas Hachnasa) at the VAT Office (Maam), and Health Insurance Office (Bituach Leumi). You will have to pay Income Tax, Vat, and Compulsory Health Insurance every 2 months. I used to keep my financial records by myself and go to an accountant once a year for the yearly report. This was not complicated at all (in Italy, on the contrary, I give everything to an accountant since Italian regulations are really complicated and keep changing all the time). This way you can also deduct expenses (accounting, paper, etc.).
Israeli authorities don't expect you to make a lot of money at the beginning of your activity, so Income Tax and Health Insurance will be reasonably low at the beginning.

International clients used to send me the full amount, without deducting any income taxes. Sometimes they ask you to sign a form (like the W9 form for the USA) they need for their Tax Authority, in which you state you are a foreign resident so they don't have to pay any taxes on your behalf.




4. From the translator's point of view, is bank transfer better or Paypal?
PayPal is fine for small amounts, for bigger amounts it costs you more than a bank transfer.

5. With international payments, is the original currency (in this case $) changed into another (in my case NIS) by the bank, and do you lose money with that?

You will get the money in NIS from the bank. With some clients I used to get checks in US or Canadian dollars and used to take them to a currency changer and the rate was much better than through my bank.

HTH,
Laura


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Iris Shalev  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 17:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks, Laura Mar 26, 2007

Hi Laura,

thanks for your answer! That was very useful information. I am a foreign resident, but I will look into what you said, it might go for me as well. I have bituach leumi already.

I live in a kibbutz which might complicate things a little. In my kibbutz, no one has ever worked this way before, so we are all a little bit at a loss...

thanks again for the information!
regards, Iris.


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