Freelance vs salaried translator
Thread poster: TB CommuniCAT

TB CommuniCAT  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:55
Member (2014)
English to French
May 18, 2014

Hello,

I apologize in advance if this topic has been previously discussed.
I would like to know your thoughts on this subject matter....

Being a freelance translator means that you do NOT have:
1) Benefits (medical, dental, vision) that salaried translators get and it is very expensive to obtain an individual/family plan
2) Pension plans that salaried translators get and you would have to set aside a budget for your own pension
3) Company bonus

Thus, my question is: Would you give up freelancing and go back to being a salaried translator?

Thanks!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:55
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You're right - it's been discussed many times ;) May 18, 2014

TB Communicate wrote:
Being a freelance translator means that you do NOT have:
1) Benefits (medical, dental, vision) that salaried translators get and it is very expensive to obtain an individual/family plan

I guess it varies around the world, but in both France and Spain (where I've freelanced), it's compulsory for freelancers to contribute to the state social security system, just as employers and employees do. So we have very similar cover. Mind you, it doesn't really cover teeth, ears and eyes but we're no worse off than employees.
2) Pension plans that salaried translators get and you would have to set aside a budget for your own pension

Well, they vary wildly from company to company so basically everyone needs to think carefully and plan for retirement. Remember, if the company has a pension plan then its employees are paying into it one way or another - they'd be able to raise basic salaries if they withdrew it!
3) Company bonus

How on earth can we miss out on thaticon_eek.gif? We get EVERY CENT of the profits of our freelance business, not a minute percentage.

Thus, my question is: Would you give up freelancing and go back to being a salaried translator?

I never was a salaried translator though I was salaried for 15 years in other industries. I would never, ever go back down that road. There's more to life than money, and anyway my freelance business has always earned enough for my needs.


 

Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:55
English to Spanish
There is more that is missing... May 18, 2014

TB Communicate wrote:

Being a freelance translator means that you do NOT have:
1) Benefits (medical, dental, vision) that salaried translators get and it is very expensive to obtain an individual/family plan
2) Pension plans that salaried translators get and you would have to set aside a budget for your own pension
3) Company bonus



Among other things a freelance translator does not have (in the US):

  • Employer-paid vacation time (you are not working, and still making money)
  • Employer-paid sick days (you are not working, and still making money)
  • The right to pay only 7.5% Social Security Tax (your employer pays the other 7.5%). As a freeLancer you have to pay the whole 15%
  • Not having to pay 15% self-employment tax. As a freeLancer you are charged this 15%

So, which tax rate do you want to pay, 7.5% or 30%?


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:55
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Medical? May 18, 2014

Why is medical insurance a consideration in this decision? Presumably you're Canadian - doesn't Medicare cover everybody regardless of whether they are freelancers or salaried?

 

TB CommuniCAT  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:55
Member (2014)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Medical May 18, 2014

Medical is being considered because dental, vision and prescriptions are not covered in Canada.

 

Verlow Woglo Junior
Brazil
Local time: 21:55
Member (2014)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
No! May 19, 2014

I started as salaried (2 years), and went on to become freelance by choice, and have remained independent since 2002 (+12 years now).

You must be highly organized to succeed as an independent translator, and use technology to your advantage. Save money for retirement, medical insurance, etc, because you will need it.

Please, understand that as a freelancer, you may feel that you can compare yourself to a salaried employee, but you are not. You should consider yourself a company, a corporate entity, looking to profit, to safeguard against losses, and to take care of yourself as a company. Saving for contingencies, having bad debtor's reserves, insurance, budgets, etc. Your company first, you come second, as your own employee.





[Edited at 2014-05-19 00:19 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-05-19 00:21 GMT]


 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:55
Danish to English
+ ...
Wouldn't dream of it May 19, 2014

As others have said, conditions vary from one country to another. In Denmark, we pay quite high taxes, which cover the same, whether you are self-employed or an employee, and neither pensions nor company bonuses are a given when you are an employee.

I prefer to look at the benefits of being self-employed, and they far outweigh the negatives of being an employee. Freedom cannot be calculated in money...


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:55
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
No way back... May 19, 2014

When I started in-house I really needed help with finding my feet. I was extremely grateful to colleagues who led me in the right direction and my employer, who paid for my translation diploma.

But I had already had a long and checkered career in other jobs and paid for a lot of adult education myself, and was feeling somewhat 'burnt out'. I went on to another big training module after I went freelance.

No one would employ me now - but I am perfectly happy with that!


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:55
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Reasons other than financial May 19, 2014

I have done both, and at one point I left free-lancing to work at an agency.

However apart from achieving relative financial stability (given that I had not free-lanced for long enough to build up a solid clientele) the reasons did not really have anything to do with the purely financial perks you cite.

And honestly, if your main considerations are financial, you're perhaps in the wrong line of business


 

Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 03:55
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Wouldn't go back May 19, 2014

I've never worked as an in-house salaried translator, except for the short period I was a trainee, but I have some experience working in an office on a part-time basis, and there was a translation project where I had to work in the client's office during a 3 months' high-security project. Based on these experiences, being a sole trader is definitely my cup of tea!

As to the points you mentioned:
Finland has high taxes, and sole traders have to pay a mandatory pension insurance that also covers social security (sick leave, maternity leave, unemployment...). The benefits related to this are dependent on the amount one chooses to pay, so paying less would result in a smaller pension, for example. The coverage is not quite as good as for salaried employees, but not that much worse, either. The taxes are more or less the same for salaried people and sole traders.
Public health care is available for everyone without any insurance and works quite well. Also, as far as I know, company bonuses are not something "normal employees" ever see.

Of course, as a sole trader one has to price one's services so that one can afford to pay the mandatory taxes and insurance, to take days off or go on a holiday. This has never posed any problems so far, so for me the benefits of being an independent professional clearly outweigh the few disadvantages. Being able to choose my own hours and the types of projects I want to take, and being able to earn a comfortable income while working less hours than I would in a salaried job are the top reasons for me to continue freelancing.

[Edited at 2014-05-19 11:12 GMT]


 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Freelance vs salaried translator

Advanced search







memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search