Client in GB, translator in DE - possible problems?
Thread poster: Anne Koth

Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
Member (Feb 2018)
German to English
Aug 14, 2004


I live in Germany, and until now I've just been doing work for clients in Germany. Now I'd like to look for jobs in Britain, but would like to prepare myself for it first rather than waiting until I get a job then looking an idiot. Is there anyone who can tell me...

1) For payment, is it really as easy as putting the IBAN and BIC on my invoice? Are there no fees involved? Does the GB client have to open a special euro bank account to avoid fees?
2) Are there any other possible problems for a freelance translator in Germany with clients abroad? Any legal/tax-related grey areas? Has anyone had any difficulties with this?

Thanks a lot!

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Stefan Keller  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
English to German
No problem Aug 14, 2004

Hi Anne,

No problem at all.

If you invoice in Euros and state your IBAN and SWIFT, there shouldn't be any fees (at least I never had to pay any, my account was always credited with the full invoice amount).

Unless your client is a private person, you don't need to add VAT either.


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DGK T-I  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:34
Member (2003)
Georgian to English
+ ...
Some points ~ Aug 14, 2004

It does help to put the IBAN and BIC on the invoice - do include them.

The client's UK bank may well charge fees for sending, whether from a UK account maintained in Euros or Sterling - and if payment is made in Euros (from a Sterling account) there are likely to be exchange charges. These would all depend on the terms the client's bank gives them for their type of account, which it is reasonable to expect them to be aware of.

The new European rules making Euro transfers within the EU cheap or free (because they have to be charged for as for Euro transfers within an EU country), don't apply to Euro sending charges in this case (because transfers within the UK are normally made in Sterling).
But as I understand it, it should be cheap or free to receive (as opposed to send) Euros (sent with IBAN and BIC from the UK to a German account), because of the above rules. The same rules don't govern the charges a German receiving bank would make for receiving Sterling - the receiver would have to find them out from their bank (and if Sterling was received, exchange charges would be made at that end.

As with all such situations, it's prudent to agree the currency that you will be paid in (Euro/Sterling), and who will be responsible for paying for sending and/or receiving charges (ie: how much will actually be received, in what currency).
(As I understand it, if the receiver charges VAT in Germany, they will need to have the client's UK VAT number, if the client is registered for VAT in the UK, or VAT will have to be charged as well.)

I wouldn't describe any of these as problems, just matters to be aware of.

Best wishes
(English Russian Georgian)

[Edited at 2004-08-14 19:28]

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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:34
Member (Feb 2018)
German to English
Thanks Aug 16, 2004

Thanks for the help. I've just come across so many unexpected obstacles since deciding to become a freelance translator here that I now expect a new monster to be hiding around every corner. Couldn't quite believe that the international side of things would be that easy.

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Client in GB, translator in DE - possible problems?

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