can you wait a year or more before sending the invoice?
Thread poster: Mikel Telleria Mujika

Mikel Telleria Mujika  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:25
Basque to English
+ ...
Sep 18

Hi all,

I have been translating for over 3 years and things are going pretty well. However, I have received a scholarship from the government with really good conditions for a 18 month internship. The only problem is that it contractually requires me not to do any other kind of activity. I wouldn't want to stop translating now, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to work a few extra hours during weekends after working at the office Mon to Fri, nothing unethical about that.
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Hi all,

I have been translating for over 3 years and things are going pretty well. However, I have received a scholarship from the government with really good conditions for a 18 month internship. The only problem is that it contractually requires me not to do any other kind of activity. I wouldn't want to stop translating now, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to work a few extra hours during weekends after working at the office Mon to Fri, nothing unethical about that.

My question is, would it possible to continue working as usual for the same customers during 2020 and delay invoicing until mid 2021? would that create them problems?
of course, I am going to ask them as well, but I wanted to hear what other translators have to say first.
and if not, is there any other way to do that?

thanks for your answers.
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:25
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Ethics Sep 18

Mikel Telleria Mujika wrote:it contractually requires me not to do any other kind of activity. I wouldn't want to stop translating now, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to work a few extra hours during weekends after working at the office Mon to Fri, nothing unethical about that.

Ethics apply to contracts too. You are about to sign a contract where you swear that you will not do other work. Would it be ethical to then do other work?


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:25
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Mikel Sep 18

Mikel Telleria Mujika wrote:
I have received a scholarship from the government with really good conditions for a 18-month internship. The only problem is that it contractually requires me not to do any other kind of activity. I wouldn't want to stop translating now...


I suggest you read the contract carefully to discover what exactly is and isn't allowed. You are surely allowed to have hobbies, and it may be that you are allowed to do paid "weekend jobs" or even freelance work of any kind. But if not, then you have to abide by the agreement and do only non-paid translation (i.e. hobby translation).

Would it possible to continue working as usual for the same customers during 2020 and delay invoicing until mid-2021?


Firstly, delaying the invoicing isn't going to solve the problem you're having. If the agreement says what you say it says, then you are not allowed to do paid work *now*, regardless of when you send the invoice or of when you get paid for it.

Secondly, you may possibly not be allowed (legally) to deliberately defer invoicing that long. I'm not sure about the law in Spain, but in my current country of residence (the Netherlands) I have to invoice within 15 days of the end of the month in which the work was done (in the case of long projects, at the latest the month in which the project was completed). I'm sure it would be legal for me and my clients to agree that I do the work now and get paid only 2 or 3 years from now, but such income would have to be declared as part of this year's work (i.e. the year in which the work was done, regardless of when the money comes in), which would mean that I would have to declare estimated values this year (and potentially pay tax on it even though the money hasn't come in yet) and I would have to submit updated income tax statements in 2-3 years, which would be bothersome because it would result in tax assessment adjustments, which would affect the other taxes that I had already paid or grants that I have already received.

While some clients have no problem paying invoices that are several years old, a client typically would want to process an invoice in the same calendar or tax year of the job that it relates to, for accounting purposes and especially also for tax purposes. Unless the client uses an automated invoicing system, dealing with invoices that relate to jobs from past years puts an unwelcome burden on the client's accountant, and he is likely to advise his client not to agree to such a thing (if only for his own benefit).

I understand that you don't want to end the good relationship that you have with your current clients, but if your scholarship agreement does not allow it, you're going to have to find a solution that does not involve doing any paid work for those clients for a while.


[Edited at 2019-09-18 08:37 GMT]


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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:25
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Unethical Sep 18

Contract terms are sometimes negotiable - you could ask them if what you are proposing is acceptable. Otherwise, I think you need to choose.

Leaving invoicing for 18 months still breaks the terms of your contract, plus I doubt you'd get paid.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 23:25
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Tell your clients - and remind them when you are back! Sep 18

Check the contract terms for the internship, and find out whether they are negotiable. Even if they are, however, you will not have a lot of time to translate for other clients. You need to sleep, give your brain a rest, and take breaks to be able to keep up.

Eighteen months is a long time to be away, but I make it a policy to tell clients when I am not available because I am travelling, studying or on holiday. Especially if I can put in a remark about how I will be fresher and more
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Check the contract terms for the internship, and find out whether they are negotiable. Even if they are, however, you will not have a lot of time to translate for other clients. You need to sleep, give your brain a rest, and take breaks to be able to keep up.

Eighteen months is a long time to be away, but I make it a policy to tell clients when I am not available because I am travelling, studying or on holiday. Especially if I can put in a remark about how I will be fresher and more up to date when I get back.

Then I sometimes send my clients a digital ´postcard´ to let them know when I am back! On other occasions they seem to know - or have forgotten I was away, and send plenty of work anyway.

Tell the good clients you are taking an internship which will mean you are not available (or only occasionally available), but that you will be interested in working with them again afterwards. A lot can happen in the meantime, but then you can say ´hi! I´m back´ with a good conscience when you are.

Ethics are important, and moonlighting is simply too stressful to be healthy. Play straight, and good luck!
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erika rubinstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:25
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Invoicing Sep 18

In Germny you can invoice up to 3 years after the assignment, if no other agreement is in place. I can not imagine, that is so different in the Netherlands.

 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 23:25
Member (2016)
English to German
This is the Internet Sep 18

Besides the ethical pitfalls mentioned above, there are some practical considerations. This is the Internet. Every person who googles your name can now stumble on this thread and see that you asked how to break a contract. This includes the sponsor of your scholarship and any other present or future business partner. Such a thing can catch up to you any time in the future when you don't expect it.

Being open and straightforward is not only more ethical, it is much more practical and
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Besides the ethical pitfalls mentioned above, there are some practical considerations. This is the Internet. Every person who googles your name can now stumble on this thread and see that you asked how to break a contract. This includes the sponsor of your scholarship and any other present or future business partner. Such a thing can catch up to you any time in the future when you don't expect it.

Being open and straightforward is not only more ethical, it is much more practical and easier to manage in the long run. If I were you I'd simply go to the sponsor and ask them to allow some work on the side in the contract. Contracts are agreements between two parties, so some negotiation should always be possible. And if not, you need to decide what is more important to you.
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:25
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Erika Sep 18

erika rubinstein wrote:
In Germany, you can invoice up to 3 years after the assignment, if no other agreement is in place.


FWIW, according to this web site (though I have no way of knowing if the web site is accurate), the maximum you can wait for in Germany is 6 months. Of course, I have no idea what happens after 6 months.


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:25
German to English
Credit risk Sep 18

I agree with the ethical issues brought up by other colleagues.
I might also mention the credit risk involved in delaying an invoice for an extended period. Project managers come and go, and the records they maintain can get lost, resulting in problems relating to payment or even document submission (I know from personal experience). There may be no record of your having even done the work that you are invoicing. There is also the risk that the client may no longer be in business by the t
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I agree with the ethical issues brought up by other colleagues.
I might also mention the credit risk involved in delaying an invoice for an extended period. Project managers come and go, and the records they maintain can get lost, resulting in problems relating to payment or even document submission (I know from personal experience). There may be no record of your having even done the work that you are invoicing. There is also the risk that the client may no longer be in business by the time you get around to billing them, or the client may have been taken over by another entity which could disavow your claim.
Just don't do it.


[Edited at 2019-09-18 16:36 GMT]
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Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:25
Dutch to English
+ ...
Sep 18



[Edited at 2019-09-19 11:11 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:25
Member (2018)
French to English
. Sep 19

I agree about the ethical considerations even if I think it rather unfair to impose such things on people. However, they may have had too many people dropping out because of getting too much other work.
When I did my master, on the basis of my previous experience, they told us we would have to follow a few courses in subjects where we hadn't demonstrated experience, and that attendance was compulsory. We all felt that it was harsh, they were more lenient with other students. Yet in the e
... See more
I agree about the ethical considerations even if I think it rather unfair to impose such things on people. However, they may have had too many people dropping out because of getting too much other work.
When I did my master, on the basis of my previous experience, they told us we would have to follow a few courses in subjects where we hadn't demonstrated experience, and that attendance was compulsory. We all felt that it was harsh, they were more lenient with other students. Yet in the end, those of us going down this route already had full lives, kids jobs etc. and had attendance not been obligatory, a lot of us would have missed a lot of lessons and lectures, to the point that we would have failed the exams anyhow. I was the only one to graduate in such circumstances that year, everyone else had dropped out because they simply couldn't fit the lessons in.

Another consideration: if for example you do translations for the EU, you have to bill immediately because they require all subcontractors to be paid within 15 days of billing, so that wouldn't wash. And I know that a lot of translations ordered at the end of the year need to be billed that year, people are anxious to use up all their budget in case they don't get as much the next year.

All in all, it doesn't look like a very good idea.
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erika rubinstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:25
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Website Sep 19

Samuel Murray wrote:

FWIW, according to this web site (though I have no way of knowing if the web site is accurate), the maximum you can wait for in Germany is 6 months. Of course, I have no idea what happens after 6 months.


I dont know this website, but there is a law BGB, which states what I had written, clerarly.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:25
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Erika Sep 19

erika rubinstein wrote:
There is a law BGB, which states what I had written, clearly.


I assume you mean this one:
http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_bgb/englisch_bgb.pdf


 


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