Good invoicing practises - sending my first invoice.
Thread poster: Liset Nyland

Liset Nyland  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:31
Italian to Danish
+ ...
Jul 2, 2005

Dear all,

Here we go, after knowing for about 2 months (and translating for free for about a year) I've finally landed my first small jobs through the portal: An UK agency, which promptly sends me a Purchase Order stating all details and conditions for payment and then a French based agency, who said thanks when I sent the final file and never mentioned anything about payment except for the accounted number of words in the quote..

Both are really small amounts (about 50 €), but while it's obvious that I should send an invoice to the UK based company, what should I do about the other one? Do I just send them an invoice and that's it?
What is good practise from an agency and from my part? Is it all-right to send an invoice by email?

How do you work internationally?

Thanks in advance,


Chiara_M  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:31
French to Italian
+ ...
Two invoices and always ask agencies... Jul 2, 2005

I always send my invoices via email. Even if sometimes it happens that some clients (for big amounts, indeed - never for small ones) ask me to send a signed invoice via snail mail, too.
You should ask the client, I think. When I work with new clients, I always ask for "instructions" before sendig an invoice. Everyone has different "requirements". Some ask to mention lots of details, some others not. It depends.
The most important is to include your bank details to get paid (if you'll be paid via bank transfer - never forget SWIFT code and IBAN) or your PayPal account (if you'll be paid via PP, but I don't think it's the case).
Of course, you have to send an invoice both to the UK and the France based agencies.


Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:31
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Hi Liset Jul 2, 2005

Everything should be stated before starting the translation, even the payment terms. Agencies usually have their habits that might not be the same than yours. For example, for clients who ask me a quote I have different payment terms depending on the fact if I know them or not. To unknown (direct) clients I ask payment upon receipt of the translation + invoice. Sometimes one week and usually one month for known clients. Most of the time it takes some more days and I accept this. If you didi not discuss the payment terms before (and how the payment will be done), it would be good to ask the French agency before invoicing. In your invoice you must write the date when payment is due and how they are supposed to pay you. If it's by bank transfer, don't forget your IBAN and SWIFT code.

My invoices are Word documents in which I pasted a scanned signature, and then I make a PDF from them, this way they can't be modified. It's a good habit not to wait too long after you sent the translation for sending the invoice. The best is to send them together.

Good luck



Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:31
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Essentials to include in an invoice Jul 3, 2005

Hi Liset,

Each invoice has to have a unique invoice number. You decide on your own numbering system when you write your first ever invoice. My invoice numbers are made up as follows:

Year (05)
3-digit client number (for the first customer that would be 001)
3-digit invoice number (for the first invoice of the year that would be 001)

Therefore your first two invoices would be numbered:




There are also other systems, such as simple consecutive numbers. Most people start with the year, and consecutive numbering would then be: 05001,05002, etc. However, I like my customer number there in the middle. It becomes important if you develop into a proper business a few years later and want an easy way of producing statistics of how much turnover you get from each client, etc.

I normally have the invoice number, date of issue of invoice, and date payment due grouped together, underneath one another, in the top right-hand corner.

The other thing you should not forget in your invoice is a description of the work and the date on which it was carried out (e.g. "Danish-English translation on 03.07.2005").

Naturally, the invoice always contains your full contact details (including postal address) and your bank details, with IBAN and BIC, as already mentioned. You can design the layout yourself.

Best regards,



Vito Smolej
Local time: 05:31
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Think of payment costs Jul 3, 2005

Liset Nyland wrote:
Both are really small amounts (about 50 €), but while it's obvious that I should send an invoice to the UK based company, what should I do about the other one?

The banks, transferring the payment, will take their bite out of 50€ one way or another and it may well happen, that the bite will be off your share (the UK client very probably mentioned that somewhere) .

Try to make your clients agree on paypal (for instance) instead of SWIFT - a good start would be your French order.




Liset Nyland  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:31
Italian to Danish
+ ...
Thanks a lot Jul 4, 2005

Dear All,

Thanks a lot for the good advice. I also went and opened a Paypal account, even though it seems that the "personal" accounts cause a lot of troble to users of this website.

If I'll get paid, well, that's another matter..



United States
Local time: 23:31
French to English
I agree with emailing invoices and I convert them to pdf format Jul 6, 2005

Just personal preference, but I would rather send a pdf invoice as opposed to a Word file invoice. The only time I've sent a Word file invoice is when the client insisted on receiving the invoice WITH the translation, and I was already a bit rushed to begin with...which is not really an excuse, since it takes just a couple of minutes to convert to pdf. Anyway, that is what I do, since it's a non-editable format. (I also send my resume in this format, always. I don't like when they ask me to re-send it in Word or WordPerfect format...but I digress.)


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Good invoicing practises - sending my first invoice.

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