Getting set up
Thread poster: Roy Williams

Roy Williams  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:14
Member (2011)
German to English
Sep 10, 2008

Hello everyone,

This year Im going to be taking my first concrete steps in moving from in-house to freelance. I just wanted to get some input on the basic tools needed for a home office.

Of course I already have a computer, Internet connection, Email amd a ProZ profile. I also have a CAT tool (wordfast). So I guess the question is: did I overlook anything?

What accounting software would be best? Are there any that are specifically designed for translation?
What would be the best way to calculate/confirm word counts and produce invoices?

And what's the best way to keep from being.....cheated?

Sorry if Im asking too many questions, I just want to wade in carefully.

thanks in advance


Stuart Dowell  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:14
Member (2007)
Polish to English
+ ...
TO3000 Sep 10, 2008

For invoicing and basic accounting I recommend Translation Office 3000.

It takes a while to configure everything for your needs, which is why some people don't like it, but its a very useful tool.

It also includes the AnyCount counting engine.

I don't know the best way to avoid getting cheated but I would check potential outsourcers on the BlueBoard. You can also ask proz colleagues on these boards about any practices that you are unsure of.

In my experience, agencies don't try and cheat you most of the time (if at all). The majority of disputes usually result from misunderstandings.


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:14
English to French
+ ...
Contracts and accounting Sep 10, 2008

Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of freelancing is the contact. You need to have a signed contract that sets the terms of the service you provide to your client.

Agencies will most often require that you sign a contact they wrote. This can be acceptable; however, two issues need to be taken into consideration. One is to read carefully all contracts you are asked to sign - there are sometimes rather abusive clauses in such contracts, and once you sign them, these are binding. The clauses most often discussed here are those that deal with your financial liabilities should your translation be deemed unsatisfactory by the client - we've seen examples here of some really abusive clauses that you should sign under no circumstance, ever. The other aspect of the contract is that, often, agency contracts clearly state that, should a litigation occur, the matter will be judged by a court of law in the client's country. This, in my opinion, is unacceptable. You can't be spending your time reading up on the legal system of your clients' countries and keep adapting your services to them. Always put in writing that litigations will be handled by courts in your country (this is how things work by default, in cases where there is no contract).

Document everything you do. Don't just accept a job, do it and then invoice for it. Request that your client send you a PO for each job. Also, attach the invoice to the e-mail to which you attach the deliverable translation. If you attach both to the same e-mail, they can't say they didn't get your invoice, because that would mean they didn't get the translation either. They can't say you are invoicing them for work you didn't perform, either.

I always send a statement of work to my clients (more or less a PO) which includes instructions, deliverables, deadlines and the total amount that will be invoiced, and ask the client to confirm it. I don't start translating until the client confirms that they agree with this document.

You will sometimes deal with people who don't like to pay, or who are late payers. Keep track of who owes you what, and contact the client the very day the payment is overdue, no later.

Translation Office 3000 provides for pretty much everything above. As for the contract issues, I recommend you read up on it by searching the forum on this site.

All the best!

[Edited at 2008-09-10 19:11]


Roy Williams  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:14
Member (2011)
German to English
thanks Sep 11, 2008

Thank you both for the helpful advice. I feel I have a better overview.


Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:14
French to English
+ ...
A printer too Sep 12, 2008

Hello WilRoy,

I presume that it was an oversight in your list of office equipment, but just in case, I'd like to reinforce the importance of having a printer. (Mine went on the blink last weekend and it's been a trying week!)

Otherwise, I think that Viktoria and Stuart have given good advice.



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