getting started for dummies... how to set up a part time business in translation?
Thread poster: Salomee

English to German
+ ...
Oct 22, 2009

This is actually directed to other translators in Germany, but nevertheless, I think it's helpful to post it in English.

I already have a degree as a translator/interpretor for English (staatlich geprüfte Übersetzerin/Dolmetscherin), and at the moment I'm enrolled at university for Scandinavian studies.

I would like to set up my own little business in order to earn some money for my studies. However, I don't have a clue about all the business-related stuff. I know I have to sign up at the Finanzamt as a freelancer. But I can't really answer all the questions in the application forms. I will lose more time while finding out about this than I have at my disposal to work besides my studies!

Has anybody done this before and can help me, knows addresses, where to turn to for advise, etc.?


Clara Gómez Pérez
Local time: 00:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same here! Oct 22, 2009

I'm trying to start working as a freelance translator too, and yes, it's quite complicated. And I don't know either how to fill the form from the Steuernummer. But a friend of mine told me that the people in the Finanzamt are really friendly and they can explain you anything you'll need to know. It's for free, so I guess it's worth trying...

Today I tried twice to get some information at the office from BDÜ, but there wasn't anybody there. Perhaps they do answer the phone though...

Good luck!



English to German
+ ...
Thanks for the reply Oct 24, 2009

Well, I just filled that form in now and I put in some figures estimating how much I'm going to make with it by random... of course they're very low as I don't expect it will be an instant success. So what I'm going to do now is basically walk up to the Finanzamt soon and give them my form.
I've contacted the BDÜ by mail and they replied very fast actually. Maybe you could try this instead!

However, I'm not sure if I should sign up there because I can't have a student member account and so it's getting to expensive compared to what I've earned up until now (= zero). :/


KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:42
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Getting started in Germany Oct 24, 2009

It's much simpler here than in many places. France, for example.

I suggest you raise the question in the German forum or have a look at the archives there. If you have specific questions, you are also welcome to contact me by private mail.

I do believe in any case that the association with the BDÜ would be very worthwhile. Not only are there useful education events (open to non-members, though usually at a slightly higher cost), but the members forums at are very important sources of information on the translation business specifically in Germany. Professional insurance through the BDÜ is also far, far cheaper than any other source you are likely to have access to. And the online directory can be a productive source of clients depending on what you have to offer. All these matters and much more have been discussed in the German forum.


English to German
+ ...
Hi Oct 24, 2009

Dear Kevin,

Thanks for your reply. I'm browsing the German forumicon_smile.gif


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