What information should be included in invoices?
Thread poster: Benk (X)

Benk (X)
Japanese to English
Nov 26, 2010

Hi everyone,

I am new to translating, but I have been getting a few jobs. Now I have been told that I will need to send invoices to get payment. I was wondering if anyone could tell what kind of information should be included on the invoice. Is there anything that must be included. Can I just draw up an invoice form myself or should I get one from somewhere?

Living in Japan I also need to send invoices in Japanese, does anyone know if this would be the same information as for invoices in English?

Thanks for any help.


JaneAlison  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
French to English
An invoice depends on the country in which it is established Nov 26, 2010

What you need to include will depend on Japanese law. The obvious items are your name adress etc a registration number for your business if you have one, any taxes that may apply (such as the Value Added Tax in the EU). The basis on which you quoted for the work ie how much per word/per hour and the number of words or hours. How you wish to be paid, if by cheque who the cheque should be payable to, if by bank transfer the details of your bank, if by PayPal your PayPal account. When you should be paid by, again this should have been specified in the original quote for the work.

The ideal would be to find a Japanese invoice and copy it.

kind regards


Lucia Leszinsky
ProZ.com invoicing for translators Nov 26, 2010

Hello Benk,

Maybe you would like to try ProZ.com invoicing tool to see the type of information that is generally included in invoices, https://www.proz.com/invoice/try

You can create, send, and track online up to 5 invoices to see how the tool works. For unlimited access to invoices, you must become a ProZ.com member.

I am sure colleagues will have more ideas as to what you should include in language-specific invoices too.

More information about ProZ.com invoicing tool is available here: http://www.proz.com/invoice/about

Hope this helps!

Kind regards,



Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:58
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
My invoices to Japan Nov 26, 2010

In general, my invoices to Japan are based on client's specific format [e.g. in Japanese characters] since Japanese firms are not much exposed to English communication worlds.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:58
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Ask your client Nov 26, 2010

Your client usually has an interest in getting your invoices paid. (Who wants a bill hanging over his/her/its head?) If you're not sure what your client needs, why not ask him/her/it? If the client asks for something unreasonable, you can always ask why he/she/it needs it.

Your invoice should answer the following questions as a minimum:
a. What is this money paying for? (e.g., a translation of X words sent to you on Wednesday)
b. How much is owed?
c. Where is the money supposed to go?


Ibuesa  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
What about TVA and when working with clients abroad? Dec 10, 2010

Hello everyone,

I would like to add other questions since I am also in the same situation and could not find out by using the Proz Invoice tool.

I am currently living and have registered my Sole Proprietorship business in the United States (California). Do I need to add TVA or other taxes in my invoices? If yes, how much is stated for translation services? I called the IRS but they couldn't help me answering that, and I wasn't able to reach the US Small Business Administration today.

In addition, when the client is not based in the United States and pay you in another currency, does that require other/additional information in my invoice?

I hope someone will be able to shed some light. Thank you in advance!


Ibuesa  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
correction Dec 11, 2010

Where I wrote 'TVA' I meant 'VAT', my apologies.


ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:58
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Internet Search Dec 12, 2010

If you make a google search with the word invoice, you will be able to find many different invoices. I highly recommend making an advanced search rather than a simple search. That way, you can specify the language (English, Japanese, etc.), the file type (MS Word, for example) among others. I always use google advanced search. It is so much powerful and flexible.


Renee Lizotte  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
French to English
+ ...
You don´t charge VAT unless you are VAT registered Dec 13, 2010

Ibuesa wrote:

I am currently living and have registered my Sole Proprietorship business in the United States (California). Do I need to add TVA or other taxes in my invoices? If yes, how much is stated for translation services?

Hello Ibuesa,

The short answer to your question is no. You would only charge VAT if you were a registered business owner or sole proprietor (freelance translator) in the EU. In that case, you would have a VAT number and be registered with Social Security and the tax authorities in the EU member state where you are a legal resident. A VAT number is basically the equivalent of your S.S. number or EIN in the United States. As for the amount of VAT you collect/pay, it varies for each member state of the EU. For example, VAT is 18% in Spain. When you collect VAT on an invoice, you have to turn that money over to the tax authorities when you declare your quarterly and annual taxes. When the customer prepares his/her tax returns, he/she also adds up all of the VAT paid on receipts and invoices and deducts that amount.

All that to say, you will not be charging VAT since you are a US resident and you are registered and paying taxes in the United States.

I hope this answers your question.



Ibuesa  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
English to Spanish
+ ...
You have to ask the Board of Equalization in your state Dec 15, 2010

Thank you Renée, that's very helpful information!

After a few calls I finally found out that the best organization one can ask in order to know about sales tax or other kind of taxes included in invoices is the Board of Equalization.

As I found in another discussion in Proz posted by a translator in NY, I was told that I don't need to add any sales tax in my invoices because translations are not a tangible product. However, in the case I sent a translation to a client and they would ask for additional copies -and printed ones- I should then charge sales taxes.

I would have never imagined this, so I hope this information helps others with the same doubts. In any case, please ask the Board of Equalization, it might apply differently to states other than California.

Thank you all for your help,



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