Getting Established in Russia
Thread poster: Frederic Erk

Frederic Erk  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:34
English to French
+ ...
May 2, 2012

Dear all

Once upon a time there was a happy freelance technical translator with a good business and happy clients. Now that he has met his significant other, he is planning to move to Moscow and to get established there. Alas, poor guy, he is not speaking Russian, only French, German and English, and so far looking for a position in the industry was not successful. Many linguists dive into teaching, but unless you have a diploma in teaching a language, the salary is mediocre (even if the teaching itself is exciting!). All translator jobs he found on the web required Russian. He hunted job offers in embassies, or as personal assistant. No luck. So my question (if it can be considered as such) is: are there freelance translators who did get established in Russia, and could share their experience? What kind of Russian industry is recruiting freelance translators? Is it required to speak Russian fluently to work as a translator in Russia? (Of course, it is required to speak Russian, but to reach the level of a native speaker is another business altogether.)

Kind regards

Fred.


 

Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:34
Member (2005)
Danish to English
+ ...
Not sure I understand the problem... May 2, 2012

Why don't you just carry on your existing 'good business' in Moscow?

 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:34
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Why do you need Russian clients? May 2, 2012

Frederic Erk wrote:
What kind of Russian industry is recruiting freelance translators?


I'm not sure I understand this. As a freelance translator, you own and manage your own business and basically "recruit yourself"


Is it required to speak Russian fluently to work as a translator in Russia?


Why? Can't you continue to serve your old clients, or find new ones with your current combinations? I live in the US and have done work for clients on every continent except Antarctica.

One of the few consolations of our lonely chosen profession is that the market is truly global, and with instant communications our physical location makes very little difference. You communicate with your clients by internet anyway, right?

All you need to do is continue working happily from Russia as you have worked from wherever you were located until now. There's no reason for your business model to change just because you have moved.

Is it especially complicated (from an administrative/legal standpoint) to set up as freelancer in Russia?


 

Frederic Erk  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Freelancer in Russia (or elsewhere) May 3, 2012

Thank you for your answers. Yes, there is a problem with the freelancer status. It seems it does not give me access to the work permit there, unless (I believe) I establish myself by creating a company in Moscow. This means buying an office, etc. Without the work visa, I cannot stay in Russia for more that 180 days per year. I posted on ProZ because I thought that some Russian translators or freelancers in Russia could perhaps share about their experience.

By the way, I guess that working in America requires a permit, too. How did you do with your freelancer business?

Kind regards

Fred


 

SwissLocalizer
Switzerland
English to French
+ ...
Get some courses at a language school May 3, 2012

Hi Frederic,

I was and still am to some extend in the same situation as you. I found out that the best way to get away with the "180 days law" is to get a visa from a language school/university (usually one-year, and then you can extend it) and to take a few courses with them. After you will be more familiar with the place, why not opening a company.

It is virtually impossible to get a work permit unless you are really "needed" by a company. This is because the administrative procedure for a Russian company to hire a foreigner is extremely tedious.

Hope this helps.

Floriane


 

Frederic Erk  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! May 3, 2012

Dear Floriane

Thank you for your interesting advice. I will examine that option very seriously.

Kind regards

Frederic.


 

Barbara Schimmack  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:34
Russian to German
Freelancers in Russia May 4, 2012

Frederick,

most freelance translators in Russia work as an ИП / IP (индивидуальный предприниматель / sole propertrietor). You don't need an office to work as an IP (you can indicate your home address). But as a foreigner you can't become an IP, unless you hold a residence permit, which you can only receive if you get married to a Russian citizen (or if you get a job as a so called "highly qualified expert", which seems unlikely).

A foreigner can, however, open an OOO (LLC). But I wouldn't suggest that, since that is related to quite a lot of paperwork and here you need an office space.

But if your clients are abroad it probably will be more convenient for them to work with you as a British freelancer / LLC / whatever legal form you have.

I think it'd be the best to continue to work with your old clients. Since you can't move to Moscow just because, it'd be reasonable to get a student visa, as Florine suggested. Or, of course, to get married. That's the simplest + best way of getting the permit to stay in Russia.icon_smile.gif

And if you are interested in the details of how to receive a residence permit or how to open a company, have a look at this forum: http://expat.ru/forum/index.php

If you have any further questions, feel free to ask. I have been living in Saint Petersburg since 2009.icon_smile.gif


 

Frederic Erk  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:34
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, Barbara May 6, 2012

Thank you for your kind help and valuable information. Have a very nice day!!

Frédéric.


 

Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:34
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
It's hard to get established in Russia May 30, 2012

Dear Fred,

Have you learned anything new about your situation with freelancing in Russia? As someone who has lived and studied in Russia, I know there are several difficulties that you will have to overcome.

The first main difficulty is with obtaining a visa for Russia. This can be difficult as only the 'work' and 'study' visas allow you to stay for a long time.

My advice to you would be to look for major translation companies that deal with multiple languages besides Russian. I know of at least a couple of them off the top of my head. If you like you can send me a message and I will be happy to share what I know.

Perhaps you could get a job teaching French or German (there are lots of opportunities in these languages) and you could teach part time so you would still have time for your translations.

Or best of all, like the others have mentioned already, consider enrolling in Russian language classes. You will boost your skills and maybe one day you will become skilled enough to translate in Russian as well as your other languages.

Sincerely,

Sarah


 


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