Register as sole trader
Thread poster: Mila Di Tullio

Mila Di Tullio  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:36
English to Italian
Apr 18

Hello freelance traslators

I have recently started to apply for translation agencies as freelancer and some agencies included me in their freelance databases but I haven't receive commissions yet. I'm wondering when is the best time to register as sole trader and if I should do it immediately.

Any piece of advice is more than welcome
Many thanks in advance
Mila


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:36
French to English
Not sure that I understand your question Apr 18

Hello Mila,

If I understand your post correctly, you have registered with agencies as a freelancer, but you have not yet set up a formal business structure. Is that correct? If so, the agencies will not contact you for work until you have an official legal business structure of some sort. It would be illegal for them to do so.
Perhaps I have misunderstood your question.


 

Mila Di Tullio  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:36
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
Further explanation Apr 19

Hi Nikki

thank you for your replay. I think you got my point. I applied to translation agencies as freelancer and they inserted my details in their database, therefore I believe they'll contact me to translate texts that match the translation domains that I'm specialised in. I also know that the fact that I've join their freelance team do not guarantee an immediate start.

During the recruiting process they sent me files to fill in such as registration forms and non-disclosure clause and confidentiality agreements to sign. They didn't mention that I should be registered as sole trader first though. They may took for granted that I am already?...


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Mia and Nikki Apr 19

Mila Di Tullio wrote:
I have recently started to apply for translation agencies as freelancer and some agencies included me in their freelance databases but I haven't receive commissions yet.


The reason you haven't received any commissions is because there are too many translators for the number of available agencies. You are on their databases but you are at the bottom of the list, and it may take years before they contact you at all. Your best bet is to register at as many agencies as possible and to make yourself visible in other ways (e.g. improve your profile and its positioning on ProZ.com, etc).

I'm wondering when is the best time to register as sole trader and if I should do it immediately.


Well, according to this site and this site you don't need to register as a sole trader for as long as your income does not exceed GBP 1000 per year, but since you intend to be a translator, I would recommend registering as soon as you can.

I'm not sure how the financial year works in the UK, but I was unpleasantly suprised to discover that in the Netherlands it's actually better (financially/tax-wise) to register on 1 January instead of 1 December or 1 November, as tax thresholds in the NL do not apply pro rata.

You're fortunate in the UK that you're allowed to do cash-based accounting as a sole trader (registered or otherwise). In the NL, I'm required to use accrual-based accounting, even as a freelancer, which is only fine if all of one's clients pay within 30 days.

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:
The agencies will not contact you for work until you have an official legal business structure of some sort. It would be illegal for them to do so.


No, that is mostly not true. Whether or not agencies can legally work with you if you are not registered in your country of residence depends entirely on the laws of the countries where the agencies are located. In most cases, I believe, agencies don't care about whether you're registered as a business or not.

From the agencies' perspective, they work with freelance translators, and whether these "freelancers" are considered businesses or private persons in their own countries is generally not relevant to the agencies (though again, this depends on the agency's country's laws).

Anyway, it's not required in the UK to be registered, in order to legally do business as a sole trader.


 

Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:36
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Registering as a sole trader Apr 19

Samuel Murray wrote:

Anyway, it's not required in the UK to be registered, in order to legally do business as a sole trader.


As far as I remember, setting up as a sole trader simply involves registering for self-assessment when the time comes to pay your tax for the year. You'll have to wait until you've submitted your tax return to get any sort of proof that you pay tax in the UK.

Have a look through the endless forum discussions to learn about the other reasons you haven't yet received any work. As Samuel says, often it's just because you're on the bottom of most agencies' lists and need to send out more applications. You can always ply your network for direct clients in the meantime.


 


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