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Do you work for agencies in the country of your source language(s)?
Thread poster: Rachael Clayton

Rachael Clayton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
French to English
+ ...
Apr 3, 2019

I've enquired with a lot of translation agencies about becoming a freelancer for them but have got almost nothing in reply. A friend suggested contacting agencies abroad which I hadn't really considered, I guess I thought it wasn't the done thing. Is there anything to be wary of like tax if I did this? I think I can get paid in Euros using transferwise.

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
Member (2008)
Italian to English
YEs Apr 3, 2019

Blueplatypus wrote:

I've enquired with a lot of translation agencies about becoming a freelancer for them but have got almost nothing in reply. A friend suggested contacting agencies abroad which I hadn't really considered, I guess I thought it wasn't the done thing. Is there anything to be wary of like tax if I did this? I think I can get paid in Euros using transferwise.


1. Re tax: assuming that you are domiciled for tax purposes in the UK, then you pay UK tax, no matter where your clients are. Your invoices should be in English. Moreover you must only comply with UK tax law, and not the tax law of any other country; to do so would in fact be illegal.
2. It is far more likely that you will find work in the countries where your source languages are spoken. However your profile is very thin; I suggest you complete it.
3. You can invoice in Euro and get paid in GBP via an ordinary bank transfer to your UK bank. All banks provide this service. You don't need to use Transferwise.

More generally I get the impression that you're not sure where you stand on these matters. For that reason I would suggest you consult an accountant who is.

[Edited at 2019-04-03 14:51 GMT]


Chris S
Samuel Murray
Sheila Wilson
Elena Aclasto
Angie Garbarino
Teresa Borges
 

Jan Truper  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:32
English to German
Of course Apr 3, 2019

Blueplatypus wrote:

A friend suggested contacting agencies abroad which I hadn't really considered, I guess I thought it wasn't the done thing.


Pretty much all of my business comes from agencies or direct clients abroad.


Angie Garbarino
Chris S
Teresa Borges
 

Katherine Rucker
United States
Local time: 03:32
Member (2019)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes! Apr 3, 2019

I work about 95% with agencies in my source language countries, because they just get more volume. It means waking up early to answer European emails and having to deal with some exchange rates, but it's much easier on the whole, I think.

[Edited at 2019-04-04 13:17 GMT]


Daina Jauntirans
Rachael Clayton
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Italy Apr 3, 2019

99.9% of my clients are in Italy. Italian is my source language.

[Edited at 2019-04-03 15:50 GMT]


 

Rachael Clayton  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I see! Apr 3, 2019

Thank you to everyone for your replies, it seems I was barking up the wrong tree completely! The freelance dream is still alive after all.

Tom in London wrote:

Blueplatypus wrote:

I've enquired with a lot of translation agencies about becoming a freelancer for them but have got almost nothing in reply. A friend suggested contacting agencies abroad which I hadn't really considered, I guess I thought it wasn't the done thing. Is there anything to be wary of like tax if I did this? I think I can get paid in Euros using transferwise.


1. Re tax: assuming that you are domiciled for tax purposes in the UK, then you pay UK tax, no matter where your clients are. Your invoices should be in English. Moreover you must only comply with UK tax law, and not the tax law of any other country; to do so would in fact be illegal.
2. It is far more likely that you will find work in the countries where your source languages are spoken. However your profile is very thin; I suggest you complete it.
3. You can invoice in Euro and get paid in GBP via an ordinary bank transfer to your UK bank. All banks provide this service. You don't need to use Transferwise.

More generally I get the impression that you're not sure where you stand on these matters. For that reason I would suggest you consult an accountant who is.

[Edited at 2019-04-03 14:51 GMT]


3. Thanks, I just thought banks would charge a lot for receiving foreign currency.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:32
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Even look for clients in third countries Apr 3, 2019

Blueplatypus wrote:
I've enquired with a lot of translation agencies about becoming a freelancer for them but have got almost nothing in reply. A friend suggested contacting agencies abroad which I hadn't really considered, I guess I thought it wasn't the done thing. Is there anything to be wary of like tax if I did this? I think I can get paid in Euros using transferwise.

I agree with the advice already given. But don't even restrict yourself to Italy, Switzerland, France and other francophone countries. You'll find the most work there, of course, but anywhere else in the world is possible. I've done FR>EN translations for a boutique Bulgarian agency . So many native speakers of all languages end up in different parts of the world nowadays -- as we can see from the example we set here on ProZ.com! There are also potential clients for you in other countries that speak English (as long as they're happy with British English). I've had a few minor jobs (at my rates) from Hong Kong, for example. I received a job from an Indian agency once, but that went rapidly pear-shaped .

Although your invoices must be in your country's language, and it may be best to mention the amount in the local currency, there's nothing to stop you issuing bilingual invoices (or trilingual ones, as I do!) and asking for payment in whatever currency you're prepared to accept. I accept EUR (my own currency), GBP (as I have a GBP account in the UK still), and USD (as I have a USD stream in my PayPal account and I can usually find something to buy online in USD so they get used without any conversion losses).

An accountant who specialises in cross-border B2B transactions will tell you what you need to do to stay legal. As a freelance translator using the internet, you certainly aren't doing yourself any favours restricting your business to local clients.


Valérie Ourset
 

ahartje
Portugal
Local time: 08:32
Member (2006)
German to Portuguese
+ ...
Brexit Apr 3, 2019

And don´t forget the changes to be made after Brexit in 10 days!

Tom in London
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
Member (2008)
Italian to English
If you know Apr 4, 2019

ahartje wrote:

And don´t forget the changes to be made after Brexit in 10 days!


If you know what's going to happen and how it will affect us translators and our cross-border transactions, please let us know, because nobody else does (including the British government)...



[Edited at 2019-04-04 07:03 GMT]


Manuela Junghans
Joe France
P.L.F.Persio
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Christopher Schmidt
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:32
Member (2008)
Italian to English
€€€ Apr 4, 2019

Blueplatypus wrote:

3. Thanks, I just thought banks would charge a lot for receiving foreign currency.


Well of course everyone charges something for currency conversion. My UK Bank (FirstDirect) converts the amount they receive from € to £. They then follow up each transaction with a printed statement (sent by post) detailing the amount they received in €, who paid it, their own conversion rate on that date, and the amount in £ that they have credited to me.

As of 31 March they were applying an exchange rate of 1.1935. As you can see, the £ has not been doing well recently and is approaching parity with the Euro. Blame Brexit.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:32
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Reflect the costs in your rates and/or minimise them Apr 4, 2019

Blueplatypus wrote:
3. Thanks, I just thought banks would charge a lot for receiving foreign currency.

A. Shop around and maybe change bank, or add a bank - research ways to reduce your fees.
B. Claim exchange rate losses and bank fees as business expenses (if your tax regime allows it).
C. Pass the costs on to your clients, whether in higher rates or through surcharges, or stipulating that the currency conversion must be done at their end or that they must accept all transfer costs, or at least reduce your risks and losses by according them shorter payment periods.

Of course, you'll need to decide if measures of type C will be counter-productive. There's always a balance point and we all make different decisions. I, for example, don't let my clients have a USD or GBP rate to use month in, month out, as that can become a nightmare over time. They can pay in those currencies, but I'll calculate the price when invoicing or when quoting for a single large job, so I'm paid the equivalent of my EUR rate.

What I'm really getting at is that it would pay you to find ways to surmount such obstacles and grow your business, rather than letting them hold you back.


 

Giuseppe Greco  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:32
English to Italian
Response rate Apr 4, 2019

Blueplatypus wrote:

...but have got almost nothing in reply.


Hi Blueplatypus,

I'm in a similar situation right now (just starting out), but I wanted to share an interesting fact I've found in a book about freelancing: apparently a 2% response rate is considered a huge success in direct marketing, so we need to send really a lot of applications and proposals to get some results.

Don't be discouraged and good luck!


Valérie Ourset
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 08:32
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Apr 4, 2019

All my clients (translation agencies and direct clients) are from abroad (Europe, USA, Canada, Japan, Australia…). I would recommend that you do your homework first and only send CVs to those agencies which work with your language combination(s) and your area(s) of specialization. You might also look at time differences, payment terms and practices. Agencies receive dozens of CVs every day and it is highly likely that most agencies wouldn’t bother to open them. In my experience, a very conci... See more
All my clients (translation agencies and direct clients) are from abroad (Europe, USA, Canada, Japan, Australia…). I would recommend that you do your homework first and only send CVs to those agencies which work with your language combination(s) and your area(s) of specialization. You might also look at time differences, payment terms and practices. Agencies receive dozens of CVs every day and it is highly likely that most agencies wouldn’t bother to open them. In my experience, a very concise email to a selection of agencies in which you sum up why you think you’re a good fit + your previous experience, qualifications and rates is much more effective, but even so don't expect an overwhelming response.Collapse


Rachel Waddington
Chris S
Jorge Payan
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 16:32
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Currencies Apr 4, 2019

Many business accounts and some personal accounts allow you to maintain a balance and receive funds in multiple currencies. You can then convert them at your convenience.

[Edited at 2019-04-04 16:18 GMT]


 

DZiW (X)
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
No Apr 4, 2019

Hardly there are any agencies (middlemen) with the rates even vaguely close to my direct clients' ones, not to mention favorable terms and flexible hours.

 
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