Becoming a freelance translator in France
Thread poster: Gruffalo

Local time: 20:48
German to English
+ ...
May 2, 2006

I am sure this is already covered many times in the forum, but a couple of searches and lots of phone calls to various chambres de commerces, embassies etc. have been of no help, so I thought I'd post my specific situation here in the hope someone out there can help!!
My husband has been offered a job in France, and I would like to find out about freelance translation in France before we make our final decision. Here in the UK, I earn very little at the moment as I look after 2 children full time. I am expecting my income to be low for the foreseeable future. Over here, that isn't a problem. I am registered as a sole trader, and just fill in my tax return and pay NI and that is that. But it seems the situation in France is much more difficult. What exactly would be involved in registering myself?
Would I have to register as a company, even if all my work is for translation agencies?
Would it be possible to continue to be taxed in the UK initially if all my clients were UK based and I fall below the tax threshold?
If I had to register in France immediately, what costs are involved in the set-up? i have read that there are basic rates charged for the first couple of years for the various contributions - is this the case even if I can show my income in the UK falls below the taxable income at present? What are the costs for the first two years? Given how little I earn, if I am taxed based on averages for the first few years, it probably isn't worth me working at all!
What is the personal tax allowance in France at the moment?
What other costs are involved (social security, mutuelle for translators (or would I be covered under my husband's work?), is there a specific pension scheme I would have to contribute to?
Is there anything else I should know?
Thanks in advance for any help or links.


Dees  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:48
English to French
+ ...
Link to an article + you could post in the French forum May 3, 2006

Hi Gruffalo,

Great news, you must be looking forward to a possible new start in France (apart from the paperwork...)! I hope it does happen. If it doesn't, then you will have taken the right decision!icon_wink.gif

I suggest you also post your message on the French forum here on Proz because you may get more responses and there are loads of great people participating on that forum who could answer your questions.

Link to the French forum:

Also, I have found this article for you in the Article Knowledge Database:

Bonne lecture et bon courage!icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2006-05-03 21:29]


French to English
SFT runs regular workshops on this subject May 4, 2006

Hi Gruffalo,
You should check out the website of the SFT -- French translators' association -- at For the past two years it has been running Saturday morning sessions every few months on precisely this topic (there are two parts: "Réussir son installation comme traducteur indépendant" and "Recherche de clientèle").
The next session is on May 20 in the Paris area (a few places left, not many); there will then be a pause over the summer months, and another workshop in Sept-Oct.
The SFT also publishes a guide to setting up as a translator in France. You can order it online for EUR 15 ("Vade-mécum du traducteur") on the SFT site.
Chris Durban (Paris)


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