How do I create an invoice?
Thread poster: Muiris Ó Fiannachta

Muiris Ó Fiannachta
Local time: 18:35
Irish to English
+ ...
Oct 25, 2004

I realise that this must be a pretty ridiculous query, but I've just completed my first freelance job, and have been asked by the client to send him an invoice. As I'm completely new to this, I don't really know where to start. Would a normal Word document suffice or should I use some other programme to create an invoice, and what specific details need to be included?
Thanks for your help.


Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:35
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Congrats Oct 25, 2004

Congratulations, first job completed and being asked to send an invoice. You should be happy.

What does your client want? A lot depends on the answer to this question.
I normally just send a word document (normally by email, by surface mail only if required) that is made up of the following data:
My address,
my tax id

Client address
client tax id

Invoice number
Invoice date,

service provided
Translation or proofreading
file name(s) of file(s)processed
word count of processed files
invoice amount calculation (Words X price/word)
(VAT amount if required,) and Total

my bank details (or Paypal/Moneybrookers etc)
IBAN and BIC for international customers

Thanks and pleasure to work with you etc.

I wish you that writing invoices will soon be a routine job for you and that all customers are going to pay you in time



German to English
I only send invoices as word document Oct 25, 2004

Don't worry, nothing ridiculous about just starting out.
I always send pretty basic MS Word invoices, saving them with file names that reflect the date and name of company (so I can find them quickly and keep on top of who should have paid me by now etc.). I'll send you a sample invoice by email in a few minutes.
Working for companies abroad, especially in Spain, I often ask them to send me a sample of good invoice they've received from a translator so that I can see what specific information they may need (Spain likes lots of info on invoices).


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:35
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
pdf Oct 25, 2004

I create the invoices in word and "print" them using pdf995. Then I send them as mail attachments. The advantage of pdf is, that one cannot change the content and the date stays the same. All invoices are numbered sequentially.
It's best to send invoices all together once a month, it saves time on both sides, and it's easier to follow up.
Do not forget to mention both "Zahlungsziel" and "Verzugszinsen" on every invoice.
Good luck!


Muiris Ó Fiannachta
Local time: 18:35
Irish to English
+ ...
Thanks! Oct 25, 2004

Thank you all for your help and your kind words. Sarmb, I had agreed an hourly rate with the client via email prior to commencement of the job, and he simply asked for an invoice (nothing more specific than that) once I sent him the finished translation along with details of the time taken to complete it and the total sum to be payed. Would it be seen as unprofessional of me if I were to ask him directly what details he was looking for, or would this be acceptable? Thanks again to you all for your assistance.


Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:35
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Asking is professional Oct 26, 2004

I might have a different view on things, but..
Most of my direct clients had been working with other translators in the past. And one comment I always hear from new clients is:
"You are the first one that has questions. All the others took the text, went away, came back handed over the translation and a huge bill and the result was unusable".
For me it is normal to stay in contact, ask how they define certain terms, what they mean, and what they want on the invoices. I have now been working with some of these clients since 1992.

Hourly rate, fine, just multiply the hours with your rate. Ask if you are not sure. In my opinion it is not at all unprofessional if you ask things. If you do not want to ask your client, ask your tax adviser (If you don't have one, find one).


Alison Schwitzgebel
Local time: 19:35
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Ask what details are required in Spain Oct 26, 2004

I agree that asking questions is not unprofessional - the only stupid question is the one you don't ask.

You could ask your client about what specific invoice details are required in Spain - telling him that this is the first time you've invoiced a client in Spain (never mind this being the first time you've invoiced anyone anywhere!icon_wink.gif )

Things you want to make sure you include:

The client's full name and address
Your full name and address (and telephone and e-mail)
The invoice date
The reference number (client's job number or details of the job)
The number of hours
The rate per hour
The total amount
Your bank account details or details of where to send the check.

In Germany they also make you include things like a consecutive invoice number, date of delivery (if in a different month to the date of the invoice), your tax number etc. I don't know if they need these details in Spain too.




Muiris Ó Fiannachta
Local time: 18:35
Irish to English
+ ...
Not a Spanish job actually Oct 26, 2004

The client was actually American in this case, but I can certainly use all that information and just apply it to the U.S.
You've been very helpful, thanks again!


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