US translator's first job with agency in Spain - help?
Thread poster: Steven Battisti

Steven Battisti  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:24
Japanese to English
Dec 21, 2004

Hi, I'm a U.S.-based translator doing work for a Spanish agency for the first time. They want to pay my by direct transfer to my bank account.

So, silly question - is it "safe" to just go e-mailing my account information? Or do you typically get that information to an agency through another mechanism?

I've reviewed the blue board for this firm, and everyone has been very positive.

Also, when you receive transfers in the U.S., are they typically subject to bank charges or other fees that you are aware of?

Thanks,

Steve Battisti


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ntext  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:24
Member
German to English
+ ...
Banking Dec 21, 2004

I don't think there should be a problem if you email your account info. (If you're really paranoid, you can always take a screenshot of your account info and send it as an image.)

You have to ask your US bank whether they charge for incoming wire transfers; some do, some don't.

Your client will almost definitely incur a charge for sending the money. Some translation agencies have the nasty habit of subtracting their bank fee from your pay; if you don't want this to happen, you should either make it clear beforehand that you expect the client to cover his own bank fee, or charge more for your translation than you would otherwise in order to compensate for the bank fee.


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xxx00000000
English to French
+ ...
IBAN & Swift Dec 21, 2004

Ask your bank for an IBAN (International Bank Account Number), a Swift number and a routing number. That's what's needed for the European agency to send you money.

The IBAN will be made up of:

3 digits for the institution's code
7 digits for your account
5 digits for your branch's code

When I was first asked for my account info I had the same reaction as you, so I gave the number of a bank account with just a few dollars in it.

Everything works fine now. I can't tell you about the U.S. bank charges because I do this with my Canadian bank.

Best,
Esther


[Edited at 2004-12-21 19:15]


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Todd Field  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:24
Member (2003)
Portuguese to English
Consider PayPal or MoneyBookers Dec 22, 2004

Hi Steven,

Because of my language pairs I've worked for a number of agencies based in Spain. Generally, I have found that PayPal and MoneyBookers are a better alternative to bank transfers since:

1. Transaction fees are much lower
2. Payment is immediate
3. There is no need to even discuss who is responsible for paying transfer fees
4. Many U.S. banks will struggle to tell you their own IBAN number (I know mine did), potentially causing a bunch of unnecessary correspondence between you and the agency

If you haven't looked into these options yet, they could prove a better choice.

Good luck and happy holidays,

Todd


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ntext  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:24
Member
German to English
+ ...
Paypal Dec 22, 2004

Todd and Monica Field wrote:
1. Transaction fees are much lower


On commercial Paypal accounts, there are fees for receiving money (as well as for currency conversion, if the payment is not in USD). If you can receive wire transfers free of charge on your bank account, then receiving payments via commercial Paypal account is always more expensive.

If you include the payer fees in your equation, then it depends. On smaller payments, the transaction fee may be lower with Paypal, but on larger payments it may be higher.


3. There is no need to even discuss who is responsible for paying transfer fees


That's because the recipient pays them.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:24
English to German
+ ...
Account details are part of your business details Dec 22, 2004

Hi Steven,
So, silly question - is it "safe" to just go e-mailing my account information?

Not a silly question at all, given the predominance of cheque-based payments in the US. In Europe, it's common practice to exchange banking details among business partners; in fact, these are very often printed on company/business stationery.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:24
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Use PayPal Dec 22, 2004

Hi Steven,

I always use PayPal for my clients in Spain and Israel and the fees are reasonable.

I do not exactly remember what my banker charged in fees to receive each wire transfer, but I want to think that it was expensive because that was one of the reasons I opened my PayPal account. I do not have a good experience with Moneybookers.

However, I have not had any problems with PayPal; they are very easy to work with (especially if you are located in the US).

Even though I am not currently located in the US, I bank there.

My bank is Bank of America and they do not use a SWIFT code; they do have an IBAN and their response time for questions is fast, within 24 hours. YOu just go to their website and there is a box for sending emails to customer service. Otherwise, you can just call the 800-number or drop by the bank.

Good luck and happy holidays!

Lucinda


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:24
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ralf put his finger on it Dec 22, 2004

Ralf Lemster wrote:

Not a silly question at all, given the predominance of cheque-based payments in the US. In Europe, it's common practice to exchange banking details among business partners; in fact, these are very often printed on company/business stationery.


It's probably a (corporate) cultural thing. Since intra-European bank transfer rates have become so reasonable now, the process was easily assimilated, and stretching the costs a bit to transfer to the US is no problem.

I'm one of those who have my bank data printed on my invoice sheets. And if the truth be told, I accept check payments, but they're something of a disappointment: the currency has to be changed for a commission, and the overseas clearing process here can take as long as 2 weeks, depending on the other bank.

Even if you billed in dollars, the transfer process assumes that. Normally from Europe, the client pays transfer and costs are minimal now, anyway. But exchange commissions and fees will be up to your bank to charge, the client usually doesn't even know what they'll be on your end.



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