What method do most linguists outside the US prefer to be paid via?
Thread poster: Linguava

Linguava
United States
Local time: 07:49
Feb 17, 2016

This topic continues being a touchy subject with US and IRS laws and how they change in regards to independent contractors. We at Linguava want to work closely with our linguists to facilitate the payment process. So we pose 2 questions:

- What method do you use when working with other translation agencies in the United States?
- Do you feel this method could be improved by using a 3rd party payment app/service like PayPal?


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Serena Basili  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 16:49
English to Italian
+ ...
Payment methods Feb 18, 2016

Hello,
I'm not one of your linguists (feel free to contact me whenever you need an Italian native speaker, though!) but from what I understand - and from my personal experience as well - the preferred payment method is bank transfer. PayPal (and the like) is not very much appreciated due to the high percentage of money that the company holds for the service and the exchange rates.

EDIT: As to the methods used with US-based agencies, I can't tell since I don't have any client in the USA at the moment.

Hope this helps you!

[Edited at 2016-02-18 13:11 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:49
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
My 2 cents Feb 18, 2016

Linguava wrote:
- What method do you use when working with other translation agencies in the United States?

Sometimes by PayPal but most often by wire transfer. Several agencies are happy to do this now.
- Do you feel this method could be improved by using a 3rd party payment app/service like PayPal?

Not for me, no. PayPal charges commission for all receipts, gives an extremely poor rate of exchange, has additional security for users who receive more than a certain amount in a year, and is known for freezing accounts without prior warning. I'm happy to receive the odd small amount by PayPal. I keep dollar payments in dollars (even though my PayPal account's main currency is the euro), and spend them when I see something online that's priced in dollars. But I wouldn't want to receive much that way.

This topic continues being a touchy subject with US and IRS laws and how they change in regards to independent contractors.

Can you share what the legal problems are? I thought it was just because US banks are still so attached to their old-fashioned paper cheques, and the tellers in the branches don't want to lose their jobs.


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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:49
English to French
+ ...
Bank tellers???!!! Feb 18, 2016

Right you are, they don't want to lose their jobs!

But they have no say in the matterr. Wrong target.

Sheila Wilson wrote:
... tellers in the branches don't want to lose their jobs.


[Edited at 2016-02-18 13:28 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-02-18 13:28 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:49
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Bank transfer every time Feb 18, 2016

JL01 wrote:

Right you are, they don't want to lose their jobs!

But they have no say in the matterr. Wrong target.

Sheila Wilson wrote:
... tellers in the branches don't want to lose their jobs.


[Edited at 2016-02-18 13:28 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-02-18 13:28 GMT]


I wouldn't touch PayPal with a pair of *mint* surgical tweezers. Here's why:

http://www.paypalwarning.com

Direct electronic bank-to-bank transfer is preferable to every other method.

However I work almost exclusively with European agencies and within the EU, bank transfer is very easy.

The last time I worked with a US-based agency I had to accept payment in USD by a cheque sent to me by snail mail. That's not so good, not least because when it arrived, I had to physically take it to the bank to pay it in. This would dissuade me from working with agencies based in the US no matter how nice you are as people !

[Edited at 2016-02-18 14:16 GMT]


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:49
French to German
+ ...
Banktransfer Feb 18, 2016

I do only accept banktransfer in € and French cheques.

[Modifié le 2016-02-18 13:46 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:49
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
But why else is it as it is? Feb 18, 2016

JL01 wrote:
Right you are, they don't want to lose their jobs!

But they have no say in the matterr. Wrong target.
Sheila Wilson wrote:
... tellers in the branches don't want to lose their jobs.

I'm sure you're right, but I'm at a loss to come up with any better reason for the US not switching to electronic banking. It seems so odd for a country that's so advanced in so many other ways.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 16:49
English to Croatian
+ ...
Wire transfer (most favorable). Feb 18, 2016

- What method do you use when working with other translation agencies in the United States?

If I can choose, definitely wire transfer. The transaction fee is not even that high if the client has good system of choosing the favorable route (honestly, I don't know how they do it, but I was surprised at how low the fee can sometimes be).

- Do you feel this method could be improved by using a 3rd party payment app/service like PayPal?

In regards with PayPal: absolutely not, a big NO. I do have a few U.S. clients insisting on PayPal, but I really don't like PayPal. I even dropped a few clients because they were insisting on PayPal. It's extremely slow, charges enormous fees (4-5 different fees: reception fee, exchange fee, withdrawal fee), it's completely unsafe (their phantom Customer Service is non-existing, so if there is any kind of issue, you will not be assisted at all, etc). Some other services I am not aware of perhaps, but not PayPal.


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Álvaro Espantaleón  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:49
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Transferwise Feb 18, 2016

It seems reliable and it is quite cheap.

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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:49
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Agree Feb 18, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:

- Do you feel this method could be improved by using a 3rd party payment app/service like PayPal?

Not for me, no. PayPal charges commission for all receipts, gives an extremely poor rate of exchange ...


This. Total costs for such a payment through PayPal might well exceed 7-8%. Of course, if you were to bear such costs yourselves, that would be somewhat more viable. However, an international wire transfer (without additional charges) would probably be the best solution. AFAIK, there are specialized US companies that do just that, handling both conversion and payment in the payee's currency.

[Edited at 2016-02-18 14:36 GMT]


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JL01  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:49
English to French
+ ...
US banking regulations Feb 18, 2016

That is a very good question. And, believe me, there are plenty of other ways in which the USA is not advanced at all.

top off my head: train travel; road and railroad infrastructure maintenance (can anyone mention a single other developed country where major bridges collapse with a sickening regularity?); telephone service (land lines and mobile); health care (and/or health insurance); automotive (US car manufacturers are lagging behind basically every other car manufacturer); etc.

To remain in the financial industry, smart bank cards are only starting to be available, and the small portable payment terminals that European stores and restaurants have been using for at least 25 years are still a rare novelty in the USA.

It seems to me that any US bank employee who can both read and write is automatically appointed vice-president.

Sheila Wilson wrote:

JL01 wrote:
Right you are, they don't want to lose their jobs!

But they have no say in the matterr. Wrong target.
Sheila Wilson wrote:
... tellers in the branches don't want to lose their jobs.

I'm sure you're right, but I'm at a loss to come up with any better reason for the US not switching to electronic banking. It seems so odd for a country that's so advanced in so many other ways.


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
TransferWise Feb 18, 2016

Alvaro Espantaleon wrote:
TransferWise.
It seems reliable and it is quite cheap.


You beat me to it. I spoke to them a couple of days ago, and they said they've made it easier to transfer money out of the US. The main issue is the limited number of countries they presently support.

As others have said, PayPal is way too expensive and causes a lot of problems.


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Laura Kingdon  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:49
Member (2015)
French to English
+ ...
Bank transfer Feb 18, 2016

I do accept Paypal for smaller jobs, but I'm usually being paid in US dollars, which are easier to spend online, so I don't have to deal with their awful exchange rates. If I were being hit by both high transfer fees AND atrocious exchange rates, I wouldn't accept Paypal at all. It's also impossible for me to get actual money from my Paypal account since I can't get a Paypal debit card as a non-American and I can't link my Paypal account to a bank account, which is a long story I won't get into.

My bank takes about $10 per transfer, so it's very much worth using that method for any significant amounts of money.


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Linguava
United States
Local time: 07:49
TOPIC STARTER
Excellent info. What about TransferWise? Feb 18, 2016

Thank you everyone for the amazing information and your thoughts on Paypal vs. wire transfers.

As a company based in the U.S. we definitely want to make it as easy as possible for our international translators and accounting team to handle, process and receive payments. We definitely are compiling a new solution as we appreciate all the hard work put into projects by our linguists. Wire transfers can however include lots of fees so this might not be the right solution, especially for small projects.

If you have used TransferWise, what has been your experience? This is one solution we're strongly looking into.

[Edited at 2016-02-18 18:46 GMT]


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Rita Pang  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:49
Member (2011)
Chinese to English
+ ...

Moderator of this forum
Payoneer Feb 18, 2016

As Canadian, my bank allows me to withdraw USD via PayPal with no charge. i.e. upon receipt of USD into my USD account with my Canadian bank, I don't pay ANY fees whatsoever. This is why so far PayPal has been working well for me, as I can withdraw USD in cash and then exchange it into whichever currency I want, which works out well.

Additionally, for my US clients, PayPal (or US cheques) are the cheapest for them in terms of issuing payment to their translators.

That being said, PayPal does charge an insane amount of transaction fees. I've started using Payoneer last month and their fees are much more reasonable.


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