How do we get paid?
Thread poster: Liliana Benitez-Strange

Liliana Benitez-Strange
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sep 13, 2002

I\'m new to the freelance business and I\'m wondering how the more seasoned translators ensure they receive payment for services rendered? Do you require a deposit and then the balance upon completion of the project? How is the money transaction handled? Do you have clients wire you the funds? Mail them? Sorry if these seem like retarded questions, but like I said...I\'m new to the freelance arena.



Portuguese to English
+ ...
I'm new here too :) Sep 27, 2002

Hi, Liliana! I have experience in my country (Brazil) with translations and I\'m just starting it here in the States (moved here 2 years ago). Please, allow me to make your doubts mine too. I hope our friends here will reply to your message - I have the same questions. You see, in Brazil we can\'t send checks in the mail... I suppose a deposit in our bank account would be the most used procedure? Can someone give us a hand here? Thank you! icon_smile.gif


Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:34
English to German
+ ...
A few pointers Sep 27, 2002


My personal experience won\'t help you much, I\'m afraid - I predominantly work for banks, exchanges and major financial services providers; getting paid is usually only an issue of \"when\", not \"if\". (Having said that, I recently had the \"pleasure\" of attending a creditors\' meeting - whoever said banks can\'t go bust...)

That said, I recently had a job where I required a 40% deposit at the start of the project. The client obliged, but only after some toing and froing, and my suggestion that I invoice the end client (whom I knew). IOW whether you\'ll succeed in getting an upfront payment will depend on how strong your position is vis-à-vis your client - no good news if you\'re new to the market.

To find forum discussions regarding different payment modes, search the forums for \"PayPal\", \"ProZ wallet\", and probably \"payment\" in general.

It will obviously be important to find out in advance if a prospective client is known for prompt payment (or otherwise). In addition to the \"Blue Board\" on ProZ (note that it\'s only fully transparent for Platinum members - other members \"pay\" BrowniZ for access), there are several lists, such as TCR or the PP list (again, search the forums for details).

Hope that helps a bit...


Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:34
Latvian to English
+ ...
Ensure you get something in writing! Oct 3, 2002

I don\'t know what is standard practice throughout the world, but certainly in the UK (where I have gained most of my experience) I have always insisted on getting a purchase order from the client/agency before I start an assignment. This is basically a contract between you and the client and it should therefore contain information on what (and when) they will pay you for your work. Like I said, I don\'t know if this is standard practice throughout the world, but I\'ve had no problems getting UK clients to issue something of this nature.


Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:34
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Methods of payment Nov 7, 2002

I haven\'t had a great deal of experience regarding methods of payment, as I tend to keep the same customers all the time. However, when I did my first ever job, I recall that I did not know what to do to get paid. I thought it was like a normal job, and the person would automatically pay you. Then I realised after a while that nobody was going to pay me for that job until I sent them an invoice. I had already sent the translation back at the time by e-mail. I did not even know how to design an invoice, but I just took a bill that somebody sent me and copied the layout. It seemed to work. I live in Germany, and here it seems that you have to always put your bank account number and bank code, as well as account name, at the bottom of the invoice, along with a line requesting payment within 30 days. Then the money just arrives a month later in your bank account. Nobody ever sends a cheque in the post here.

I do not think it a good idea to work for somebody outside your own country. I did that for the first time this summer and received a cheque about 3 months later, but had to pay my bank 15 Euros in order to have it credited to my account.

I think the best way to get the money internationally is probably via PayPal.


Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:34
English to German
+ ...
Don't forget the tax issues... Nov 7, 2002


I have no idea what sort of business volumes you do, but at some point you may want to contact a tax advisor regarding VAT registration (as a first step, check out the info given by our \"supreme taxman\" - you could even ask your local Finanzamt, although TBH I wouldn\'t go there unless required icon_smile.gif).

Also, following the recent enactment of EU regulations in Germany, you are now required to show your tax number (not your VAT ID if you have one) on each invoice.


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