Potentially helpful advice for (newly qualified) translators
Thread poster: Anne Key

Anne Key
Local time: 22:26
Dutch to English
+ ...
Nov 24, 2007

Hello all,

I recently had some problems with a late payment (see "Payment problems, sorry, bit of a rant") and thought it might be useful to offer some advice to (would-be/newly qualified) translators.

1) Before accepting an assignment, always ask for a Purchase Order. Reputable, professional outsourcers will include their payment terms and conditions (my best client always adds the following in big bold neon letters: "Your invoice will be paid within 10 days")

2) Make sure you have the full contact details of the outsourcer, including address, telephone numbers etc (in case you need to enlist the services of a debt collection agency).

(In my case, the agency had relocated without leaving their new address details - fortunately I managed to trace their new address).

3) Perhaps most importantly:
Irrespective of how "urgent" an assignment is, make sure you are NOT put under any pressure to accept it before you have agreed - IN WRITING - to the rates and payment terms, and are 100% certain - for litigation purposes, if nothing else - that you are competent/qualified to undertake the work by the agreed deadline (i.e. the subject matter is in your specialist field).

4) When submitting your invoice, remember to include your terms and conditions at the bottom of your invoice (including e.g. "surcharge for late payment").
Also include your full bank details, including sort code, account number, IBAN number etc.

The classic mistake I made in this case was to accept an "urgent assignment" without agreeing upon a payment deadline in writing.

I thought I would be "safe", as I had been working for this particular agency for almost 7 years...

I hope this advice is of some use and doesn't come across as patronising

If anyone would like to add more information, please feel free to do so!

All the best,


[Edited at 2007-11-24 15:01]

[Edited at 2007-11-24 15:02]

[Edited at 2007-11-24 20:18]

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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:26
Italian to English
Agree Nov 25, 2007

All very valid advice Anne. I would just add that trust also comes into it. My longest standing and most regular client agency doesn't do purchase orders.
But it pays to recognise that every client (like every freelancer) is only as trustworthy as their last job.
Something you don't mention is the potential new client that makes first contact with the offer of a job by phone, Skype or MSN. A high proportion of these, I subsequently find, have a poor rating on the Blue Board or othe payment practice sites. You must give yourself time to check these before making any commitment.

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