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Poll: What percentage of your clients is in your country of residence?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 22:09
SITE STAFF
Nov 7, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What percentage of your clients is in your country of residence?".

This poll was originally submitted by Viktoria Gimbe

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
defining percentage and local Nov 7, 2006

2 of my clients are foreign, but 1 accounts for 30% of my work. How do I count that? The work far outweighs their numbers.

Local as 'in your own country' will also be very different for people in large countries, where local is often defined as 'in state' or even 'in the same city'. 50% of my US clients are in state: some of them have specifically said that they wanted a 'local' translator. The others are quite scattered well beyond easy driving distance, ie, more than 12 hrs away.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:09
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I expect it depends a lot on which country you live in Nov 7, 2006

I voted "86% - 99%". In Germany there is a massive amount of translation work available, so I do not need to look any further. I also like my customers to be within the country, as it minimises business risk - I know what to do if they don't feel like paying, however would not know what to do about clients abroad who decided not to pay.

The small percentage of my clients outside Germany are - except for one - in Austria and Switzerland.

Astrid


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:09
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
About half and half Nov 7, 2006

I had 11 clients this year, of which 6 were in the US and 5 were from abroad, BUT I got many more jobs from overseas -- lots of little ones. The big jobs (this year, at least) have mainly come from 2 clients in the US.

Every year it's a different story!


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:09
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Is this like counting client folders? Nov 7, 2006

That's hardly representative of business -- but perhaps the poll wasn't mean to be.

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:09
English to French
+ ...
The question behind the poll Nov 7, 2006

I was not looking to discover how much business a translator gets from outside of the country, but rather to see, regardless of how much work/money it would represent, whether or not translators prefer to work in their own country or outside.

There can be various reasons for a translator to consider this factor - one of them, and I guess the most popular one, is taxes. There are also many translators who prefer working in their own country simply because of timezones. So, I was looking to measure this.

By the way, by local, I meant in your own country, whether it be in your town or not. To me, it is obvious - I think it's a matter of not trying to analyze those words too much.

So far, it looks like the bulk of most people's clients are outside of the country. Now, what would be interesting to know is why.

I save taxes on work outside of the country and it makes a BIG difference. I also find that agencies in certain countries pay better and are better at project management, which is a major advantage for me. It doesn't profit me financially, but it does make life much easier.

I answered 1 to 15%. I only work with a few clients in Canada because they are great clients and I appreciate their business as well as the people behind it. Otherwise, I appreciate my clients in the US, in Israel and in the Dominican Republic best, for a variety of reasons. I prefer working outside of Canada.


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
A key factor: the exchange rate Nov 8, 2006

Only about 1/3 of my current clients are here in the U.S., but that seems to fluctuate over time depending on how strong the dollar is as compared to other currencies in any given year.

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:09
English to French
+ ...
Exchange rates Nov 8, 2006

Steven, I totally see where you're coming from. When the Canadian dollar got stronger, I felt a little sorry for myself. But then again, it's my own currency that got stronger and not foreign currency that got weaker, so there's still nothing I can do about it.



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Pundora  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 10:39
English to Hindi
+ ...
None as on date. Nov 8, 2006

I agree with Astrid who said it depends on which country you live in. I'd also like to add that the situation may keep changing for an individual translator, substantially. For example, just two weeks back nine out of my ten clients were from my country. Today hundred per cent of my clients(Total five clients for the time being) are from other countries(of course, as I perceive today). The reason is I suddenly received calls from clients abroad who offered to pay far better rates(in comparison to the very low rates offered by local clients) and also the very important fact for me that they have agreed to pay me through bank cheques. Am I going to burn my fingers? I hope for the best. I am assuming that at least 80 percent of them are honest.

Regards,

Pundora


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:09
Italian to English
Taxes? Nov 8, 2006

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

There can be various reasons for a translator to consider this factor - one of them, and I guess the most popular one, is taxes.
...

I save taxes on work outside of the country and it makes a BIG difference.



Lucky you.

I'd have to check this with my accountant but AFAICS, the only difference is that I don't have to charge Value Added Tax, for which I only act as a collector for the Italian government anyway.

For me, the advantages of working with non-domestic European and US clients are that rates tend to be higher, or at least comparable to the top end of the Italian market, and collection times are generally shorter, considerably so in many cases.

As Astrid says, there is the credit risk to consider but if you do a small first job and that goes well, this usually shrinks to around zero before too long.

FWIW

Giles


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xxxPaul Roige
Spain
Local time: 07:09
English to Spanish
+ ...
On saving tax? Nov 8, 2006

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I save taxes on work outside of the country and it makes a BIG difference.


Viktoria, how is this miracle performed? Are Canadian laws that cool... or loopholed?
I ask out of curiosity, as I've been punished like a criminal for bringing money from overseas. One would have expected it was doing the country a favour, but what do they care, apparently.
Nein, Tax Dept gets greedy and expects you to earn the same amount every year, so they make you pay quarterly in advance whether you work / earn it or otherwise. They return any excess tax later on, if lucky, but the damage has already been done... and they keep the interest, of course.
Thank you
Paul


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 08:09
Turkish to English
+ ...
Local rates are low Nov 8, 2006

In my case I live in Cyprus as an expatriate and work almost exclusively for agencies in the UK and USA. Translation rates in Cyprus are low, on top of which there are very close-knit social and family relations here that make it hard for outsiders to enter local markets of any kind. Another significant factor is that I live in the south of the island where Greek is spoken, and this is not one of my working languages. Potential clients in the Turkish-speaking north, even if it is 50 kilometres away, are unlikely to commission work from somebody living in the south for political reasons. None of my marketing efforts are thus targeted at local clients and until two months ago I had never received a single inquiry from a local source. Translation is now a truly globalised activity and you can work from anywhere where there is a phone line. Interestingly, I have been working on a book translation for the University of Cyprus, i.e. my first local client, for the past two months, so perhaps this a harbinger of change!

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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:09
French to English
+ ...
taxes? Nov 8, 2006

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

There can be various reasons for a translator to consider this factor - one of them, and I guess the most popular one, is taxes.
...

I save taxes on work outside of the country and it makes a BIG difference.

I don't understand - should I move to Canada? I pay tax on income earned, whether from the UK or overseas - tax is payable on the sterling amount that enters my account.

{looks up Canadian immigration website}


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:09
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Uhm... Nov 8, 2006

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

I was not looking to discover how much business a translator gets from outside of the country, but rather to see, regardless of how much work/money it would represent, whether or not translators prefer to work in their own country or outside.


Then I'll pass up this poll. It's too much of a quandary. It's not a matter of preference to me -- all clients who meet my requirements are equal.

However, by the expedient of file-counting, I guess I can say 25% of my clients are outside the country where I live.

By the way, by local, I meant in your own country, whether it be in your town or not. To me, it is obvious - I think it's a matter of not trying to analyze those words too much.


Living under the same conditions as Giles, the Argonaut, and Angela, I rather think we could consider the EU as one locality in this sense -- every year tax controls get more and more stringent between Member States. It's fiscally like living in one and the same country. Every year you virtually (even if not directly) declare the VAT number of who you worked for and what you earned from it, and the VAT number of who you bought from and what you paid.


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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:09
French to English
+ ...
Do tell! Nov 8, 2006

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

I save taxes on work outside of the country and it makes a BIG difference. I also find that agencies in certain countries pay better and are better at project management, which is a major advantage for me. It doesn't profit me financially, but it does make life much easier.


Viktoria, you've got this Canadian translator's curiosity piqued! How do you save on taxes on work outside of the country? Is there a loophole I'm not familiar with? When I freelanced in Canada for French clients, I still had to declare the income earned on my Canadian taxes...
Maybe it's time for me to move back home!


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