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Hiring a first employee - How?
Thread poster: BabelOn-line

BabelOn-line
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
English to French
+ ...
Nov 25, 2009

Hello All!

I run a translation business in the UK and, after 10 years in the business, things are doing reasonably well.

I am now too busy to carry on translating (Eng into French) and managing other language projects, so I now need to get more hands on the deck.

"Hiring" is a bit of a misnomer here are my guess is that i can only afford a freelancer, at least initially. The point is to have someone who can receive all incoming new jobs, quote them using a price list, provide a delivery date and pass the jobs on to our regular freelancers.

My initial idea would be to find a young translator - who would be working from home but not having regular volumes of work coming.

Has anyone "been there before"? How would you go about it? What kind of retainer / hourly rates would you expect to pay?

Thank you for your input!

Have a great day.

Jean-Louis



[Edited at 2009-11-25 14:29 GMT]


 

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:40
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Talk to your local employment office, a local tax consultant or an attorney Nov 25, 2009

The relationship you describe sounds like employment, and you'd better be very careful before trying to define it as a freelance relationship. That can get you boiled alive by the authorities in some countries.

BTW, you are the outsourcer here.

I suggest talking to your in-country agency contacts, but before you do anything, research the matter with local authorities, a tax consultant and possibly an attorney (especially with regard to any contracts). This is not a forum I would rely on for safe advice on such matters.


 

BabelOn-line
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Nov 25, 2009

Hello Kevin

Thanks for your answer. Yes, i guess that's really this forum is probably not the best place to post, but that's fine – I am just dipping my toes at the moment.

You are right to emphasize the legal and technical aspect - and the potential pitfalls, but that is indeed something we will get carefully vetted before making any move.

What i was hoping for was to find someone who already went down that route and would have ideas about the relevant profiles / where to look for. Else, yes, there is always the job center.

Thanks for your input!


 

Libero_Lang_Lab  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
advice Nov 25, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:

The relationship you describe sounds like employment, and you'd better be very careful before trying to define it as a freelance relationship. That can get you boiled alive by the authorities in some countries.

BTW, you are the outsourcer here.

I suggest talking to your in-country agency contacts, but before you do anything, research the matter with local authorities, a tax consultant and possibly an attorney (especially with regard to any contracts). This is not a forum I would rely on for safe advice on such matters.



Kevin is right, I think. This is probably not the best place for professional advice in this sphere, though you may get some good insights from others in the UK.

Can I recommend a website called taxmatters for starters - some good forums there, with advice from professional beancounters and number-crunchers.

I'd also recommend speaking to your local brance of the Federation of Small Businesses and the local business enterprise scheme.

I'd be interested in swapping notes with you as I'm in a remarkably similar position to you, by the sound of it.


 

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:40
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Stepping carefully Nov 25, 2009

Employment law in the countries I am familiar with undergoes so many minor changes each year that even if my own brother had taken the path before me I would be very careful about following in his footsteps exactly. What was valid three years ago might no longer be relevant, though general advice like "look for an intern who has recently graduated from college" might be OK in most places. How you pay that intern is a matter of local law.

Maybe you have two issues here:

1) The all-important technical issues of legality and taxes and

2) the equally important challenge of finding a suitable candidate

Get #1 sorted out first so you don't cause trouble for yourself and your chosen candidate.


 

Susan van den Ende  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:40
English to Dutch
+ ...
Look at what you would like Nov 25, 2009

Congrats on the expansion!

It seems like you're really looking for a PM rather than a translator. So, take a look at the PMs you work with yourself. Which ones do you like? Why? Any qualities that they have in common?

Then look at the skills you use yourself when you are outsourcing rather than translating. What do you miss? Is it merely an extra hand you're looking for, or would you like to get someone on board who also adds something else? A language you don't master perhaps, software skills, negotiation or sales skills...?

Depending on your specific situation and ambitions, you'll be looking for different types of people, who will probably have their own different price tags as well as ideas about the manner of employment. So I'd say, first find out exactly what you want, as the admin questions also depend on that.


 

BabelOn-line
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again! Nov 25, 2009

Thx for your input, Susan, Kevin and Dan.

That all makes sense and it is reassuring that your answers seem to point in the same direction.

My idea is to get someone as a freelance initially, possibly hiring this very person on a permanent basis after a few months. It is true, as Susan points it out, that i do not need a translator per se. However, i found that in my experience (at least in the UK), people with little or no exposure to languages don't understand at all the underlying logic of translation. Hence the idea of finding a young linguist.

Thanks all for your help.

Warm regards,

Jean-Louis


 

Tasshaa Springord
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
English to Amharic
+ ...
Service offered Nov 25, 2009

Hi Jean-Louis,

Congratulations on your success!

I am non-French speaker but have enough time to add other responsiblities to my freelance translation work which is a bit quiet for my language pair.

Please let me know if you would like to discuss the matter further.

Regards,

Tsehay


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
Italian to English
Accountant Nov 25, 2009

Hi Jean-Louis

This may not be entirely relevant but my daughter took on her first assistant a year ago (she has a beauty salon).
Her accountant handles all her employment issues, including advice on employment law. Worth asking perhaps.

Best of luck.


 

BabelOn-line
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Shita Nov 25, 2009

We will definitely contact you when we start the selection process.

In the mean time, best of luck with the business

Jean-Louis


 

Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 00:40
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
My experience Nov 25, 2009

Hi Jean-Louis

I'm going to focus on the other aspect of the situation, the Human side.

When I decided to work with someone else I was compelled by our laws to hire. I started by part-time.

I didn't look for a translator but I wanted a multilingual person.
I found a great guy, focused on marketing which was a good and unexpected skill.
Two problems raised with him: 1) the ethics side: he could promise a client impossible things or lower the rates just for having the deal (lowering the translators’ too) or even ask for tests for potential jobs promising the translators that if the test was good there would be work for at least x years.
Although he was successful and had very good contact skills, it didn’t match my needs.
He was offered a full time job in a new company and very quickly he was one member of the Board.

My second experience was with a young translator. The problem was her lack of experience. When there was a 100 words URGENT translation she forwarded it to the translators saying “this is urgent, can you send it back within 48 hours, please? (I might be exaggerating a little bit the deadline, but that’s the idea). Also, if there was a complaint, for her this wasn’t important, the client was unkind.

I finally found the right person, we have been working together for two years now, and I can tell you the skills I appreciate in her. Note that this is not what I was looking for, I just discovered what was important afterwards.
I had always looked for a French speaking person, because many of my clients are in France. In fact this was not so important.

One day, I had a huge and very special project which required to read several pages of instructions for short translations and I could notice that many translators don’t read instructions, even if you highlight that they are a key factor to do a good job. The per word rate was very good but the work was time consuming. When they noticed this some decided to quit the project, others didn’t quit but kept complaining. This job offered the possibility of earning a lot once you got used to it. The translator who is now my partner understood that and got used to it. As she finished I could give her more work, those who worked quickly could have more and more. She did it until the end of the project, afterwards I had to check the work and asked her if she wanted to help me, and I felt supported and helped. During that week we slept very few hours but we did a great job together.
I’d say that the first qualities I noticed in her were:
- she trusted me
- in tough moments she would help me without complaining
- she understood (and read) instructions
- she knew the translation field and had translation experience as a freelance and working in companies (this was very useful for me, because I had never worked in a company).
Later I noticed that I could also trust her because of her values (honest, fair, hard worker). She always tries to be unbiased when talking about a client or a translator, which is interesting for me.
As we work in the same office it’s also good that our temperaments go well together and that she accepts the “office” as it is: with dogs and teens. I have the feeling that she likes it.
I was going to forget two important details: she has more head than me and reminds me of meetings or deadlines and she doesn't mind working with figures and doing the internal accounts, which are a nightmare for me.

I think that for finding the right person you must know your priorities, you must know yourself and you need a lot of good luck, which I wish you.

Claudia


 

BabelOn-line
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Russell Nov 25, 2009

Yes, the accountant seems like the first port of call, many Prozians recommend tit as a starting point.

I will get in touch with mine.

Thanks for your input.

Best regards

Jean-Louis


 

urbom
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
German to English
+ ...
HMRC & Businesslink sites Nov 25, 2009

There is lots of information available on the HMRC (formerly Inland Revenue) and Businesslink sites.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/index.htm
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/paye/employees/start-leave/new-employee.htm
See particularly the factsheet entitled "Are your workers employed or
self-employed for tax and National Insurance contributions": http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/leaflets/es-fs2.pdf

HMRC holds free informational events around the country:
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/bst/advice-team-events/work1.htm

Businesslink's section on "Employing People":
http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?r.s=tl&r.lc=en&topicId=1073858787


 

BabelOn-line
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Claudia Nov 25, 2009

This is precisely the sort of answer i was hoping for, and your examples highlight many pitfalls. That's really great, thanks a bunch!

 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:40
Italian to English
+ ...
Translation students Nov 25, 2009

Have you considered contacting universities offering BA/MAs in Translation? You may be able to find someone who would welcome the opportunity to be in at the start of your venture, maybe even while completing their studies.
Good luck
Suzi


 
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