Legal requirements to start an interpreting agency in the UK
Thread poster: KII-NGH

KII-NGH
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:20
English to Urdu
Jul 2, 2015

I am a interpreter in the uk and want to set up my own agency and don't know how to go about doing it i need to know about the legal side of things and also what i should do to begin any advice and help will be welcome thanks you everyone

 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:20
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
I'm not an interpreter but... Jul 2, 2015

As-salam walakum,

I am not an interpreter but I would suggest contacting the Institute of Translation and Interpreting ( http://www.iti.org.uk ) and the Association of Police and Court Interpreters ( http://www.apciinterpreters.org.uk/ ) and asking them for specific advice. You may also want to speak to your local council to see if they have any specific legal requirements.

Of course there is plenty of advice on how to set up a company in the UK, but those two associations and your local council may have more specific advice concerning interpreting.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:20
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Chambers of Commerce Jul 2, 2015

I believe your local Chamber of Commerce will be able to help with all the procedures of setting up and running a company.

 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
The most important question Jul 2, 2015

... is whether you want to set up a limited company, or just act as a sole trader. If you opt for the latter, all you have to do is show the income on your tax return, and register for VAT if necessary.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:20
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Agency sole trader? Jul 2, 2015

philgoddard wrote:
whether you want to set up a limited company, or just act as a sole trader. If you opt for the latter, all you have to do is show the income on your tax return, and register for VAT if necessary.

I think an agency would logically have to be a limited company, wouldn't it? They have quite considerable expenses and liabilities to both suppliers and end clients.


 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Company vs sole-trader Jul 2, 2015

To set up a company in the UK is probably the easiest thing to do. It can be done in three hours (literally speaking).

Business bank account will take longer (mine took two weeks).

Then you will have to learn how to prepare your companies accounts, annual returns, sing up for company tax at HMRC's website (and for PAYE scheme, if you plan to have employees or pay yourself a salary). Failing to do so will entail criminal responsibility of the director as well as the civil one. However, you really have to be at fault to fail delivering those returns, as both Companies House and HMCR will send you several reminders.

If you set up a company today (02 July 2015), your accounting year will end on 31 July 2016. As of that date you will have 9 months to file all your returns and pay tax (private limited companies). So, there is no excuse really, if you cannot do it yourself, hire an accountant (300-400 pounds to file everything).

There are two entities you will be dealing with once a year (all is done online and you can even combine returns to both entities):

1. Companies House
2. HMCR

Financially speaking, under certain (very generous) threshold you will pay 20% of company tax on company's profit. If you pay yourself dividends (make sure you have generated enough profit, otherwise those dividends will be deemed to be a salary), under about 40k pounds you will pay 0% of tax (10% of tax rate cancelled by 10% of tax credit).

I can go forever (still learning), but there is no point. Just make sure to decide to go with the business model that is right for you.

Ah, if your company's annual turnover does not reach about 80k pounds, you will not need to register for VAT (you still can if you want to).

Do not forget, your company is "another person". You cannot just "grab" the money from its account. You will need to either pay yourself dividends, salary or director's loan (and can, of course, claim company-related expenses).

Good luck!


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:20
French to English
Not necessarily Jul 2, 2015

Sheila Wilson wrote:

philgoddard wrote:
whether you want to set up a limited company, or just act as a sole trader. If you opt for the latter, all you have to do is show the income on your tax return, and register for VAT if necessary.

I think an agency would logically have to be a limited company, wouldn't it? They have quite considerable expenses and liabilities to both suppliers and end clients.


I might logically expect the turnover of a business worthy of the name to cross the VAT threshold, but that imposes no obligation to incorporate. You can be either self-employed or a company above or below the VAT threshold.

If you opt for sole tradership, then as Phil says, the admin burden is small, especially below the £81k threshold (not the VAT threshold, but the threshold at which the self-employed have to provide more than 2 figures to HMRC).


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:20
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Interpreting = higher risk Jul 2, 2015

Sole tradership sounds risky to me. Given the language combination and the interpreting aspect, I would expect most of the work with Urdu in the UK to be court/hospital situations, and probably immigration proceedings. The liability of that kind of work is high enough that in my very limited knowledge, it seems incorporating would be safer because then at least the original poster is not personally liable if something goes terribly wrong.

 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:20
French to English
Indeed Jul 2, 2015

Angela Rimmer wrote:

....it seems incorporating would be safer because then at least the original poster is not personally liable if something goes terribly wrong.


In truth there are a number of factors to consider, the advantages of limited liability being just one. Most of this stuff has been covered at length, some of it remarkably recently, and frankly, as soon as the OP has discovered who has stolen their punctuation keys, their first job should be to explore the search functions both on this website, and on Google (or the search engine of choice), some of which should lead to the UK small business forum - invaluable and fascinating - and HMRC itself, Gawd bless it, which does offer a whole load of advice and webinars, and all sorts.

[Edited at 2015-07-02 19:30 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:20
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Sorry; I didn't make myself at all clear Jul 2, 2015

Angela Rimmer wrote:
Sole tradership sounds risky to me.

That's the reason I was expecting readers to guessicon_smile.gif.


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:20
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
I thought you were clear! Jul 2, 2015

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Angela Rimmer wrote:
Sole tradership sounds risky to me.

That's the reason I was expecting readers to guessicon_smile.gif.


I definitely understood and agreed with you! I just didn't understand why everyone was pushing sole tradership as a real option for someone wishing to start an agency providing interpreters -- given the high-stress, high-risk situations interpreters find themselves in, especially the Urdu speaking ones in this country, I personally would not dream of starting an agency operating as a sole trader in that field!


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:20
French to English
Long term vs starting up Jul 2, 2015

Angela Rimmer wrote:

I just didn't understand why everyone was pushing sole tradership as a real option for someone wishing to start an agency providing interpreters -- given the high-stress, high-risk situations interpreters find themselves in, especially the Urdu speaking ones in this country, I personally would not dream of starting an agency operating as a sole trader in that field!


I would agree that in the long-term, it's probably the way to go. For someone starting out, and especially someone who to judge from the brief content in the OP, knows very little about the options and the implications of any choices made, just registering as self-employed might be a useful stepping stone, given the admin overhead, if little else, of running a limited company (even with an accountant's help - you still need to understand what's going on; as the director, you are ultimately liable, not the accountant).


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:20
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Judging from the content of the OP... Jul 3, 2015

Charlie Bavington wrote:

For someone starting out, and especially someone who to judge from the brief content in the OP, knows very little about the options and the implications of any choices made, just registering as self-employed might be a useful stepping stone, given the admin overhead, if little else, of running a limited company (even with an accountant's help - you still need to understand what's going on; as the director, you are ultimately liable, not the accountant).



Actually, judging from the brief content of the OP, I highly suspect he or she is Pakistani, in which case it is highly likely that they know at least three accountants who are well versed in starting up businesses in the UK, since the Pakistani community is very active in that field (start-up businesses).

In which case I would suggest to the OP that they should speak to agencies and associations specifically with regard to requirements for interpreting providers and then get in contact with an accountant who is qualified to advise them on starting up a business. Off the top of my head, I know of three such accountants, all of whom are native Urdu speakers and would be in a good position to advise the OP.

I doubt the OP would be able to sift through all the online research themselves, since written English does not seem to be a strong point and since culturally speaking, Pakistanis tend to prefer face-to-face contact or direct advice (like posting a broad question on a forum like this).


 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:20
Serbian to English
+ ...
Legal requirements make Jul 5

for a very short list.

talking only of legal requirements, i.e. the minimum required by law, you need to:

-- have the right to work in UK

-- be able to prove your identity and address

-- have legal capacity (sane and over 18)

And that's about it!

There is no imposed legal form if you want to start a language business - sole trader, private limited company, Limited Liability Partnership, a co-operative or partnership with someone else, all is possible, you could also create a PLC (Public Limited Company) if you fancy and have money to waste ...

at the difference from being a solicitor, an architect, or accountant etc you are not legally required to have any particular kind of qualification, nor to prove that you know anything about the language business, nor that you know any second language, you are not even required to speak English on top of your native language. Thinking of it, that's also all you need legally to become an estate agent!

That's all for legal requirements in UK, if you want to get into the language business.

If on the other hand you ask about what would help to make you agency work, that's a different question.


 


There is no moderator assigned specifically to this forum.
To report site rules violations or get help, please contact site staff »


Legal requirements to start an interpreting agency in the UK

Advanced search






BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2019
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2019 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2019 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search