Working onsite for a client brings with it a different set of challenges for translators. First and foremost, agree with your client what you will be paid up front. This may seem like we’re stating the obvious here, but it’s important to have everything agreed upfront and in writing ahead of the assignment. Ask for a purchase order as proof of the work instruction.
At Atlas, we always agree a daily rate with suppliers for work carried out on clients’ premises – even if the assignment is only expected to last one or two hours. The reason for this being that the supplier will probably have to block out a whole day from their schedule to ensure their availability for the assignment, so they should be paid for this whole day. Also if the assignment (though expected only to run for one or two hours) should overrun, the supplier won’t need to rush off to be somewhere else.
We consider the standard working day to consist of 8 hours (usually between 9 and 5). If the assignment goes on for longer than this, you should be charging overtime at an hourly rate. Again, this should be agreed up front with your client.
Check what software and equipment the client will provide. For in-house translation assignments some of our translators prefer to bring their own laptops when possible. Think about what you’ll need to work effectively. Things like foreign language keyboards and CAT tools will probably not be provided by the client.
Remember that while working onsite you’re not only representing your client but yourself as a freelancer. Check with your client ahead of assignment if there is a dress-code. While most offices have done away with strict collar and tie dress-codes, it’s still important to present yourself in a professional manner.
Plan your journey. Being late reflects badly on you and your client and looks unprofessional. If coming by car check with the client if parking is provided. We’ve had instances in the past where interpreters have arrived for an assignment in plenty of time, but had to spend half an hour finding somewhere to park, causing the interpreter to end up being late for their assignment. This doesn’t make clients happy! You also need to agree with your client how travel costs will be covered. Check the client’s policy for mileage (if travelling by car). All of this needs to be confirmed in advance of the assignment.
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