Due to the intrinsic nature of the translation industry, it is almost inevitable that sooner or later, whether it be frequently or rarely, you’ll be working with someone based in a different country to you.
This blog will hopefully provide you with some tips on working with international translations for clients based abroad, and give some advice on how to protect your own interests.
Working with international clients might be essential for you. It will very much depend on the language combination(s) you work in, and what the markets are like on the countries of those languages. Doing some research could be beneficial in trying to find out if there is a particular demand for your services in certain countries. Where you are based can be very important to clients when they’re trying to place translation assignments with translators.
For example, a German native speaking legal expert living in London could be better placed to translated British legal documents into German than a translator based in Berlin. This is because being based in Britain, they should have better knowledge of the British legal system. Bear this in mind when trying market yourself to international clients – what are the pros and cons of where you are currently based?
Be aware of time zones! It may be stating the obvious but when a client sets a deadline, it is always best to check you are on the same wavelength when it comes to time zones. First thing tomorrow your time or their time? If you find you are getting more regular work from clients in a different time zone, perhaps consider changing your working hours to fit those. We work with translators based all over the world. We know a couple based in the UK who work later working hours because a lot of their business comes from Latin America. Also be aware of the difference in time zones when you have queries.
Of course, getting paid is the most important part of any job. So establish before you commence with any work what currency you’ll be paid in. Also, confirm how you are going to be paid. Unfortunately international payments can incur charges so you can set yourself up a PayPal account to minimise any costs. Getting international clients to pay on time can also be a worry. What’s even worse is when they don’t pay at all. All we can say here is be careful.
Do your research on the company, make sure there is a registered address and landline telephone number. Check the company is registered. It can be very difficult to get money owed to you from clients based internationally. Sometimes this is due to different laws in other countries. If you have a bad feeling about a project (and this goes for working with companies based in the same country as you as well!) don’t be afraid to walk away and turn the project down!