Getting Paid as a Freelance Translator

Getting Paid as a Freelance Translator

It is demoralizing and frustrating to do a translation job expecting to be paid only to realize that your efforts could go uncompensated. The inability of using legal means to get your pay due to client geographic location or involved legal expenses, make the situation worse. What are some of the reasons why expected pay could fail to materialize? There are many reasons and the following are just a few of them.

  1. Fraudsters and Internet Scammers

Right from the beginning, some clients have no intention of paying for your translation work. These are the scammer who can fake a real client you have worked for before. Once you submit the work, you will never hear from them again.

  1. Poor Communication

A client may ask for a sample translation work to assess your ability. This client may even provide the information in the source language. Although you will do actual translation and expect payment, the client may argue that it was only a sample. Good communication foresees and prevents such a situation.

  1. Poor Work

A bad translation job can make a client refuse to pay. This can be a valid reason.

Despite doing an excellent job there may still be issues with payment where the following can you help you get paid.

  • Have some form of written contract that will protect you against non-paying customers.
  • Get paid in advance. This is the best option although the client will want to be sure that they will get work for what they have paid for. Other measures include getting a substantial down payment or part payment when the work is ready for submission.
  • Do the best possible translation job so that you deliver above your most ‘hard-to-please’ customer’s expectations.
  • Do background client research. This is important when dealing with a new customer. Check what other translators’ experience is with this client. The research may involve checking the translation scammers’ directory.
  • Have an agreed method of being paid your dues. This can include credit cards or online payment methods such as PayPal, bank wire transfer and Payoneer Master Card.
  • Asses the legal system where your client comes from. Customers from countries with weak, corrupt or non-existent legal institutions are a red flag. Insist on advance payment through a reliable payment method. Avoid checks as some of these will bounce at the bank which will give you bad credit rating not to mention the fine that come with it and loss of more funds.
  • Have large projects broken down into milestones. When a milestone is reached, you get paid for it before proceeding onto the other.
  • If the amount owed is substantial, consider instituting legal procedures against the defaulting client. A simple demand letter from a lawyer may be all that is needed to get paid but some clients can remain adamant making the whole process expensive.
  • Carefully read contracts your translation agencies expect you to sign. A clause that could deny you getting paid can include one indicating that the agency will only pay you after receiving funds from their client. This means that if they don’t get paid, you also don’t get paid.

A little forethought and proactive measures can help you get paid for every translation job you do.

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