Translation is an extremely international industry and many freelance translators and translation services have clients all over the globe. This brings challenges and questions about how to receive payment, in what currency to invoice, and whether translation rates should be altered as exchange rates fluctuate.
As a freelance translator, creating a pricing structure is unfortunately not always as simple as settling on your per-word rate. If you are invoicing clients from another country things can get rather complicated, especially if that country has a different currency. Some freelancers even choose to alter their pricing throughout the year in order to take advantage of changing currency exchange rates.
Whichever way you choose to receive payment from an overseas client you will likely be dealing with fees, but a little research on your part can help to find the least expensive option for your particular situation. This will depend on a variety of factors including which combination of currencies you are working with and the quantities of money you will receive. It is also a good idea to consult one of the many online resources that offer a freelance invoice generator and therefore can take the hard work out of the first step of awaiting payment.
Let’s take a look at some of the different methods you could employ to receive payments from international clients.
Traditional bank transfers
Perhaps the first place most people turn to when moving money overseas is a traditional bank. Bank transfers have their benefits; they are known for being secure and our familiarity with them can invoke trust, however, this is rarely the most cost-effective option. The exchange rates offered by the majority of banks tend to be unfavorable compared to dedicated foreign exchange services, for example. Transfer fees, which can be charged to both the sender and recipient, may also be higher than other alternatives. This type of transfer may also take longer than other methods, sometimes up to 7 working days, which you need to bear in mind when awaiting payment.
Opening up a bank account in another country
This could be a good option if you get a lot of work from one particular country; perhaps you are a Spanish to English translator whose clients are mainly based in Spain. It makes it easy for the client and also means that you can control how and when the money is transferred into your local bank account. It’s also handy if you regularly visit said country as you won’t have to deal with charges for withdrawing cash abroad. Even so, it can be complicated and costly to set up. There are often monthly charges, and there may be a minimum monthly deposit required. On balance, this option is probably only viable if the bulk of your business comes from one specific country.
Online currency transfer specialists
Just as many areas of our lives are conducted online, more and more freelancers are using online currency transfer specialists to carry out their international payments. As financial experts at the cutting edge of technology, these services are dedicated to international currency transfer, unlike traditional banks that have many different functions, and this kind of specialized service is beneficial for the user. These Electronic Money Institutions usually offer better exchange rates and any fees are generally more transparent. Transfers can be completed quickly and companies often have better support and advice services than alternatives. Many freelance translators find that this option is the most suitable. For a secure, reliable and economical option for your international transfers, check out this leading currency specialist.
When it comes to transferring funds via an online platform, PayPal is probably the most widely known which, as with brick and mortar banks, can give your clients a sense of security. The nice thing about PayPal is that it can be set up easily with just an email address; there’s no need to divulge personal or financial information. Clients can also fund the payment in various ways (e.g. debit or credit card, eChecks, bank transfers or even via text) and a wide range of currencies are available. It’s worth noting, however, that PayPal fees can vary greatly depending on the sending and receiving countries and currencies, as well as the payment amount. There is also a chance that your account could be frozen or the funds held by PayPal for reasons such as your account being inactive for an extended period. You can help to avoid this by verifying your account.
Transferwise and other peer-to-peer services
Transferwise and similar services have a popular way to transfer money internationally both for business and personal reasons. The pros of Transferwise include their generally low fees that are clearly explained and their security (they are regulated by the Financial Service Authority). They may not be the best option for larger transfers, however, as the percentage of fees increases with the transfer amount.
However you choose to receive payments from your overseas clients, make sure you are aware of any fees you will incur, including hidden fees created by currency exchange, or you may be disappointed by the final amount that appears in your account. Remember to take these costs into consideration when quoting a price to a client in order to get the compensation you want for your work.
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