Tax Return for Translators

Speaking the languages
Obviously, if you want to become a freelance translator, speaking more than one language is vital.
But it’s not the only attribute a bilingual needs to make a great translator. You’ll also need to be a good writer.

A freelance translator needs to do more than translate word for word

You only need to have a quick look on Google Translate, or many multiple language instruction manuals, to know that word-for-word translations, though giving you the gist of the meaning, don’t make for very good writing. What happens, for example, when a word in one language doesn’t even have a direct translation into another?

A freelance translator needs to translate meaning as well as words

So it’s not enough for a freelance translator to just go through each of the words and change them from one language to the other.
You need to be able to get to the bottom of what the text is really trying to say so that when you translate it into another language, it keeps all the nuances of what the original writer was trying to say while making sure it still reads well.Otherwise you’ll produce a clunky mess that either confuses the reader, or invites ridicule.
That’s the skill which really separates a simple bilingual from a great translator.

Translating jargon

Being able to read and write in multiple languages is a great start to becoming a freelance translator, but there are extra challenges that come when you’re translating documents that are very industry-specific. If, for example, you can’t explain a certain piece of technology in English, how are you going to explain it in another language?
Working out what industry-specific jargon means can be like learning a new language. Fortunately, learning a new language should be easy enough for a freelance translator, especially with the help of the internet.

Start slow – freelancing part-time

Even with a significant amount of translation experience, great reading and writing skills, and ideally a degree in translation, it’s best not to immediately leave your fulltime job to jump straight into the world of self employment. Like many beginner freelancers, you should consider continuing
your full-time employment while working as a freelance translator in your spare time. This way you’ll be able to support yourself and/or your family with your full-time job while you build your business.

Accounting as a freelance translator

There are various benefits to freelancing as a translator, from the freedom and flexibility to work with a variety of businesses and individuals to more take-home pay. But there is one downside – accounting.
As a full-time employee, your tax is usually taken care of on your behalf in the form of PAYE.
As a freelancer you’ll have to keep a range of financial records and then prepare and pay a Self-Assessment tax return at the end of each business year. Accountancy can be very confusing and can distract you from your translation work.

Getting tax and accountancy advice

With most accountants, you’ll pay them to do your year-end accounts, and then they’ll forget about you until the next year. But for your business to be run smoothly and successfully, you’ll need advice on tax and accountancy throughout the year, especially in the early days.

Citi Accounts is different

Citi Accounts provides an affordable and specialist accountancy service designed just for freelancers. Throughout the year we’ll be on hand to give you any tax and accountancy advice you might need, including things like:

  • Take-home pay
  • Which VAT scheme to register for
  • Expenses
  • Tax allowances
  • Choosing between sole trader and limited company
  • Running your business in a tax-efficient way

We charge for our accountancy services in a clear and simple way, which means
you’ll never receive an unexpected bill, and you can get in touch for advice whenever you want without the worry of being charged a fortune like you would from many other accountants.