Why translators should send professional invoices
You work hard to ensure nothing is lost in translation – so you need to make sure your hard work is noticed and you are compensated fairly for your skill and talent. For clients to know exactly what goes into translating a book, or providing simultaneous translation at a meeting, you need an invoice that clearly explains everything you do, along with the associated costs. In fact, your invoice needs to be as clear and understandable as your great translation services!
You deliver great work – your invoices should look great too! A professional, well-designed invoice reflects your image as a professional and creates credibility and confidence in services rendered.
Once you've downloaded your free invoice template, you'll need to customize it to fit your specific business. Here are the 10 key things to include on your invoice:
- Title and Description: Name the project and briefly describe what type of work your client is being invoiced for.
- Company Details: Add your company name, address, phone number, and logo to the top-right corner.
- Customer Details: Under "Bill To", add your customer's name, address, and contact information.
- Invoice Number: Include a unique invoice number to help you track down this invoice in the future. You can format this based on sequence and customer. For example, if you're sending your very first customer their first invoice, the invoice number could be 001-001.
- Dates: Include the date when your invoice has been issued and the date when payment is due.
- Line Item: Add individual line items for each unique good or service you provided. For each line item, include a brief description, quantity, individual unit price, and total price.
- Subtotal: Add up the subtotal of your goods or services, before tax has been applied.
- Tax: Indicate the tax rate applied to the subtotal. This is legally required to provide on invoices, and your rate may differ depending on where you run your business.
- Total: Outline the total amount due from the customer, after tax.
- Notes: Include any additional info your customer should know, including terms of service and payment terms (for example, payments are due 30 days after the invoice has been issued).
- Select the translation services invoice you like from our selection of templates in different designs and colors
- Download the free invoice template in the format you like, such as Word, Excel, PDF, Google Docs, or Google Sheets. It’s easy to do – and best of all – it’s free!
- Add your business name, phone number, email address, and any other contact information
- Insert your beautifully designed logo, website address, and a list of languages you work in, or specific industries you specialize in
- Add in your client’s name and contact information
- Add a unique invoice number on the template
- Add the date of the invoice and the payment due date
- List all translation services you provided, along with descriptions of each and the appropriate hourly or flat rate
- Add and subtract lines to customize the format to your needs. Every translation project is different, so don’t forget to add in any unique services or travel that this job entailed
- If you are including a discount for a regular client, or for any other reason, add a line explaining the discount so your client knows they are receiving a special price
- Calculate the total price of the project, including applicable tax, and list the total at the bottom of the invoice
- Add your payment terms, including the methods of payment you accept
- If you like, add a personal line at the end, especially if you enjoyed working with the client and would like to work with them again
- Save a copy – and then send it off to your client!
When is the right time to send an invoice to your translation clients?
If it’s a small project, most translators ask for payment upon completion, especially if it is a regular client. But if your services are required over several days, or even weeks, it’s not unreasonable to request partial payment up front. After all, you are running your own business and need to keep the revenue coming in to cover costs, especially if the project requires you to travel. You can ask for a percentage of the estimated cost up front, with the remainder upon completion.
Invoicing tips for professional translators
If you travel for the translation or interpreter project, make sure you include all your travel related costs in your invoice, such as airfare, hotels, and food. And attach your receipts.
Expenses may crop up while you’re working as a translator, so include an expense report along with the applicable receipts when you send in your invoice. Explain exactly what each expense is for so your clients know why they are being billed.
Personalize your invoices
A great way to show how much you understand your clients’ translation needs is to add some personal touches to your invoice. When listing your services, include descriptions or details that the client specifically requested to remind them that you successfully met their needs.
Include a ‘payment due’ date
Encourage on-time payment with a clear indication of when you expect payment. It really does work!
Accept a variety of payment methods
Add the latest payment technology on to your skills as a translator and accept payment options such as e-Transfers and other online payment methods. Make it easy for your clients to pay you quickly!