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Dear Client: (part 2) August 26, 2011

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.

Dear Translator:

Due to some major problems that we can not handle, we are sorry to inform you that payment will be delayed.

We will be working  hard to get it resolved by next week.

I hope this situation will not affect the quality of our business partnership.

We really appreciate your outstanding work, we enjoy working with you and we would like it to keep it this way.

Thank you for your kind understanding and support.


Accounting Department
Houston, TX

Dear Client:

Seeing as the payment is 137 days overdue and the amount is only $59.08 I can’t wait to see how long this payment will be delayed. And seeing as you are having difficulty paying a $59.08 invoice, I might I add I am VERY happy that I decided back when the payment was only 60 days overdue never to accept another job from you and then did not accept the 800 word job in July.


P.S. Take the $59.08 check and shove it.


Forewarned is forearmed August 23, 2011

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Tech tips.

Now that I am working with Office 2010 I need to be aware of any potential problems. Did you know that there is a potential compatibility problem between Word 2007 and Word 2010? According to Microsoft, there is a defect in Word 2007 with regard to DOCX files exchanged between users of Word 2010 and Word 2007. Apparently some Word 2007 users have experienced problems in which spaces were “disappearing” when viewing or printing documents sent to them from users of Word 2010. There is apparently a defect in the file / open code of Word 2007 that causes the problem. This could be a problem if you are working in Word 2010 and deliver a DOCX file to your client who uses Word 2007. If your client reports this problem, the first thing you should ask them is if they have the latest patches for Word 2007 and/or Office 2007 Service Pack 2 installed. Of course, the best solution is to ask the client what version he/she uses and save the file in that format. After all, forewarned is forearmed

MemoQ group buy through ProZ.com August 19, 2011

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Tech tips, Tools.
1 comment so far

Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve delivered my translation, which is due at 2 PM, early and am about to head out to hit a local church tag sale and start my weekend. But I wanted to let you know about this opportunity to purchase memoQ 5.0 Pro through a translator group buying program on ProZ! During this group buy promotion, a group of 100 ProZ.com users will have the opportunity to purchase memoQ translator pro and receive a discount of 40% off the list price. Since I’ve been thinking about switching to MemoQ for a while and just started working with a new client who works with MemoQ (among other tools) I’ve just added my name to the list. There are only 39 units left (after my purchase), so act now. The software usually sells for $770/EUR 620, but they are offering it for $462/EUR 372 at the moment. Interested? Check out http://t.co/c0SVvv1. Have a great weekend!

Freelance translators and interpreters are NOT employees August 15, 2011

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Translation.

Sorry for the recent social media silence. After finally getting my new desktop computer up and running (yes, I am a dinosaur who prefers working on a desktop…) I have been bogged down with work. When I haven’t been translating I have been trying to relax and enjoy the summer.

That said, I had to break my silence when I found out recently that Language Line is claiming that translators and interpreters are truly employees attempting to defraud the government. Please pardon my French, but this is total and utter bullshit.

I know that Language Line likes to schedule their employees on shifts to cover their phone interpreting needs (don’t even get me started on the hourly pay, which I hear is BARELY over minimum wage in some cases), so in this case they truly ARE Language Line employees. However, that does not mean that ALL freelance translators and interpreters – or even all of the translators and interpreters who work for Language Line – are employees. If those Language Line employees are only working part-time they are most likely issued W-2s for their services. If not then Language Line has no right to claim that they are employees. Those part-time Language Line employees are also free to work for other agencies and most likely receive 1099-MISC forms for their work. They then report the W-2 income and 1099-MISC income in separate sections of their IRS tax returns. That’s the way it works – whether you are freelancer translating/interpreting full-time while working part-time at a book store, teaching part-time at a school, college or university or even work part-time for a translation agency.

In my case, I regularly work for at least 14 different agencies (not counting agencies that perhaps contact me once or twice a year with a translation request). I am issued 1099-MISCs from all my agencies who pay me $600 or more a year for my services. I submitted seven 1099s in 2009 and ten 1099s in 2010 as part of my tax returns. According to my tax preparer at Liberty Tax, I had “30 [agency clients] in 2009 and about the same in 2010 not reported on 1099s.”

I am a full-time freelance translator. I am free to accept or turn down translation jobs based on my availability and whether the texts are within my fields of specialization. I work when I want and how I want. I use the translation software I want. I track my income and issue reminders when invoices aren’t paid on time. And I pay my own taxes to the federal, state and local governments based on my earned income from all the agencies I have worked with that year both in the United States and abroad (whether or not they have sent me a 1099-MISC). Let me repeat that – I claim ALL of my income earned both domestically and abroad. I have NEVER attempted to defraud the federal government. You simply don’t screw with Uncle Sam.

Correct me if I am wrong, but freelance translators and interpreters who do not have scheduled shifts with a company all fall under this category. We are FREELANCE translators and interpreters, which means we are contractors who are free to work for whomever we want and however we want. This also means we are running our own businesses, whether it be as a sole proprietor, an LLC or an S-Corp. I am frankly offended by Language Line’s claim that because I am a freelance translator I am trying to defraud the government.

Feel free to weigh in with your comments below. The folks who are working hard right now to get translation-friendly legislation passed would appreciate your opinions to use as ammunition.

Articles on the subject:
* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/louis-provenzano/open-letter-to-irs-end-em_b_675776.html
* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/louis-provenzano/open-letter-to-congress-t_b_766612.html
* http://contractinterpreters.com/2011/04/12/interpretertranslators-as-independent-contractors-or-employees/
* http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2011/08/16/irs-narrows-independent-contractor-relief/

Americans are still impressed when someone can speak another language August 4, 2011

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff.

Moviefone, one of the larger entertainment sites in the U.S., has posted a tribute to American celebrities who can speak a foreign language. Mila Kunis recently told off (in Russian) a Russian reporter who asked Justin Timberlake why he was making movies and not singing. Moviefone then decided to feature a bunch of celebrities, including Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep, who speak another language. Why is this news? Oh yeah, because most Americans can barely speak their own language let alone speak two… <sigh> Anyway, enjoy.