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I finished a Masters' course in interpreting this spring. Since then, I've had some contracts. A couple of them involved travelling to far-flung places and the airline tickets cost scary amounts. Luckily I had some savings and my parents helped out as well. What worries me is if I get a couple of freelance contracts close to one another and all involve long-distance travel, I might run into liquidity problems. I'm so fresh out of university that banks will not give me credit cards. I would like to know how other people have solved this problem, or is everybody else in this profession well off to begin with?

asked 03 Nov '11, 18:53

Sirpa's gravatar image


edited 03 Nov '11, 19:09

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

Contracts involving "far-flung places" usually are few and far between, so I wouldn't worry too much.

As a junior interpreter you could start saving with the fees you earn when working locally, bearing in mind that you might have to pay in advance the odd airline ticket. In some markets the client will make the reservation and buy you the ticket.

Remember that as a freelancer what you earn is not net revenue and you will have to pay taxes on it. So it's a good idea to be organised since the very beginning. One of the best advises someone gave me years ago is that one should be able to have enough funds to survive six months without working. And it's something that I still apply today.

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answered 03 Nov '11, 19:50

Marta%20Piera%20Marin's gravatar image

Marta Piera ...

It is also helpful to have a credit card / charge card with which you can pay the airline tickets, the amount charged will normally only be debited from your account about one month afterwards. By that time your assignment might be over and you will hopefully have the fees and expenses transferred onto your account.

But do not forget to also charge your client for the fees the credit card company will charge you for the transaction - normally about 1 - 3% of the ticket price if the transaction was made outside your country of residence. This also applies to hotel charges paid by credit or charge card. It is always a good idea to factor these costs in when making an offer to a client. Every little bit helps and we interpreters need to become more aware of all the costs incurred in connection with our profession.

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answered 10 Jun '12, 18:22

AlmuteL's gravatar image


edited 11 Jun '12, 17:35

... paying for your ticket out-of-pocket is not the only option - it should actually be an exception, not the norm: if it happens again while you still have not been able to start saving towards your revolving fund or have exhausted parental succour, come clean to your recruiter, s/he may have a solution :-).

If there's no other way but to advance the cash, whether your own or otherwise, make sure you have a written deadline for reimbursement and negotiate it: reimbursement of out-of-pocekt expenses should be swift, preferably during the conference or if later well before payment of honoraria.

This being said, every professional has to come to terms with similar issues... and we all had to rely on the kindness of others... may you meet with some and remember it when you're in a position to help someone out yourself :-).

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answered 11 Jun '12, 17:21

msr's gravatar image


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question asked: 03 Nov '11, 18:53

question was seen: 3,148 times

last updated: 11 Jun '12, 17:35 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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