Sorry, this entry is only available in French.
Do you translate books? Do you also stroll in the Feng Shui or Youth departments of the local library just to feel that near-guilty satisfaction to see your name written in a public place? Well, you will be pleased to know that you are not alone and that it may also bring in some money!
Let me introduce you my dear friend Sofia. Here’s what you can on its website:
SOFIA (Societé Française des Intérêts des Authors de l’écrit) is the French society tasked with defending the interests of authors of the written word; it is a non-profit-making company for the collection and distribution of rights, administered equally by authors and publishers and exclusively concerned with the field of books.
As the only society approved by the Minister for Culture for the management of PLR arising from loans in libraries, SOFIA collects and distributes the remuneration arising from these PLR. It is also primarily responsible for the collection and distribution of that portion relating to books arising from remuneration in respect of private digital reproduction.
So what is this lending right?
Law n°2003-517 dated 18 June 2003 relating to remuneration in respect of lending from public libraries and enhanced social protection for authors, introduced an official licence for PLR payments and set up a mandatory system for collective management.[…] This law authorises the lending of books from libraries, with authors and publishers in return benefiting from a fair remuneration funded by a government contribution fixed by decree and by a levy of 6% of the pre-tax retail price of books sold to a lending library, this sum to be paid by the book seller.(Source)
Note that it also works with books translated for foreign French-speaking editors as well as for English books.
Fellow Translators, you now know what you have to do to receive money in your mailbox without even moving: Join Sofia! It will cost you once and for all €38 for your society share (or you can wait that it is deduced from your first payment).
To take a good start this week, as promised, here is the new episode of my useful tools for translators. After the whys and hows of a translation quote, here’s everything you want to know about invoices. If the why is pretty clear, the how is more mysterious.
Don’t forget that everything here relates to the French market only.
The Chamber of commerce from Lyon offers a very helpful and extensive document on invoices, which are defined as an accounting document established by the commercial society stating the terms of sale and purchase of products, wares, goods or services ».
The list of mandatory indications is pretty long, so I will let you check the said document.
There is something I care about: the payment period. According to the French law (August 4th, 2008), the payment period is limited to 45 days end of month or 60 days from the issue date. But you may reduce this period in your terms of service, to 30 days for example.
Short note on terminology: the phrase "30 days end of month" means that you count 30 days and then jump to the end of the month (i.e.: for a bill dated on June 10th, add 30 days (July 10th) and jump to the end of the month: the bill is to paid by July 31st at the latest). The expression "60 days from the issue date" means simply 60 calendar days: a bill issued on June 10th is to be paid on August 10th.
For my part, I added on my bill that late payments were subject to a 15% penalty. The law cited above indicates that "the minimum rate for late payment penalties will be of 3 times the legal interest rate".
The “autoentrepreneurs”, which are not subject to VAT, have two other compulsory indications:
- Next to the total amount payable: VAT not applicable, Art.293-B (French general tax code)
- Next to your SIRET number and APE code: Exempted from registration according to Article L123-1-1 of French trade code or according to Section V, Article 10, law n°96-603, 5 July 1996 related to trade and craft development
And since I'm a oh-so-sweet Care Bear, here is a template invoice that you can adapt and use at your convenience. FYI, I use an Excel spreadsheet to avoid bothering with calculations, but it works just as well with Word. And by the way: save your invoices in PDF format before sending, it will avoid potential trouble.
I would like to come back to the origins, to the initial goal of NJATB: giving advice and useful information about translation. So today, I will tell you how to make a good quote. And tomorrow, we’ll talk about invoices.
But first of all, let me say that what I’ll write here applies only to the French market. There may be some significant differences between countries, whether it is Canada, Belgium or English-speaking countries. Don’t forget to adapt the estimate to the law of the country you are working in.
So what the use of a quote? Better safe than sorry: the worst that could happen is that an unscrupulous client denies having ordered a translation you already sent back. And if you don’t have a quote, a commissioning letter or any written proof, you won’t have anything concrete to prove his bad faith.
Anything written down will do the job, such as an e-mail where a client asks you to translate said text, but a proper purchase order (sent by your client) or a quote (that you establish) is generally better. And it only costs a few minutes...
In France, there are a few mandatory indications to have on a quote: name and address of the translator and client, reception date and deadline, document title, quote acceptance period, rate per word or page, total price, payment terms… and the famous mention “Bon pour accord” from the client.
But rather than letting you in the blur, you can download below a template for a translation quote in French. Of course, you will have to adapt it to your needs, by adding, for example, your terms of service (or the one from the SFT) as well as the terms you negotiated with your client.
Remember that you can also ask for a deposit, as it is often done by various professionals, especially for bigger jobs.
Next episode: invoicing!