Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What is administrative quality for freelance translators?

Today I would like to go a bit deeper into my previous post about quality assurance for freelance translators, or any type of freelancer. I will start with administrative quality. This is again based on information I have received from the Swedish Association for Professional Translators (

All work is easier if you use structure and routines to improve quality. It is important to organize your work and not change routines that work very often, especially routines for accepting jobs, registering jobs, purchase orders, organization of your translation work, project management, deadlines, delivery, invoicing and accounting.

Without administrative routines it is next to impossible to deal with possible complaints, since you cannot track your jobs or find proof for your case. Stress levels are elevated when you cannot find things, and the profitability decreases if you need to do rework for things you cannot find. Perhaps you forget to invoice for a job you performed, or cannot invoice properly, since you lost the purchase order.

I am not here to impose a certain way to do things for you. If you have a system that works, great! If not, try to find one that works for you. Create a filing system on your computer that makes it easy for you to find things. Use an accounting software and invoicing software. I file things by customer, project and date and also file all emails by customer. That works well for me and I can find and trace jobs easily. The most important thing is that you can go back and find that PO, that invoice, or that translation you did 11 months ago.

Do you have any other advice for administrative quality and organization? All advice welcome! Have a great, stress-free summer and good luck with organizing your business.


  1. Hi, thanks for this great advice!
    I also suggest recording every deal with details such as client, price, job type, etc. in a master file. This file can serve as an annual report which might give us some findings and help planning and marketing our business.

  2. I use an Excel master sheet that lists every project by date, client, project number, size, rate, revenue per hour and per word, whether it is paid or not. This gives me an idea where the lucrative clients and projects are. For invoice creation and revenue tracking, I use Quickbooks 2010.


  3. Thanks for the advice Cynthia and Tapani! I have so far only tracked clients through Quickbooks, but a master sheet sounds like a great idea.