What’s the difference between a regular interpreter and a court-sworn interpreter? Why do some offices insist on using “official” interpreters? And why do they cost so much more? I finally feel adequately informed to answer this question, because I’m in the middle of my vocational training to become a court-sworn interpreter. And it is no pony ride, let me assure you.
Category Archive: Freelance Life
I have a confession to make. I applied to join the Factory some months ago, and my application was rejected… I sulked for a week. It was probably just bad timing, but the Factory Berlin was never far from my mind. I ran into a few friends who flaunted their coveted memberships and got a hot tip from one of them – I should reapply, as they’ve just opened a brand new building, and the timing is golden.
I sent off a killer application, added a healthy dose of Vitamin B, and within a week, I got the green light!
Germany is a country that prizes qualifications: a piece of paper that says you’ve earned a degree, done an internship or completed vocational training. I’ve got a Bachelor of Music to my name, but that doesn’t necessarily look so interesting when you’re trying to tell the Agentur für Arbeit that you want to start a business as a translator and interpreter. I might not have a business or translation qualification on paper, but being an opera singer is a lot like being founder, customer service rep, market analyst, administrator, translator and accountant all in one. So founding Red Tape Translation wasn’t that much of a leap, even though I wasn’t officially “qualified” to do so. In this respect, it gives me great pleasure to be the person who doesn’t quite fit the mold, but still has the skills to succeed.
If you’re overwhelmed by all the different types of visas and residence permits available to you in Berlin and Germany, this short glossary should clear things up.
You say Steuernummer and I say Steuer-ID-Nummer,
You say Umsatz-ID-Nummer and I say Sozialversicherungsnummer.
Steuernummer, StIDNr, UStID-Nr, SV-Nummer, let’s call the whole thing off.
Hmm. Not really an option. So instead, I’ll take you through it simply, carefully and lovingly. I wish everyone would sing songs about tax.
There’s an old law from 1913 that will interest you if you’re a freelance teacher in Germany. It’s from §2 of Book 6 of the German Social Code, it covers the Statutory Pension System in Germany, and it goes a little something like this:
“I’ve got this great full-time job offer in Germany, but they want to hire me as a freelancer.”
This isn’t always ill-intentioned, but when your company offers to hire you in Germany as a full-timer but wants you to write them invoices as a freelancer instead of employing you, they might not have your best interests at heart. Or they might just have no clue about how employment law in Germany works. In any case, it might cause some serious problems for them and for you later down the track.
It’s known as the “artists health insurance scheme”, the “artists social security fund”, the “Künstlersozialversicherung” and the “artists and publicists’ insurance”. In any case, it can be hard to find information online in English about the Künstlersozialkasse (KSK). We’ve put together a basic introduction with the answers to some very frequently asked questions.
I coach English-speaking freelancers on setting themselves up as self-employed in Germany. A typical coaching will take you through the basics – how to get a freelance tax number, what information you need to have on your invoices, how the Finanzamt will treat you for tax purposes, information on the insurance system, dealing with clients in other countries, tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way.
Over the years, I’ve gathered a list of issues that really perplex expats. You might not think these things are a big deal right now, but they certainly would be if you get audited 5 years down the track. Here are some tips for starting out your German freelance adventure with great accounting habits.
Great news from the Bürgeramt! 2017 has brought with it a wave of days marked in blue on the online calendar – that means you can even get same-day appointments at registration offices across Berlin! Get clicking!
You might have noticed things have been quiet on the blog front lately as Kathleen has taken advantage of the flexibility of freelancer life to head to Singapore for a month in her other incarnation as a renowned opera singer. While the team in Berlin manages Red Tape Translation during local office hours and continues to support our clients at a variety of local authorities’ offices, Kathleen is still consulting with our clients all over the world from Singapore via Skype – we feel like we are operating a truly international business this month!
Kathleen took time out from her rehearsal schedule recently to talk to the crew at Solobeing on what she loves about the freelancer lifestyle.
Getting out of Unemployment with Self-Employment: The Gründungszuschuss
If you are facing unemployment in Germany or are right in the middle of it, you might be interested to know about a grant that the Agentur für Arbeit offers to job seekers on ALG1 unemployment benefits if they want to start a business in Germany. The idea of this “new business grant” (Gründungszuschuss) is to get people out of unemployment (ALG I) by encouraging them to become self-employed or to start a company. Naturally, this won’t suit everyone, so the Agentur für Arbeit is really interested in making sure that you’re the entrepreneurial type and that you have a viable idea before they approve your application.
It is difficult to find information about the Gründungszuschuss in English. Here are the basics.