Running a translation & interpreting business in the UK (aka the English version of Val’s interview from Italiansinfuga.com)

As I do know that most of my readers are not Italian mother tongues, as I promised, here is the English version of my interview at Italiansinfuga.com, by Aldo Mencaraglia. Pls see previous post for more info.

Interview by Aldo Mencaraglia.

By setting up a translation business in the UK, Valeria Aliperta has shown what it takes to be successful abroad.

How did you become a translator?

Following a passion that dates back to when I was little (at 12, I already had a serious fixation for English and languages in general, and spent my first 2 weeks in England, studying in a college), I decided to attend a language-based high school (the liceo linguistico) where we learnt English, Spanish and French for a total of 18 hours a week. Still in love with a language-related career, I went to Genoa and obtained a BA in Translation & Interpreting Studies. After a 3-year course, I moved to Forlì (Bologna): quoting Giacomo Leopardi’s words, they were years of studio matto e disperatissimo (crazy and desperate studying), which led to obtaining the MA in Conference Interpreting at SSLMIT. Yes, I am indeed both a translator and interpreter.

What brought you to England and Exeter in particular?

A period of insane love for all Spain and Spanish things – it’s still there, trust me! – kept me away from Albion for a while. But in 2005 I started a work placement in a London-based agency and that was enough: again, love at first sight. I went back to the UK and among university, holidays and work, there you go, it was 2006.
My brand is telling it all about England – Rainy London Translations – but Exeter came along, once again, for love: my partner has been working here as a web designer for 3 years and since then, Devon has been my home.

What is the procedure to start a business in the UK?

It was fairly easy. Those who start working here – or are willing to – need to get a National Insurance Number. Candidates need to visit a Job Centre for an interview on they country of origin, arrival date and stay, and so on and so forth. Once you are ‘legally’ registered – as EU citizen, for me it was very easy but nationals of non-EU countries need visas – the wait is approximately 4 weeks or so before you are sent the NIN. Unless you are hired by a company, you need to register (using that number) as a sole trader on the HMCR website. I opted for professional accounting services for my tax return but anybody can do it personally. Above an income threshold of £10k per year, it’s worth setting up a limited company (Ltd). Accounting admin fees are around £500 a year, whilst setting up a business with Companies House is approximately £200 (one-off payment) – all this in 2 weeks! All you need is a ready-to-use ‘brand name’ to register the ltd: mine shows the love for London and the trademark rain of the City, summarised in the London Eye icon.

Can you tell us the difference between this and the Italian procedure?

All I can say is that in Italy the paperwork is much longer, not to mention taxes: 21% in the UK against a jaw-dropping 44% (more or less) in Italy! Plus pension contributions and the likes… I would not suggest it to anyone!

Pros and cons of being an entrepreneur in the UK?

I can only talk about the pros, so far! I hope I won’t need to take this back in the near future! 

What websites would you recommend for those who are willing to follow your steps?

The ones I mentioned above and the professional associations I belong to:

Chartered Institute of Linguists (IoL)

Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI)

and last but not least… Rainy London Translations

Thanks Aldo for including me in your blog!

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About Val

London-based Rainy London Translations is offering a full range of top quality interpreting, localisation, translation, consultancy and voice-overservices for both businesses and individuals. Need something else? Just ask! It may sound like a cliché, but just get in touch: what you need can be done, at a reasonable price. Valeria is also offering a 'branding' clinic service, to help freelancers find their perfect business name or polish the existing identity by finding a logo, a tagline with sound creative consultancy. Based in the City of Westminster area, the heart of London, UK, since August 2011.

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