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How to make an invoice in another language

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Do you need to invoice a client abroad, but you’re concerned that they might not fully understand it unless it’s in their native language? You might want to consider invoicing in their language, or translating your existing document into their language.

Translating it into a foreign language, will help your customers understand the costs involved, the overall premise, and the payment terms – plus, it will help minimise the risk of confusion and misinterpretation, and will show them that you’re the type of company who goes the extra mile!

However, before you run to your nearest translator, there’s some regulations on foreign-language invoices you need to consider. Also, you need to know which bits of information you need to translate, and the best way to issue it in another language.

Rules and Regulations

The various different rules associated with invoicing in foreign languages vary from country to country, and not all countries allow you to send translated invoices. The UK has no restrictions on what language you produce it in for example, but Australia only permits them English.

Even if you’re based in a country that permits foreign language invoices, there might be a few regulations you need to be aware of if you plan to translate them into another language.

For companies who are registered for VAT in the UK, you’ll need to issue invoices that contain specific details about tax, including the rate and total amount payable. You’ll also need to provide English versions if requested to do so. If your business has been requested to provide the translation, you’ll have 30 days to do so.

The basic of invoicing apply

It doesn’t matter which language you choose, you should always make sure it complies with legal requirements. To be considered as a legal document, each invoice should contain the following information;

  • The word ‘INVOICE’
  • Unique invoice number
  • Date when it was issued
  • When the payment is due
  • Business name and date of both you and your client
  • Description, outlining the products/services offered
  • Individual unit cost
  • Total amount due
  • Payment terms – early settlement discounts, fines for late payments

You should also remember to keep the invoice on file for a minimum of six years.

How should I create the invoice?

Now you’ve checked the rules, requirements, and regulations, you need to know what you’re required to translate. However, if you don’t speak another language, this can be a difficult task to find an option for translating an invoice, this is because your options are limited.

Your options are as follows; 

  • You could use a dictionary or an online translation tool. I.e. Google Translate.
    • However, this is time-consuming and the translation isn’t always great, and it can leave you open to making mistakes.
  • You could ask a multi-lingual friend or colleague to help.
    • However, this may take up a lot of time.

Your other option is to use a powerful invoicing software provider such as, Holded. With Holded you can customise your invoices to suit your needs, right down to the last detail, including preferred language. Alongside this you can build your brand image and professionalism by producing bespoke invoices.

Ash Baggott

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