Following discussions in mailing lists and elsewhere, I see the BDÜ, the German Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer, has some useful information on its website – in German, and for those in Germany.
At www.bdue.de click on Aktuelles, or try this link.
The materials include a file on the changes that need to be made to translators’ invoices this year in Germany. For example, I can’t send an invoice as a PDF file because it hasn’t got the legally required electronic signature, for which apparently you need special hardware. Similarly, I shouldn’t receive such invoices (does that just affect set-off against VAT, or set-off against income tax too? Because I have some U.S. and Scandinavian software, especially for the Internet, where I have only the printout of an email and my credit card statement as evidence of purchase).
There’s also a copy of a short article Corinna Schlüter-Ellner wrote for the Neue Juristische Wochenschrift, 15 December 2003 edition. On that occasion, there was a special advertising section for translators. They even contacted me and also phoned me up and asked me if I wanted to put an ad in. I didn’t want to, because I had so much work at the time that if a new client had phoned up, I’d have had to turn them down. That is negative advertising in my view. The person on the phone told me I could farm work out, i.e. he suggested I should change the nature of my business, but I couldn’t quite see the sense of that, except for him. Corinna’s article stresses the need for a legal translator to have a training in law as well as language (many of the ads that appeared do not show evidence of this!)
The BDÜ office must be busy, because since I looked at the site this morning, files have been added on ISO 639 language codes (en, de and so on) and there is also the association’s reaction to the draft JVEG (see my earlier entry).
LATER NOTE: In the comments, Paul Thomas points out that Adobe Acrobat 6.0 does ‘sign’ documents. I am still not sure what the German tax offices will accept. A Google search indicates people offering for sale plug-ins for Acrobat that can be used together with a card and card reader to create a ‘qualifizierte elektronische Signatur’, but then again, the statute says proved ‘for example’ by this kind of signature. I will report in a new entry when I get a clearer idea.