In June 2017, a German federal court published a ruling in a tax case that delved into the details of where exactly freelancing ends (German: freiberufliche Tätigkeit) and a commercial enterprise begins (German: gewerbliche Tätigkeit).

As Slator reported, the court ruled that freelance translators are not allowed to offer languages they don’t personally understand and continue to enjoy the tax breaks and other administrative benefits that come from operating in a freelance capacity.

On Twitter and LinkedIn, the Slator article triggered an interesting debate about outsourcing to fellow freelancers and Slator’s take of the ruling (we stand by it). Beyond the ruling in Germany, subcontracting by freelancers has been a hot-button issue for decades, and so we wanted to know how our readers perceive the practice.

A clear majority of the 118 respondents who participated in the poll conducted among Slator’s e-mail newsletter subscribers view subcontracting unfavorably — 22% of respondents say it depends and only 10% approve of subcontracting.

If there is an industry that could benefit from more efficient payment technology, it’s the language services industry. Global in nature, hundreds of thousands of freelancers are based in every possible country under the sun, and millions upon millions of relatively small payments are made every single month.

But despite a boom in fintech, two decades of PayPal, and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin becoming more mainstream, bank transfers, which often involve expensive fees, remain the top choice of paying freelancers among the respondents to our poll. Expect this to change in the coming decade.

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