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Interpreting minimum rate when less than 1 hour
Thread poster: Laura Rodriguez

Laura Rodriguez  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
May 6, 2008

Dear all,
I have recently been to a sworn interpreting and I did not spend a whole hour. I would like to know how this works usually. I mean, shall I always be for the whole hour even though the interpreting did not reach it.
Best regards,

[Editado a las 2008-05-06 08:05]

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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:51
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Interpreting - paid for at least one hour May 6, 2008


I've been an interpreter for about 9 years now and have always been paid a minimum of one hour, even if the assignment only lasted 15 minutes (often the case in GP surgeries - although you wait beforehand!).

Any decent agency/employer should pay you one hour minimum plus travelling time and travel expenses.

Liz Askew

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Damian Harrison
Local time: 12:51
German to English
Per hour payment May 6, 2008

Most jobs of that kind a paid on a per hour basis with a 15 minute margin, i.e. for 85mins. of actual interpreting you would be paid for 2 hours.

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Laura Rodriguez  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks a lot May 6, 2008

Thank you all. That is what I thought but I was not sure!

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Local time: 11:51
Chinese to English
+ ...
minimum times are common practice May 6, 2008

Minimum times are commonly used in the UK, depending on the client and the contract, if there is one.

For general bookings, the minimum would be one hour. Police bookings are minimum two hours, court is minimum three hours. (These are stated in the respective contracts.)

For direct bookings, I always specify a minimum time in the quote. For example, two hours minimum for prison bookings.

The exception might be for telephone bookings, where pay is by the minute. But there is no reason not to set a minimum, say, 15 minutes, even for telephone interpretation.

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Joanna Rączka  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:51
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
Half a day (4 hours) - an absolute minimum May 6, 2008

I would charge anything less than 4 hours half of my daily rate. I never accept hourly payment for interpreting - always work on a daily basis. It's either full day (4-8 hours) or halfday (up to 4 hours). As simple as that. And at least in Poland it is a generally accepted practice and it is officially recommeded by the Association of Polish Translators and Interpreters. I only accept hourly payment for overtime - if it is more than 8 hours a day.

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Mark Cole  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
Polish to English
+ ...
Four hours (including travel) May 6, 2008

I agree with Joanna. I don't do interpreting (or on-site translation) often, but calculate on the basis of the amount of translation I could do during the time spent getting to and from the interpreting job and the time spent actually doing the work. And I find that four hours is a reasonable minimum equivalent. Of course, if your contract says otherwise, that's fine. But you have to factor in the time spent travelling, etc.

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Lynda Tharratt  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:51
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
2 hour minimum May 6, 2008

I have found that a 2-hour minimum is standard for most agencies that I work with. The agency I work with the most has an hour minimum for some assignments but 2-hours for hearings, domestic violence cases etc. The first hour is charged at a slightly higher rate than subsequent hours. I find that even with these rates it is not worth my time to do assignments of less than two hours (for assignments that only pay one hour). My time to and from the assignment, gasoline and parking should also be paid.
Just my 2 cents...or rather a minimum charge of 2 hours

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
Set a minimum May 6, 2008

It takes you time to get ready, get there, park, finish the job and get back home, while in the meantime you could probably have been making good money translating, etc.

Set a minimum reflecting all that, taking into account traffic and typical travel time in your area.

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English to Arabic
My personal experience Jun 9, 2008

Hi All!

Laura,from my experience:

1.Face to Face Interpreting - 1 hour minimum.

I had a 50 minute session last week and I will be paid a full hour plus travel costs in full.Some agencies also pay for the time spent when travelling and one agency I registered with pays me half the hourly interpreting rate for travel to and from the venue where the interepreting has been booked.

2.Telephone Interpreting - 15 minutes minimum.

Again last week I spent no more than 5 minutes on the telephone to a client but I will be paid for a full 15 minutes.

3.The rate for telephone interpreting is higher than face to face interpreting.

I hope this helps.

[Edited at 2008-06-09 09:37]

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