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Witness Fees
Thread poster: Shonatranslator
Shonatranslator
United States
Local time: 01:20
English to Shona
+ ...
Oct 20, 2008

I have been asked to appear in court as an expert witness for a translation that I did. The court does not have a schedule of fees but said experts make their own fees. How much would you charge as witness fees and are there any other fees? Court is out of state and I will have to fly (they pay flight & hotel) to another state for the trial. Any information will be greatly appreciated.

[Edited at 2008-10-20 18:37]

[Edited at 2008-10-20 18:38]


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:20
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
The value of your time, I guess Oct 20, 2008

You must know what you normally earn on average in a day. If they use up your whole day, I guess they have to compensate you what you usually otherwise earn. If they use up two days, then you charge them what your time is worth for two days.

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Shonatranslator
United States
Local time: 01:20
English to Shona
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Witness fees Oct 21, 2008

I know what I make per day but my question is, has anyone actually done this before and know what the range of expert witness fees is or any other fees to consider?

Any help will be appreciated.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:20
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Slightly offtopic, but... Oct 21, 2008

Shonatranslator wrote:
I have been asked to appear in court as an expert witness for a translation that I did.


Asked or subpoena'ed? Who pays you -- the court or one of the parties in the court case? What happens if your fee is too high and they refuse (if indeed they are permitted to refuse) -- are you still legally obligated to go?

If this was me, I'd work on a sliding scale based on the degree of frivolity of the court case. If true justice is involved, I'd charge only that which I would normally get for the amount of time and stress.

Court is out of state and I will have to fly (they pay flight & hotel) to another state for the trial.


I suppose you'll have to quote them in advance, but you don't know how many days you're going to have to stay in that hotel, if court dramas we see on television are any indication -- you may be scheduled to testify on day X but owing to unforeseen circumstances (standard or not) your testimony is postponed for a day or two.

Perhaps your quote should include a quote from the hotel per day, with the arrangement that you will attach receipts to your final invoice. I'm not sure how standard this is that I'm suggesting, but it has the advantage of separating the cost of your expertise from the cost of your getting there and being there.

I agree with Astrid that your fee should be equal to what you normally earn, but I think it is morally right to be available for 8 hours if you quote for 8 hours.


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Shonatranslator
United States
Local time: 01:20
English to Shona
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TOPIC STARTER
Witness fees Oct 21, 2008

Thanks for the response Samuel. I have not been subpoenaed but they have notified me through email that they would want me to come to court since their whole case lies on the translation. The court pays me. The air and hotel will be paid by them in advance so there wont be any need for me to factor in those costs.

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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 06:20
Member (2003)
German to English
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Consider typical expert witness fees and consultant fees in general Oct 21, 2008

Shonatranslator wrote:
I have not been subpoenaed but they have notified me through email that they would want me to come to court since their whole case lies on the translation. The court pays me. The air and hotel will be paid by them in advance so there wont be any need for me to factor in those costs.


Expert witnesses generally charge a few thousand dollars a day or more for services. Make sure you consider your travel time and other inconveniences. In setting your fee, you might look into what a testifying engineer, doctor, etc. might charge and orient yourself accordingly. For non-court consulting I used to charge over USD 1000 per day almost 20 years ago. If you are thinking about charging less than that, think again.


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Shonatranslator
United States
Local time: 01:20
English to Shona
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Witness Fees Oct 21, 2008

Thanks Kevin.

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