Interpretation job-cancelation fee
Thread poster: Hengky Chiok

Hengky Chiok  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:19
Member (2008)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Jan 2, 2008

I have an agency that called to cancel an interpretation job less than 24 hours from the time it's originally scheduled. This happens because the client who is going to use my service is not yet in country.

My question is: is it customary to have a cancellation fee, for instance for a cancellation with a less than 24 hour notice? If so, how much do you usually charge? And how do you enforce it? By asking for a sort of non-reimbursable setup fee in advance or bill them after they cancel?

TIA


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Balttext  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 12:19
English to Latvian
+ ...
Fixed fee Jan 3, 2008

Hi,

First of all, you have to have an agreement signed before the actual event, allowing your client to cancel, but should the client cancel late - a penalty fee applies.
You might discuss the fee for canceling 72 and 48 hours before the event - should that be 25%, 50 or 75%, but less than 24 hours usually means that there is no other event I can take with this one being canceled so late, so I expect to get paid 100% of the planned amount.

Uldis


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Pat Jenner
Local time: 10:19
German to English
+ ...
Standard practice in the UK Jan 3, 2008

When working for interpretation agencies in the UK, it is standard practice to operate a cancellation fee on a sliding scale (the interpreter receives 50% of the fee if cancellation takes place more than a month before the assignment, 75% if it is cancelled between two and four weeks beforehand, and 100% if it is cancelled less than two weeks beforehand) plus any unrecoverable expenses such as non-refundable flights that the interpreter may have incurred. These clauses form part of the standard contract between the interpreter and the agency. The cancellation fees don't apply if the client is able to offer the interpreter alternative work.

That probably won't help you in this particular case, but you might be able to put it forward as an argument that you should be paid something for loss of earnings, and you might want to include this kind of provision in any agreement you make when accepting future assignments.

Hope that helps

Pat Jenner


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sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:19
English to Russian
+ ...
Depends Jan 3, 2008

It's really hard to comment but I can give you a couple of examples, both with major local agencies I work for more or less permanently.

One agency (which I charge a minimum of 2 hours) has a contract to provide interpretation services for a number of large hospitals and as a rule these hospitals send a request for interpreter to the agency about or even less than 24 hours before the assignment. I tried to discuss the situation with the agency and there is nothing they can do, apparently the hospital policy is to request service providers with a short notice although if it is a doctor's appointment and not an emergency, it is scheduled weeks, if not months, ahead.

Sometimes it is a rush job, to be there within an hour or two, and this is when I charge extra 50%.

The cancellation fee policy with them is ONLY if the interpreter was on the way. They sometimes cancel not 24 but a couple of hours before the assignment and I get nothing.

Another agency received a cancellation from the client as I was entering the client's building. Then the client agreed to pay for only one hour, according to the agency, however I insisted to be paid the minimum of 2 hours and the agency had to eat this cost. At the end of the day, we have contracts with agencies and not with clients. It is agencies and not us to take this kind of risk.

Hope this will help a little. The best thing to do has already been mentioned: each time as you confirm the assignment define the terms: minimum payment, parking reimbursement, cancellation # hours before/no show. Forgot to say that I was really lucky not to have other jobs lost because of these cancellations.

Good luck!


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Hengky Chiok  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:19
Member (2008)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all for sharing Jan 3, 2008

It's good to know how this is usually done. In my case, I was offered for a new schedule which I could not take because of a previous arrangement.

Thank you for the inputs.


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Esther Hermida  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
As to job cancellations Jan 22, 2008

The standard practice in California is to contract interpreters for half a day or a full day. Half is up to 12:00. Most court certified interpreters follow court hours in private cases, if you're hired for half a day it should end at 12:00. So that leaves you open to either take another assignment or take a court assignment.

If you're contracted for a full day and the assignments lasts half a day you still get paid for the full day.

If the assignment is cancelled in less than 24 hours you must get paid your full rate. Of course, always ask to have the terms of your agreement in writing, email or faxed. Agencies should not tell you that since they're paying you, you must be available for another assignment within that slotted time with no other compensation. This is a rip-off, don't do it. The agency is charging the old client the same price and they want to pocket the money and then pay you for only one assignment. Do not fall for that. There's only one agency trying to get away with that here in LA. Most interpreters refuse but I'm sure there're some who agree to that.

I love working with agencies that respect our work. I'm very loyal and very available to those agencies that respect my rates and don't try to pull a fast one on me for a quick buck. I'm willing to accommodate them with my rates and I'm flexible. Likewise, I treat those whom I subcontract with with the utmost professional courtesy and respect
.


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