NRPSI - was it a good investment?
Thread poster: Kati Bumbera

Kati Bumbera  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:31
Hungarian to English
+ ...
Jun 2, 2009

Hi guys,

this is what happened and I'm a bit torn as to what to do: I registered to take the Met Test exam, paid the £600+ exam fee, only to receive a letter saying I now have to cough up another £200 because I'm the only candidate taking the exam in that language (Hungarian).

The NRPSI registration would cost me another £200 on top of that, so the conclusion is that I'm paying over a thousand £ for something that's basically a piece of paper saying I speak my native language.

The alternative is to get a refund and forget about the whole thing.

I'm interested in your experience with this - does anybody get enough work through the NRPSI that justifies investing such a huge amount of money? I've been on the list since the beginning of the year with another language (Spanish) and I scored one (1) job so far - which means I still haven't recovered the costs of it. I'm all for being professionally qualified and what have you, but this is a lot of cash for me.

Thanks.


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Papers.. Jun 3, 2009

bumbiuser wrote:

I'm paying over a thousand £ for something that's basically a piece of paper saying I speak my native language.


If you would invest £600 in marketing activities like introducing yourself (your specialities and experience) to agencies, it would probably be much more rewarding, and if your clients want papers, you better look for some cheaper ones, because they are often rather measured by wheight than by content.


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Kati Bumbera  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:31
Hungarian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
in the UK... Jun 3, 2009

...the idea is that you need to be on the NRPSI in order to work for certain clients (mainly courts and the police).

The big controversy is that you can also work through agencies, often for the same clients, without these qualifications. Arguably you are paid less but because you also get more work it kind of evens out (my own experience - feel free to add yours.)

When I browse these forums and the iol forum I get the impression though that interpreters tend to encourage each other to fight against the big evil agencies (by refusing to make your contact details available for them etc.etc.) and the (also evil) "unqualified" interpreters who work for them. Like I said I'm very much in favour of getting proper qualifications and there are definitely agencies out there that I wouldn't touch with a barge pole, but at the same time I'm beginning to question whether the NRPSI doesn't esentially have the same role as them, only more expensive.


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polyglot45
English to French
+ ...
just a thought... Jun 3, 2009

Haven't lived in the UK for ages and cannot advise from the inside but I was wondering, given that this seems to be extortion, whether you shouldn't talk to the organisers of these tests directly. Tell them right out that you had to scrape around and contract loans, beg, borrow and steal (not really) to put up the £600 in the first place and that you would be hard put to raise the stakes to £1,000. I know you said they would refund if you pulled out but they would then lose the £600. Try to do a deal in other words. It is not your fault that you are the only candidate. If they won't budge, take your money and try another time when there are more candidates.

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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:31
Italian to English
+ ...
NRPSI - worthwhile investment? Jun 3, 2009

It's a bit of a how long is a piece of string question really, there are so many variables; language pair, where you live, how many other qualified interpreters there are close to you.

Personally, the investment has proved worthwhile. After a slow start, I've built up relationships with the various courts and forces so am usually the one they call. I also get translation work this way too. Of course, it's impossible to predict how often you will be called out either, it just doesn't work that way.

Agencies are really not meant to use non-NRPSI registered interpreters, and if something goes wrong, this could cause grave problems. I also feel that the Met test is so much more than showing you are proficient in your own language.

That said, I'm going to struggle to reach 400 hours even though I feel I provide a valuable service, dealing with very sensitive subjects others might feel uncomfortable with (e.g. rape, murder), prepared to travel and working very very odd hours. However, there is currently a review process being set-up so maybe these factors will be considered.

Good luck

Suzi


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Kati Bumbera  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:31
Hungarian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Glad it worked out for you Suzi Jun 3, 2009

Thanks for your comments.


Susanna Garcia wrote:

It's a bit of a how long is a piece of string question really, there are so many variables; language pair, where you live, how many other qualified interpreters there are close to you. (...) Of course, it's impossible to predict how often you will be called out either, it just doesn't work that way.


See, I don't agree with this entirely. The NRPSI has statistics on how many interpreters are registered in a given language pair and what areas they cover. Of course this is only made available to you once you are on the register too. I might not have bothered registering with Spanish had I known I would be competing with 150 other people for every job.

Agencies won't recruit you if there is no demand in your languages - yet the NRPSI/IoL/etc happily takes your cash for the exams and the registration and then it's your problem whether or not there's actually work for you. I do feel that for the money we pay it is fair to expect at least information if not guaranteed work.

Agencies are really not meant to use non-NRPSI registered interpreters, and if something goes wrong, this could cause grave problems.


This is only true for the legal specialisation and even there it is interpreted and enforced very liberally. I'm not saying this is right, just stating it as an observation. And frankly I don't see it becoming stricter in the future either unless the NRPSI actually becomes a serious competitor for the big agencies, which it isn't at the moment, and it doesn't look like they are moving that way. They simply don't provide any sort of customer service or 'workflow management' to the clients so it's no wonder they only use them when they can't find a way aroud it.

I also feel that the Met test is so much more than showing you are proficient in your own language.


I felt that way with the first language too (although I did the DPSI not the Met Test.) With the second one it does feel a bit like just a piece of paper.

Sorry if it all comes across a bit grumpy, but I wish I'd read some grumpy comments about it all a couple of years ago...and thanks again!


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Kati Bumbera  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:31
Hungarian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks polyglot... Jun 3, 2009

...unfortunately I'm not good at that sort of haggling. I can also imagine that organising an exam for just one candidate has extra costs as well.

What I'd find fair is if the NRPSI let you register additional languages (especially if it is your own native language!) without having to go through the exact same hassle and costs as with the first one. But hey, life is hard and then we die. Thanks anyway.


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LesleiMorgan  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:31
English to Portuguese
+ ...
NRPSI - expense valid as a Sole Trader (UK) Jun 5, 2009

Hi there,

It sounds like the real problem here is financial.

Given you sound serious about interpreting, I would definitely invest in any qualification, which has to do with your interests, in this case working with the MET.

If you haven't done so, register as a Sole Trader with the HMRC and file on-line (self-assessment) every year after April 5th your taxes.

On your taxes you can submit costs such as the test for the NRPSI as an expense and this is matched against any taxes you owe.

Typically when costs for running your 'Sole Trader' operation are higher than your income that is set against any tax owed, even if you had another job as a PAYE.

In other words, typically, you would get a sort of refund back.

Register for Self-Assessment****************

https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/registration/individual?httpmethod=post

Sole Trader Registration********************

https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/shortforms/form/CWF1ST?dept-name=CWF1&sub-dept-name=&location=40&origin= http://www.hmrc.gov.uk

Exemption of TAX if you make less than £5,075 as a Sole Trader***********

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/forms/cf10.pdf

I hope this is helpful.

Best

PG

[Edited at 2009-06-05 13:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-06-05 13:00 GMT]


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Kati Bumbera  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:31
Hungarian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Paolla... Jun 5, 2009

...I'm registered as self-employed and I know certain expenses can be deducted from your overall profit and thus reduce the final tax bill, but it doesn't mean you get a refund. It just means you pay less tax.

You're right, it does ease the pain a little, but the point is, the investment still needs to make financial sense...so far mine hasn't, so I'm a little cautious now.

I paid the damn thing yesterday by the way, so we'll see.


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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:31
Italian to English
+ ...
NRPSI Jun 5, 2009

Indeed. I deduct my proz.com and NRPSI registration fees from my taxes - perfectly permittable.
Suzi


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