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Have the rates for interpreting been dropping?
Thread poster: Rad Graban

Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:39
English to Slovak
+ ...
Aug 13, 2009

Hi all,

I'm not doing that much interpeting but when I do (for my regular clients from some years ago), I charge/get paid £28/hour. Over the last couple of months, I've received several phonecalls regarding interpreting offering as little as £15/hour. Have rates for interpreting dropped in the last couple of years/months, or is it just clients being tight?


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Miroslav Jeftic  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:39
English to Serbian
+ ...
Hm Aug 13, 2009

That is really tight price for interpreting, even here in Serbia. What's more, even your original price doesn't seem too high, but for 15 pounds per hour definitely better to stay at home and translate.

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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:39
English to Slovak
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Wow! Shocked! Aug 13, 2009

Miroslav Jeftic wrote:
That is really tight price for interpreting, even here in Serbia. What's more, even your original price doesn't seem too high, but for 15 pounds per hour definitely better to stay at home and translate.


Right, I'm a little bit shocked here, Miroslav. I thought I was charging/getting top rate. What is the average rate then?


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:39
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not that I know of... Aug 13, 2009

and it's strange to offer people LESS than what they'd earn at home translating, even if the assignment were only liaison. But as a freelancer, you're always free to refuse it. YOU set your rates, or have I missed something?

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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:39
English to Slovak
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's why I'm wondering... Aug 13, 2009

Parrot wrote:
and it's strange to offer people LESS than what they'd earn at home translating, even if the assignment were only liaison. But as a freelancer, you're always free to refuse it. YOU set your rates, or have I missed something?


...and that's what I've been doing (refusing it). As I've said though, all new offers are, for whatever reason, £15/hour.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:39
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Rates are a long story Aug 13, 2009

The three of us seem to have been cross-posting.

Anyway, rates depend on what the services are for. I presume you're referring to community interpreting, since I'm not aware of any other type that fluctuates so erratically. (Police rates, even if rock-bottom, are regulated, AFAIK).

Rad Graban wrote:

What is the average rate then?


Over here, where interpreting rates are considered quite low, it used to be 60 eu. per hour, directly paid by the public institutions. Then there was a bidding process aimed at centralising services with a "manager", particularly if the combinations were "rare". Calculations indicate (contract figure/no. of hours expected) the bid figure presumes some 45 eu/hr., so suddenly we were being offered as low as 8 and as high as 30 for those "rare" combinations. I stuck it out at 60 and often feel I get the "desperate" cases. (That rather closed one venue for me, so I concentrate on other client types).

[Edited at 2009-08-13 19:18 GMT]


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Miroslav Jeftic  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:39
English to Serbian
+ ...
Well Aug 13, 2009

Rad Graban wrote:

Miroslav Jeftic wrote:
That is really tight price for interpreting, even here in Serbia. What's more, even your original price doesn't seem too high, but for 15 pounds per hour definitely better to stay at home and translate.


Right, I'm a little bit shocked here, Miroslav. I thought I was charging/getting top rate. What is the average rate then?


It depends. In Serbia, top rates would be 35-50€ per hour, though I admit that probably not many interpreters can have a chance to charge the whole 50. Of course, some people are interpreting for somewhere between 10 and 20€ per hour.
However, I thought that the UK should be better than that, since both the standard and the expenses are higher than here.

[Edited at 2009-08-13 19:34 GMT]


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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:39
English to Slovak
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well, hoping to hear from other UK based interpreters Aug 13, 2009

Miroslav Jeftic wrote:
It depends. In Serbia, top rates would be 35-50€ per hour, though I admit that probably not many interpreters can have a chance to charge the whole 50. Of course, some people are interpreting for somewhere between 10 and 20€ per hour.
However, I thought that the UK should be better than that, since both the standard and the expenses are higher than here.


???


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erika rubinstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:39
Member (2011)
English to Russian
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28 pounds - top rate? Aug 13, 2009

I am really suprised. I dont know, what kind of interpreting you do, but professional interpreter rate starts in Geemany at 50 EUR an hour. Our courts pay 55 EUR an hour. Conference interpreting starts at 500 EUR a day. Top rates are 850-900 EUR a day.

Cleaning ladies get at least 10 EUR an hour.

[Bearbeitet am 2009-08-13 21:41 GMT]


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Sebastian Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:39
Member (2004)
German to English
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What Erika wrote applies to direct clients commissioning interpreting jobs only Aug 14, 2009

erika rubinstein wrote:

I am really suprised. I dont know, what kind of interpreting you do, but professional interpreter rate starts in Geemany at 50 EUR an hour. Our courts pay 55 EUR an hour. Conference interpreting starts at 500 EUR a day. Top rates are 850-900 EUR a day.



______

When interpreting for German agencies, from what I've heard you don't get more than EUR 30 per hour, even in court. And it can be less than that. But you mostly do get to charge travelling expenses at the full hourly rate. Anyway, let's not forget even the German courts tend to assign the pending job rather to agencies nowadays than to single interpreters.


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not worth it... Aug 14, 2009

erika rubinstein wrote:

Cleaning ladies get at least 10 EUR an hour.



Cleaning ladies charge around 12 EUR/hour in my city. Not sure, if it is worth it to work as an interpreter...


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Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
Neither dropping nor rising Aug 14, 2009

In my case, my hourly rates haven't changed....in either direction. When I pick up a new client, we typically agree to 30-40 USD per hour. My lowest paying client gives me 20 USD per hour, but I am guaranteed to make at least 40 USD when I work with them because I have a two hour minimum with this agency.

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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:39
English to Slovak
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Cleaning ladies and the rest... Aug 14, 2009

erika rubinstein wrote:
I am really suprised. I dont know, what kind of interpreting you do, but professional interpreter rate starts in Geemany at 50 EUR an hour. Our courts pay 55 EUR an hour. Conference interpreting starts at 500 EUR a day. Top rates are 850-900 EUR a day.

Cleaning ladies get at least 10 EUR an hour.

[Bearbeitet am 2009-08-13 21:41 GMT]


I think I am professional, though I'm not a court interpreter. Whatever kind of interpreting I'm doing is only my business and I do consider £28/hour to be a decent rate. My question wasn't about the average rates paid by direct clients, or the rates cleaning ladies charge; it was more about the rates offered by agencies in recent months.

Do you Erika really get 55 EUR per hour? If so, good for you. Here in the UK, not even interpreters registered with NRPSI get that much.

[Edited at 2009-08-14 22:59 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:39
English to German
+ ...
@Sara: Ouch!! Aug 14, 2009

Sara Senft wrote:

In my case, my hourly rates haven't changed....in either direction. When I pick up a new client, we typically agree to 30-40 USD per hour. My lowest paying client gives me 20 USD per hour, but I am guaranteed to make at least 40 USD when I work with them because I have a two hour minimum with this agency.


I only do phone interpreting and I am paid $ 0.90 / minute, which is $ 54.00 / hour. And I don't even have to go anywhere and dress up.


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Cecilia Gowar
United Kingdom
English to Spanish
+ ...
It will not change, I'm afraid Aug 15, 2009

That is quite a good rate Sara. Which company do you work for?
As for rates. Well, as long as there are people prepared to work for less, they will go on getting cheaper. When I first came to the UK, 20 years ago, translations were paid at 60 pounds/1000 words. And if you had to do transcription it was paid apart. These days rates are a lot lower and I have done transcription AND translation (i e translating from a recording) jobs that have been paid just as translation.
As for interpretation: I was offered face to face for 14 pounds an hour, without reembusement of transport costs, and I said no.
Do they care? No, because there are a lot of people prepared to do it, and since agencies are not concerned with proficiency or quality, just protocols and deadlines, it is not going to change.


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