What is a normal interpreting fee?
Thread poster: Lynda La Posta

Lynda La Posta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:28
Italian to English
Nov 14, 2012

Hi Everyone,

I have been offered an interpreting job but am not familiar with the rates. Can anyone help me out regarding the average rates for interpreting?

Thank you,
Lynda


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Camelia Colnic  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:28
Romanian to English
+ ...
Depends! Nov 14, 2012

I've just seen that you are in Italy. I'm not sure about the prices in Italy, but I try and give you an idea of how you can calculate your own price. The prices will be fictional in my explanations.

It depends on the type of job actually and on your experience. I would say that nowadays, it is worth asking for something between 20-30 EUR per hour plus travel expenses and travel time.
But you may think about it like that. Imagine you have that only job on that specific day, and you think about how much is the minimum you want to earn in a day. Then find out how much the job will last. If, for example, they say that it will be 1 hour job, then you could tell them that you have a minimum two hours policy and the minimum pay is 40 EUR. And if it's more than 2 hours you can tell them that whatever time is spent over the 2 hours you will calculate it for every half an hour and every half an hour is 10 EUR, for example. This way, if you stay 2 hours and 10 minutes, you get paid for 2 hours and a half.
And with the travel time, it's usually half of the amount you ask for the hour of interpreting.
You may also choose a simpler way, by calculating yourself the travel costs, and ask them for that amount. And just tell them this is the amount I want per hour and that's it.

It's your choice, but think about this. Don't sell yourself too cheap!


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:28
Russian to English
+ ...
The interpreting rates in the US are $25-$100/hr (depending on language and type of interpreting. Nov 14, 2012

There is also a 2 or 3 hour minimum -- at least. Some interpreters have half a day, or even a daily minimum.

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xxxchristela
Well, I find this very cheap Nov 14, 2012

Camelia Colnic wrote:

I've just seen that you are in Italy. I'm not sure about the prices in Italy, but I try and give you an idea of how you can calculate your own price. The prices will be fictional in my explanations.

It depends on the type of job actually and on your experience. I would say that nowadays, it is worth asking for something between 20-30 EUR per hour plus travel expenses and travel time.
But you may think about it like that. Imagine you have that only job on that specific day, and you think about how much is the minimum you want to earn in a day. Then find out how much the job will last. If, for example, they say that it will be 1 hour job, then you could tell them that you have a minimum two hours policy and the minimum pay is 40 EUR. And if it's more than 2 hours you can tell them that whatever time is spent over the 2 hours you will calculate it for every half an hour and every half an hour is 10 EUR, for example. This way, if you stay 2 hours and 10 minutes, you get paid for 2 hours and a half.
And with the travel time, it's usually half of the amount you ask for the hour of interpreting.
You may also choose a simpler way, by calculating yourself the travel costs, and ask them for that amount. And just tell them this is the amount I want per hour and that's it.

It's your choice, but think about this. Don't sell yourself too cheap!


I thought that interpreting rates in Western Europe were about €250-€600 per working day, or €125-€300 for half a day, plus travel expenses. Maybe you should ask AIIC members. I don't know if there are any on this forum.

As a translator, I ask (and get) €50 an hour.


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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Which interpreting? Nov 14, 2012

Lynda La Posta wrote:

Hi Everyone,

I have been offered an interpreting job but am not familiar with the rates. Can anyone help me out regarding the average rates for interpreting?

Thank you,
Lynda


Lynda, first thing, which kind of interpreting are you talking about? Are you aware that there is more than one interpreting mode?
How many hours, days, where? For which client (private, agency)? If you don't provide further details it is impossible to help you out!



[Modificato alle 2012-11-14 10:27 GMT]


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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Really?!? Nov 14, 2012

Camelia Colnic wrote:

I've just seen that you are in Italy. I'm not sure about the prices in Italy, but I try and give you an idea of how you can calculate your own price. The prices will be fictional in my explanations.

It depends on the type of job actually and on your experience. I would say that nowadays, it is worth asking for something between 20-30 EUR per hour plus travel expenses and travel time.
But you may think about it like that. Imagine you have that only job on that specific day, and you think about how much is the minimum you want to earn in a day. Then find out how much the job will last. If, for example, they say that it will be 1 hour job, then you could tell them that you have a minimum two hours policy and the minimum pay is 40 EUR. And if it's more than 2 hours you can tell them that whatever time is spent over the 2 hours you will calculate it for every half an hour and every half an hour is 10 EUR, for example. This way, if you stay 2 hours and 10 minutes, you get paid for 2 hours and a half.
And with the travel time, it's usually half of the amount you ask for the hour of interpreting.
You may also choose a simpler way, by calculating yourself the travel costs, and ask them for that amount. And just tell them this is the amount I want per hour and that's it.

It's your choice, but think about this. Don't sell yourself too cheap!


20-30 EUR per hour? This is already too cheap, as far as I am concerned


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:28
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
All of us are bound by competiton law Nov 14, 2012

(even aiic: http://aiic.net/ )

That said, it's really not advisable to calculate by the hour, since preparation and travel time eats into your availability for other jobs. I'd advise setting a half-day minimum. In doing so, consider your earning potential for a translation job in the same amount of time and consider that a cost of lost opportunity. Then figure out your working fee on that basis.

That said, I wouldn't consider €125 for a half day.

Hope it helps!


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Lynda La Posta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:28
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Don't even know where to begin Nov 14, 2012

Good morning Giuseppina,

Thank you for your response.

I don't know where to begin. I have been asked if I was available on a specific date, this is all I know.

It depends on the topic? Hours? Distance?

I'm not sure what kind of questions I should ask the client.

Lynda


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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Questions Nov 14, 2012

Lynda La Posta wrote:

Good morning Giuseppina,

Thank you for your response.

I don't know where to begin. I have been asked if I was available on a specific date, this is all I know.

It depends on the topic? Hours? Distance?

I'm not sure what kind of questions I should ask the client.

Lynda


Hello Lynda,

Ask the client (private, agency?):
1) Which kind of interpreting (consecutive, simultaneous)
2) Subject/Where (if it is in court, for instance, I wouldn't even try...)
3) How many hours
4) Distance/travel time

Yes, your quote does depend on all of those elements. Please read something about interpreting in general, there's tons of stuff on the Internet, otherwise you'll look very unprofessional and they might take advantage of it, plus it is never good to look unprofessional.

I know that, as we say in my dialect (translation) "Nobody is born 'learnt'", and that you have to start from somewhere, but it is always a good idea to at least know something in theory.

And hopefully you are also able to do the job, not all bilingual persons can also automatically be interpreters just because...If it is conference interpreting and you have absolutely no clue, I would suggest you do NOT even try!

Good luck!
Giusi


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Lynda La Posta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:28
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you so much Nov 14, 2012

Giuseppina,

Thank you so very much, so thorough!
Yes, I will definitely document myself before I take on this new endeavour.

...have a great day!
Lynda


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:28
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Stay away Nov 14, 2012

First of all, if you do not even have the minimum knowledge of the types of interpreting, then please stay away from interpreting in general until you take an interpreting course.

Second of all, hold your horses everyone, Camelia was talking about the public service interpreting rates in the UK. Yes, they are low, but it 's up to you which agencies you work for Sure you've all heard of the new ''Crapita'' paying as low as £16, haven't you?


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Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:28
Member (2005)
Italian to English
Not UK public service rates Nov 14, 2012

The rates quoted by Camelia are not UK PSI rates - plus they're quoted in EUR.

Diana Coada wrote:

Second of all, hold your horses everyone, Camelia was talking about the public service interpreting rates in the UK. Yes, they are low, but it 's up to you which agencies you work for Sure you've all heard of the new ''Crapita'' paying as low as £16, haven't you?


[Edited at 2012-11-14 14:23 GMT]


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:28
Portuguese to English
+ ...
@Ivana Nov 14, 2012

Yes they are unfortunately. Manchester City Council pays £14 an hour, for example. So you can imagine the ''professionals'' working for them. Camelia was not talking about consecutive, business, conference, simultaneous, etc. interpreting for sure.

As I said, it depends on us to choose who we work for and what rates we are comfortable with.


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Clay Suddath  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:28
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Interpreting rates Nov 14, 2012

I totally agree with Christela, above.

It is meanwhile crucial to your success to have some very solid experience in the field concerned. €50/hour is a very basic rate, and if the field is highly specialised (e.g., petroleum, finance, etc.) it is quickly multiplied.

While that may seem like serious money for a beginner, do not neglect such factors as the marketing necessary to find the work and most importantly, time spent researching terms prior to the event to make sure you are in prime form.

Interpreting is very demanding, and an interpreter is quite tired at the end of a full day.

It often involves travel and of course travel time which must also must be taken into consideration.

It has also been my experience that clients will often ask for just a half-day, for example, that turns into a full six hours, or a full day that goes well overtime. Make sure to include a clause for an hourly rate in the event you go beyond the agreed time period.

Be courageous, but don't get in over your head. Avoid technical fields in which you are inexperienced unless your client is fully aware of the fact and absolutely cannot find anyone better than what you can provide. If you're not familiar with orthopaedics or engineering specifications, you'd best stay away.

And as Giuseppina said above, if you don't provide further details it is impossible to help you out.

Generally speaking, social services pay very poorly as Diana has confirmed below. While it may help you to acquire experience, I doubt that you would want to make a career out of it.

Good luck in any event!


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Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:28
English to Polish
+ ...
UK rates Nov 15, 2012

Public service interpreting.

All major UK agencies pay £20-25 for public service interpreting and that includes work at courts, NHS, schools, councils and social services jobs. The £20 is more prevalent than the £25.
Some agencies add £5 per first hour to cover, as they say, travel expenses.
After the first hour (guaranteed payment) the pay is for each 15 or 30 minutes pro rata.

You can negotiate higher travel expenses occassionally, but you must ask each time. This includes travelling time fee for up to £10 in some cases, easier to achieve for same day assignments.

Telephone interpreting pays £12.60 - £20 per hour. Average is £15.00 per hour, paid by minute.


Other type of work via agencies.

Market research, focus group responses etc, where the agencies' clients are private companies - you can ask for higher rates, but nothing amazing, up to £40 per hour if you are lucky, less for longer jobs, usually £30-35 per hour.

If you hear interpreters telling you that they command much higher rates, approach them with scepticism.

Working directly for clients. Hard to find, as agencies have the near monopoly for interpreting. But if you are lucky and find direct clients you can get about £50 per hour. Do not think that this will be your regular fee, this will be an exceptionally high fee that you will be lucky to get once in a blue moon.
Unless you work in an extremely rare language.


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