Contract with an agency
Thread poster: LBlanguages

Local time: 23:46
French to English
+ ...
Feb 25, 2013


I am soon to leave an in-house translation job to work as a freelance interpreter and translator.
There is an agency currently looking for interpreters with my language combination and they have asked that I sign a contract. However they only pay £10 per hour (£20 for the first hour).
This does not seem much to offer a qualified interpreter, am I in a position to negociate?
If not, would I be able to request a higher rate further down the line once established?

Any advise would be much appreciated!


ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:46
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Negotiate on Fringe Benefits Feb 25, 2013

I say you should be able to negotiate. If the pay is fixed, then work on the fringe benefits. If I were you, I would ask to be reimbursed for my commute, for example. Lunch can be another option to negotiate upon. Nothing to lose if they say no.

"If not, would I be able to request a higher rate further down the line once established?"
You are probably in a better position to negotiate right now than further down the line.


Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:46
Dutch to English
+ ...
Very low rates Feb 26, 2013

I saw you lived in the UK. A cleaner earns 10 pounds an hour?!?

Just a thought.


Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Why would you? Feb 26, 2013 the short answer to this. As a freelance interpreter and translator, you are free to work with any agency you please and believe me, there are plenty out there.
Why would you sign a contract with the first agency that came along, if the terms are not satisfactory? 10 pounds per hour as Marijke says is what someone earns to clean your house. A hairdresser earns more (not that being a hairdresser is to be sniffed at but being a professional interpreter requires in my opinion more skill and investment).

You don't say what your language combinations are but I don't suppose that matters. If I were you, I'd shop around and enjoy the freedom of choice that being freelance gives you.

Perhaps you could have a look at community rates here on proz to see what other freelance interpreters earn if you don't know how to set a price by freelance standards for your work. Don't bank on starting with a client and then raising your rate with them. This may happen, but usually making your service more expensive when a client's got used to a lower price is a good way of chasing a client away.

To me there aren't any fringe benefits they could possible offer to make up for this rate. They should be paying your travel expenses anyway. If you are a freelance translator/interpreter you need to charge a price that's acceptable bearing in mind the fact that you have to provide all your fringe benefits yourself. You won't get paid holidays and paid sick leave after all so you need to make the pay you get worth your while.

By all means, negotiate with the company in question. Find some facts and figures to substantiate your negotiation with (I have never worked as an interpreter so I don't know what an hourly rate should be - sorry) and go back to them with a counter-offer but be prepared to walk away if they don't offer an acceptable price. Remember also that with interpreting, you're not only busy when you're there, you often have to prepare for an interpreting job and you don't get paid for that technically so you have to incorporate that into your hourly rate.

Good luck!


Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:46
Chinese to English
Usually rates are not written into the contract Feb 26, 2013

Signing the contract doesn't commit you to anything. (If it does, don't sign it!) It's just a necessary bit of paperwork before the agency can offer you work.

Usually the contract will not set rates, it will leave that open to negotiation.

You can certainly sign the contract, let the company know that you're unlikely to work for that rate, then wait for them to call. If/when they do call, start the negotiation in earnest. If they are coming to you, they need you.


Local time: 23:46
French to English
+ ...
thank you Mar 9, 2013

Thank you for all your comments and advise.
I agree, it is a very low rate and the only benefit would be gaining experience.
I will ask if the rate is negotiable and take it from there.

thanks againicon_smile.gif


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