Escort Interpreting - Need Feedback re: rates
Thread poster: Sandra Alboum

Sandra Alboum  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:39
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
May 31, 2005

Hi.

I've been approached by an agency that I work for with regularity to perhaps accompany some foreign visitors around for 12 days to Texas and Oklahoma for visits to specific types of plants. This agency's client is a US government agency.

They have indicated that there will be 4 visitors, split into two groups, with one interpreter accompanying each group.

The agency will be paying a per diem and all travel.

I was wondering if anyone out there has done similar work, and if so, what the rates tend to run. They're going to propose a per day rate, and I don't want to have a heart attack when they do (if this actually comes through).

The language combination is SpanishEnglish.

Comments are appreciated.

Thanks!
Sandra


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José Luis Villanueva-Senchuk  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 14:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Interesting assignment :-) Jun 1, 2005

Hola:

I would not go for less than 400 USD per day plus per diem (accom. single room, lunch and dinner) and travel expenses. What type of facilities? If nuclear or tech. or military, should be more. Is it about cattle and you are not familiar, charge more and get a partner.

This sort of consecutive assignments may be more than a acceptable burden when working alone. If the principals intend to do non-stop visits and chats at each visit every day, one interpreter will NOT suffice.

If they just want one interpreter because they know that it is a light day(1) with "repetitive visits" - you end up knowing the principals script by the second day if not by the end of the first day - then one might think about it. Otherwise it is not possible to work and focus from 8 to 1700, every day, for 12 consecutive days.

(1) Breakfast -> travel to facility -> meet the counterpart and light tour of facility (by the second visit you know your principals' speech and type of questions/what they look for --> lunch (you rest) --> visits --> rest

I interpreted for a German engineer two weeks ago. We meet at the hotel at 900 hours and finished at 1800 hours. BUT... 50 minute drive to first factory, no work. Visit to first plant less than 90 minutes. Not a lot of interpretation, he was checking the machines most of the time. Drive to lunch for 30 minutes, lunch for +90 minutes - small easy chat, no intellectual interpreting work. Drove for 20 minutes to the large plant and conducted a seminar about blades (paper factory)... A lot of interaction from audience, knew the subject well, was "easy".

If you have the above scenario, you can do it by yourself.

Hope you followed my train of thought

Cheers,

JL


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Anton Taras  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:39
English to Russian
+ ...
...not really an advice Jun 1, 2005

In the United States the rates for this service vary from $ 30 to $ 100 per hour. It depends on your skills and the complicity of the offered work (interpreting at an interactive training should cost more than doing the same thing for a group of foreign students.) Besides, I usually consider the customer’s ability to pay. I would charge a state agency or a successful businessman more than a random tourist. However, if there is a chance that a customer may need the same service in future, it is reasonable to charge him less. This way you get patrons.

I think you should find out will they use a lot of technical language and then estimate from it but don’t charge too much – it sounds like an averagely priced job.

Hope this was helpful.

P.S. Never worked in U.S. though In my country I would charge $ 80 per day for this job (once I had a very similar one) but this is not your case, the rates in US are much higher


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sandra: Jun 1, 2005

I think José Luis gave you excellent advice. I would not charge any less than $400 a day for such a job, plus a per diem.
Also, get as much information about it ahead of time, I cannot stress how important it is to do team interpreting in situations like this. Unless it's an easy, on-off assignment like the one that José Luis described, it's impossible to do by yourself. Sometimes in this time of jobs, people expect you to interpret even during lunch. I don't know about you, but I get cranky if I don't eat, my brain doesn't function without food. If you have a buddy, you can alternate, and everyone gets a lunch break (don't forget bathroom breaks too). It depends of how intensive the interpretation will be, and for how long.
It can be a great job! Good luck to you.
Saludos,
teju


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Kevin Kelly  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:39
Member (2005)
Russian to English
+ ...
Follow JL's advice Jun 1, 2005

I have done a LOT of interpreting in exactly the situation you describe. Although the rates at which I worked used to be much lower, now I would not think of accepting such an assignment for under $500/day, with a clear understanding that any social/additional interpreting beyond a standard workday would be charged extra.

Regardless of the subject matter, these kinds of jobs tend to turn into marathons, often involving much more that just interpreting and the consecutive mode does not make it any easier for one person to bear the load.

I would follow JL's advice...

Kevin


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José Luis Villanueva-Senchuk  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 14:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
How did it go? Jun 3, 2005

Hola, Sandra.

¿Cómo fue? How did it go?

Did you get the assignment?

Happy weekend!

JL


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Sandra Alboum  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:39
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Still no word. Jun 3, 2005

Yes, the assignment theoretically begins on 6/13, for 12 days, but there's still no word on price or anything.

Geez!


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Estefanía González  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:39
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
What about Germany? Jun 9, 2005

Hi everyone!

Do you know, which is the price normally paid in Germany for a day of escort interpreting? What about the hourly rate?

Thanks in advance.

Estefanía


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Sandra Alboum  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:39
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The end of the story Jun 9, 2005

Hi all!

Well, they got back to me this week with a price. In the end, it was going to be 11 days trekking all over the country with these clients. The client offered $300/day plus a $45 per diem.

Seeing as that's less than my *local* per day rate, I turned it down.

I just couldn't justify traveling for 11 days non-stop and working long days for this (paltry) rate.

Comments?
Sandra


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José Luis Villanueva-Senchuk  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 14:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Many people would have said "take it" Jun 10, 2005

Hola:

If you have a steady flow of work, if you do not "need" (we always do )the money, you did the right thing.

The mere fact that you are going to be away for over two work weeks translates into leaving your steady clients alone for said time. Unless the client was taking you to a dream place and you said "cost/benefit/knowing this spot" is worth it, you did the right thing, but not for 300/day.

If it had been 400 + 45 and a new nice place to go to (Hawaii, Fiji, Pukhet or the like ), they one could have said "Sandra....c'mon!" But for 345 and a strenuous agenda ... you did what I would have done.

My devaluated two cents!

JL


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Sandra Alboum  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:39
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hawaii? I would have gone for half the rate. Jun 10, 2005

But North Dakota? Nebraska?

I wonder who they got for it. I guess they got someone who doesn't have regular clients. I suppose that if you don't have any particularly steady work, this would be great. But for those of us who do have steady work, and who live in an expensive part of the country (as I do), this rate was pretty low.

In any case, I would imagine that after visiting these poultry processing plants, I would have wound up turning vegetarian, and I love chicken so much ... maybe I wasn't a good fit


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