escort interpretation abroad
Thread poster: Weronika Sobita

Weronika Sobita  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:22
English to Polish
+ ...
Aug 16, 2005

Hello,
I haven't got much experience in interpreting (though I do have some experience) and I want to asks my more knowledgable colleagues about escort interpretation abroad. This is the type of job that I am often offered. To be more precise - some (usually middle sized) companies ask me to accompany their employees abroad (normally UK or Italy). The trips normally do not last long, (though I was once offered a montly contract) up to a week. Still, though customers do not mind paying my regular escort interpretation rates in Poland, they do expect from me big discounts while interpreting abroad. I feel it should be otherwise, as apart from interpretation I normally also have to provide them with advice on cultural differences or even, what often happens in Rome, walk them round the city I hear quite often that escort interpreting abroad is like a free holiday, as the company already pays for flight, food and accomodation. I am willing to give discounts for long contracts, but I have to pay my bills too. In the end the monthly contract I was offered was given to a person who 'liked London' and agreed to go for 1/10 of my price As I have only 3 years of experience I do not charge nearly as much as my older colleagues, but still I have to face those dumping prices. Are there any chances for a decent income in this profession at all? Should I lower my rates?

[Edited at 2005-08-16 20:23]


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Kurt Porter  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:22
Russian to English
+ ...
Why should you give discounts at all? Aug 17, 2005

There are certain times that you may want to do it, but it should be done rarely. Your clients are taking advantage of you. So what if you get to leave your home country to go to work? Is that something you should pay for out of your own pocket? Every day that you work in Italy or the U.K. on these "good deals" are days that you are not earning your regular rates at home. Work is work. The company is obligated to pay expenses anyway.

Whether it is translation or interpretation, this is the problem with not having established rates that are in line with the rest of the service providers. Why are you charging less that more established interpreters? Does just because they have been around awhile mean that they do a better job than you? One would hope so, but that's not always the case.

Bottom line - rate dumping is not going away. You need to decide what your own bottom dollar is, home or away, and then stick to it. Should you be doing a professional job, the clients will not go away. 1/10 of already-discounted prices don't normally make good impressions anyway.

It may be time to find the right clients that value your services. Good luck with this issue.


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Rahi Moosavi  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:22
Member (2004)
Farsi (Persian) to English
+ ...
No discount Aug 17, 2005

I've done this a couple of times and no discounts were involved. Even the client didn't mention anything about it. Look at it from another angle, if you already have regular translation clients, going abroad on such missions would mean that you couldn't provide services to them and would damage your credibility, eventually it may cause business loss if repeated. So, not only a discount is ruled out but also you have to consider some sort of way to reduce the risk of loosing your other clients.

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Weronika Sobita  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:22
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
easier said than done... Aug 17, 2005

Thank you very much for your comments... It looks much more difficult though from my perspective. I do get translation and intrpretaion jobs, but not enough to live solely on it As I am young, I also have to invest in my further education and working tools continuously, as quality is my unquestionable priority. It is difficult to lose a potential job by not giving a discount. Another order may come or not, if not, I'll have to earn the money in another way. I do charge less than more experienced translators, still I do not charge below certain level - just lower within the scale. Anyway, I feel very frustrated with it at the moment. Still hoping though for some brighter days in my interpreting career.

[Edited at 2005-08-17 12:47]


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Rahi Moosavi  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:22
Member (2004)
Farsi (Persian) to English
+ ...
That's a fact Aug 17, 2005

That's a fact. I myself, am more of a translator than an interpreter and find it difficult to ignore my regulr translation assignments for once in a while interpreting jobs. That's why I only do them when the price is right.

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Tsu Dho Nimh
Local time: 23:22
English
For you, it's a business trip! Aug 17, 2005

coffeeholic wrote:
I hear quite often that escort interpreting abroad is like a free holiday, as the company already pays for flight, food and accomodation.


It's a business trip for you AND the persons you are interpreting for. It's not a holiday unless you get to set the hours and locations, and choose who you talk to. I have heard of people using one of these trips to look for jobs in the destination city, but they did it by staying a day after, at their own expense.

I am willing to give discounts for long contracts, but I have to pay my bills too.


Exactly. Even if they hired you for a 1-month assignment in Tahiti, you still have to make sure the bills from Poland get paid.


In the end the monthly contract I was offered was given to a person who 'liked London' and agreed to go for 1/10 of my price


Any company who hires based on price alone might end up with an air-head who spends more time sight-seeing than interpreting. Unless it is a city you REALLY want to visit, keep your pricing schedule and do real work.


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mcm  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:22
no discount Aug 17, 2005

I doubt the company employees for whom you'd be interpreting are getting paid less for their workdays abroad; sometimes companies pay their employees extra for foreign travel. Offering to accept a lower rate in order to do the trip might be tempting but remember that your workday isn't going to be a 9-5 type situation. You pretty much have to be available 24/7, so little vacation time will be had [even if you're accompanying them to restaurants (interpret what's on the menu), museums (a little bit of a history lesson), etc., you'll be interpreting, i.e., working the whole time]. If I were you, I wouldn't do it!

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Suzana Brailescu
Local time: 08:22
English to Romanian
+ ...
"free holiday" Aug 24, 2005

coffeeholic wrote:

I hear quite often that escort interpreting abroad is like a free holiday, as the company already pays for flight, food and accomodation.


We all know how much of a "holiday" this kind of trip is. I have even heard of things like: "We shouldn't pay you so much for this event, because dinner is included," even though we often work during dinner, as well. Any doctor can tell these brilliant business people how bad it is to eat under such stressful circumstances. Free holiday? Maybe you don't want a holiday. Maybe you don't even like that place. And even if you do, a holiday is all about relaxation and you don't get much of that, do you? I know about dumping rates, we are all confronted with that. But the question is, do you want to work almost for free? As someone said on another forum regarding rates, I'd rather have very little money because I refuse to work than have very little money because I work at very low rates.
Good luck and keep hoping! You need to find people and companies that know you deserve that money.


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Karine J.
Local time: 07:22
French to German
+ ...
No discount Aug 25, 2005

If you were employed in a company and you will have to go abroad, would you work for less money? I don´t think so.

Keep into your mind that such trips are all except "holiday", I mean this is a very hard job!!

I never proposed a discount to my customers and they never ask for it, for interpreting jobs I´m working under the motto "take it or leave it" because it is not so easy as go around the city and make some tea time with people.

This is my contribution to your question.

See you


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