Court interpreting rate - is this normal?
Thread poster: Strastran (X)

Strastran (X)
Local time: 00:19
French to English
+ ...
Apr 3, 2007

Dear all

I am to interpret in court on Thursday (in the UK), and when I mentioned my rate my contact there said 'we pay the normal NRPSI rate'. She was unable to tell me what this is as 'the court look after it'.
She then said they make a note of what time I arrive and leave and pay me on that.

Two things strike me as odd here:

1) being expected to come for a job without knowing what rate I am to be paid;
2) I have always received 3 hours minimum pay for legal interpreting and have always understood this as being the norm. Yet they plan to note my arrival and departure times.

Perhaps there is a 'standard NRPSI rate' but I am unable to find out what it is. I am a little suspicious - can anyone advise?

Any tips would be gratefully received.

Many thanks



Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:19
Member (2005)
Italian to English
Hi Patrick Apr 4, 2007

I've done quite a lot of court interpreting in the UK (Sherrif Court and Hight Court of Justiciary in Scotland) over the last few years and have found that there is no standard, applicable rate, as the rate seems to vary according to the recruiting agency. However, for court interpreting, a minimum rate of 2 hrs normally applies with seperate rates for waiting time, interpreting and travel time. In addition, travel expenses should be reinbursed in full (this applies to Scottish courtwork but I suspect that the same applies throughout the UK).

The rate may depend on other factor, e.g. if you're being paid directly by the courts or through an intermediary (i.e. agency).

I'm not a NRPSI member (have been meaning to join but never quite got round do it) but one thing I am certain of is that they do not provide recommended rates. This is confirmed in their website FAQ:

Do you publish guidelines on fees to interpreters?

No. Some organisations produce their own guidelines. Click the following to access relevant information from NUPIT (National Union of Professional Interpreters and Translators).

Hope this is of some help,



I found an interesting document on the Amicus website in relation to court interpreting fees, which should answer your question:

[Edited at 2007-04-04 02:40]

[Edited at 2007-04-04 02:45]


Ines Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:19
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Witness expenses Apr 4, 2007

Hi Patrick,

In my experience the court interpreting fees are covered by CPS. They have a standard Witness expense form which you fill in a a professional witness. They pay you not for the time you interpret but for the time you area away from your normal business. The rates I have in this form are:
2 hours bsence from practice or home - 83.50
2 - 4 hours of absence from practice or home - 117.00
4 - 6 hours of absence from practice or home - 174.00
More than 6 hours - 234.00



Strastran (X)
Local time: 00:19
French to English
+ ...
Thanks! Apr 18, 2007

Dear Ivana and Ines

Many thanks for your replies to this.

Sorry for the delayed reaction - I did try and post a reply straight away but it didn't work for some reason.

I still haven't quite sorted this out but have sent off my invoice and will keep you posted on what happens.

Many thanks again



Dagmar Cook
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:19
English to Czech
+ ...
It's all in the 'National Agreement' and the 'Terms & Conditions' Apr 22, 2007

Hi Patrick,

I suggest you do your own research.

It's very easy to find out exactly what you are entitled to as a Court interpreter; just google it (ok, to save you the job, try visiting the HM Courts Service and the Home Office web site). The relevant pdf files are available there for download.

From 26/02/07 you will receive a payment of 3 hours minimum (£85) plus any additional work and travelling time (£7.50 per 15-min period), plus public transport travelling rate of 25p per mile if you use your own car, plus any car-parking fees and road or bridge tolls. Also, the rates for overnight stays (hotel rates, subsistance and out-of-pocket expenses) are included in their rates.

In my experience, one or two Courts will try to rip you off, but most Courts work to the 'T & Cs' so no problem. Take Manchester, for instance... The Magistrates' and Crown Courts pay as per the 'T & Cs' but if you attend a Family Court hearing, arranged from their HQ in London, they have a slightly less favourable notion of the 'T & Cs'... stick with your claim, and don't give in to them! They'll pay you as per the 'T & Cs' if you persist!

Often, my travelling time is far greater than actual attendance time. It's not unusual to claim over £300 for a day's work. My normal week will contain at least three, and more usually four or five assignments.

You shouldn't need to send an invoice, since almost every Court I attend has its own claim forms to complete, and they are done at the time and submitted to the Listings Office. Payment is normally between 14 and 28 days after the assignment.

Police rates are different - more lucrative! All UK forces use the Metropolitan Police Rates, revised on 1st April each year (although it's often mid-May or even into June before they reach provincial forces). This gives different rates for weekday (normal), evening/night (150%), Saturday (150%) and Sunday (200%), plus some VERY good rates for statement and interview translation, especially when the police ask for it to be done quickly. Check out the Met Police rates.

Of course, anything reported above is hypothetical if you work through an agency - they will rip you off (commonly for more than 50% of your entitlement)... I WOULD NEVER WORK THROUGH AN AGENCY!



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