How to charge for interpretation involving flights & overnight stay?
Thread poster: bochkor

Local time: 10:50
English to German
+ ...
Nov 22, 2002

I have just received an offer for an on-site interpretation for a wedding next year. A message was left on my answering machine. It\'s in another state, but here in the U.S., so I would appreciate a reply from U.S.-based colleagues who have been in the same situation before. I\'ll have to fly to that wedding and stay there for 2 nights which is 3 days.

My question is: how far can I go when charging?

I mean, I would certainly charge my normal hourly rate with a minimum. However, the standard for the local (or small job) minimum is only 2 hours (max. 3), but here I\'m sacrificing 24 hours of my time. So how much can I raise this minimum to? What is the standard? 8 hours or more?

Also, I realize that there are sometimes half-day or (full) daily rates. But what I don\'t know is, if a translator is supposed to offer a discount in these 2 cases or do they just mean a 4- or 8-hour minimum, that is just multiply my hourly rate by 4 or 8? So is a discount customary or not? What is the standard?

In addition, half-day or daily rates can refer to a local job, just one that takes up half a day or a full day, but then you go home. However, in this case I would have to stay overnight, so there\'s a point to charge some extra for that, right? But again, is it customary to charge for all of it or is a discount better suited? And if so, then how much of a discount?

Furthermore, how about travel time? Again, locally I charge my hourly rate for travel time. However, is it acceptable in this case to charge for the hours I\'m flying, then the cab rides every day round trip, wherever we go?

All this, of course, including full room & board, air & ground transportation fares. These are expenses which are naturally their responsibility.

So what do I tell this groom who might call back any moment?

So who has done some interpretation in the U.S. involving long-distance travel and overnight stay? I\'d like to hear from you.

Thank you in advance for your advice and comments!


Rob Albon  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:50
Japanese to English
+ ...
Minimum of airfare, lodging: weigh additional fees against other factors Jan 13, 2003

I assume this is to late for your wedding, but here goes:

You should expect travel (plane ticket or expenses if you drive) and lodging (hotel) and hourly pay for hours you work. I would just charge a flat daily rate if it is going to be more than a few hours or if its going to be a complicated schedule that is going to be hard to keep track of.

You can ask for rental car (especially if it is a remote location) and per diem (especially if you are in some expensive resort location).

If they are well off, and you are actually going to have to sacrifice another assignment, charge for opportunity time, i.e., each day away from work, and not each hour actually worked. Be honest: if you don\'t have work piling up on your desk that you will have to sacrifice, you can consider the travel to a picturesque location, the festivities, as compensation for opportunity costs.

If this is a family obligation, friend, etc., tell them you can\'t afford the trip unless they pay airfare and hotel, but I wouldn\'t nickel and dime them with hourly/daily pay: it is a wedding and you should give a gift anyway: if your relative is rich, they will probably give you more than you would charge, if they are poor, they need the help so this is your chance to be generous.

If in the states, call a local photographer and ask them about their rates for such an event. I\'m sure the wedding party is hiring a photographer. If your price is comparable to his, the wedding party shouldn\'t complain.

Good luck,

Rob (


On 2002-11-22 20:34, bochkor wrote: I would appreciate a reply from U.S.-based colleagues who have been in the same situation before. I\'ll have to fly to that wedding and stay there for 2 nights which is 3 days...

[ This Message was edited byicon_eek.gifn2003-01-13 12:38]

[ This Message was edited by:on2003-01-13 12:42]


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