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How do interpreters handle fees for very long engagements involving travel, i.e. 3+ weeks, where one might have idle days on weekends and such?

asked 30 Nov '16, 16:37

Adrian%20Lee%20Dunbar's gravatar image

Adrian Lee D...

On payment terms: I'd ask an -at least partial- advance payment. I could live with not having my fees paid until a few weeks after the job. But I'd like to avoid to have to tap into my own savings to pay for my airfare, hotel and per diem for those three weeks.

On the price structure: Either I get to travel back home for the week-end (in which case, travel time is billed too), or the time off is too short to allow me to touch base. In the latter case, time spent away from my loved ones is a professional constraint... even if it means having to stay in a beach resort in Cancun. So those days count as work too and will have to be paid for. Whether full price or half price depends very much on the market.

The EU for instance would pay 50% of my daily rate for travel days (e.g. if I have to make a 300km train ride the day before my assignment, which makes me unavailable for other clients). If I'm not mistaken, off days when you can't return to your base are paid the same, plus the hotel and per diem obviously. From what I've heard, expectations for travel days are even higher in the US.

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answered 01 Dec '16, 04:05

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

Is this a private market job? If it is, you're very lucky and whether you charge for travel days and rest days is entirely up to you. I know I would, with the possible exception of rest days if the location and the hotel are propicious. At any rate it would be difficult to do without a full perdiem for each rest day.

Now, this job sounds like what the UN or one of its agencies would offer. If that is the case, the answer is clear-cut: you are not to negotiate anything but abide by the AIIC-UN agreement that applies to all interpreters, not just AIIC members, freelancing for the UN.

Be aware that some UN agencies will try and negotiate individual terms through the back door. This, however, is a clear violation of the agreement and must be reported ASAP to the AIIC Negotiating Delegation.

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answered 01 Dec '16, 05:12

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

Private market, consecutive, for a world-famous USA corporation in its China business lines. I've done related things from time to time, but they had us doing 7 working days a week for weeks on end. (corporate America). This will usually involve living near an exurban corporate headquarters in Trump country USA for several weeks.

It sounds like in this situation that the standard thing to do is for interpreters to either get a weekend flight back like consultants do, or if you live out there, then weekends are paid days, too? I looked at the AIIC agreement but didn't see what the practice is for the public sector - what do they do in these cases?

(01 Dec '16, 11:02) Adrian Lee D...

In the UN sector, week-ends spent out of town as part of week-long assignments are paid. Look for references to the seven-day weekly calendar and specific provisions for the "sixth and seventh days" in the AIIC-UN Agreement

By reference to the seven-day weekly calendar, the sixth and seventh days shall also be paid to interpreters when they are under contract outside their professional domicile.

Similarly, such sixth and/or seventh days shall be paid to interpreters under contract at their professional domicile if the employing Organization has requested them, either at the time of the firm offer or thereafter, to be available to work on those days. Such days shall be paid irrespective of whether any such interpreter is actually assigned to work on those days.

Since yours is a private market gig, it's up to you to negotiate the best terms. I've had cases where we flew out on Friday and back in on Sunday night. Personally I'm more inclined to stay put at the client's expense over the week-end.

(01 Dec '16, 14:35) Vincent Buck

Hi Adrian, When I worked for the US State Department on long assignments, we were paid every day we were on assignment, including travel days, rest days, weekends working or not, etc., all at 100% of our daily fee. So if it took me 1 day to travel to and 2 days to travel back from an assigment in Russia, plus a rest day before I worked, I got paid 100% of all 4 days plus any days worked. Of course, I was on call 24/7, though in practice I worked reasonable amounts.

On the private market, I negotiated similar conditions (though with better rates), as State Department is considered the basis for working conditions since they are the largest employer of interpreters in the country. It's always useful to have something bigger than just you to use as an example!

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answered 11 Dec '16, 11:44

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question asked: 30 Nov '16, 16:37

question was seen: 1,513 times

last updated: 11 Dec '16, 11:44 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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