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And if they're working as freelancers and couldn't be bothered with the 'legal' age, when on average do conference interpreters retire? Does AIIC have anything to say about this? Survey findings?

asked 16 Oct '11, 19:56

silvia-c's gravatar image


edited 17 Oct '11, 01:26

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

As stated above, there isn't a legal retirement age for a conference interpreter.

It's true, as Sirpa said, that some institutions stop recruiting freelance interpreters over 65 years. That said, it doesn't mean that those colleagues stop working, on the contrary. They carry on working on the private market.

My personal take is that one should retire on time before your performance starts suffering, and leave some space to young interpreters who also need to work. To be able to do that interpreters should start thinking well in advance about saving for their pensions so as to retire at a reasonable age with a reasonable revenue.

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answered 26 Oct '11, 20:04

Marta%20Piera%20Marin's gravatar image

Marta Piera ...

edited 26 Oct '11, 20:13


A colleague once told me that she had agreed with her best friend that they would tell each other when it was time to go. The day the colleague told her friend that she should stop, they had an argument and they are no longer friends. :-(

(26 Oct '11, 20:08) Angela

A couple colleagues have been known to retire only after dropping dead in the booth... Needless to say, such fortitude is very much frowned upon.

(26 Oct '11, 20:25) Vincent Buck

There is no legal retirement age for self-employed in general (interpreters included).

You can work as long as you feel fit and as long as the "market" feels that you offer good quality. I know colleagues who are about 70 years old and they are excellent interpreters.

But: according to aiic's statistical survey (, from the age of 60 the number of days an interpreter works on the private market goes down.

Colleagues who are about to retire, have given me the following reasons for it:

  • Some interpreters just choose to work and travel less. That doesn't mean that they stop working, but they choose the conferences they like. (lucky them!)

  • Usually the client or consultant interpreter who recruits you is a little bit older than you. When he retires, you may loose the contact to that client.

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answered 18 Oct '11, 22:02

Angela's gravatar image


The European Commission does not give contracts to freelance interpreters over 65 years. Many people are not happy about this but the explanation is that since staff interpreters have to retire at 65 (although they might in some cases continue until 67), it would be unfair to let freelance colleagues go on working beyond that age.

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answered 26 Oct '11, 15:27

Sirpa's gravatar image


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question asked: 16 Oct '11, 19:56

question was seen: 5,090 times

last updated: 26 Oct '11, 20:25 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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