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My offer was recently criticised and turned down by a potential client. The main point of his critique was that the offer was too short stating simply time, place, and languages, type of interpretation, my rate and expenses.

What do you usually write in an offer in order to make it successful? What have I omitted?

What form are you using? Should it be a simple e-mail, an attachment in WORD or a PDF-file including a separate GTC file?

Do you use cover letters?

How many pages does your average offer has?

Lastly, what are the main components of an offer of conference interpretation services?

asked 09 Mar '15, 04:35

ta_naye's gravatar image


edited 09 Mar '15, 09:07

Delete's gravatar image

Delete ♦

You could include general terms and conditions covering aspects such as...

  • professional secrecy
  • date until which background documents have to be provided to allow you to prepare
  • overtime, maximum number of hours and rate
  • date of payment
  • what happens in case of cancellation by the client X days or Y days before the event
  • prohibition of recording without your consent (and payment)
  • maximum pace of speech if a text is being read
  • travel conditions
  • conditions under which you can be released from your engagement
  • jurisdiction of the courts in case there's a litigation
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answered 09 Mar '15, 04:46

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

edited 09 Mar '15, 09:58

Gaspar, thank you very much for the detailed answer. It is indeed very helpful. However, it looks like I will end up with quite a document to provide. It would be helpful to get a general template or an example of such an offer… any idea whom could I ask.

(09 Mar '15, 07:12) ta_naye

AIIC provides a template which is only two pages long, one for the contract and one for the T&Cs, including the elements I mentioned and a few more.

(09 Mar '15, 08:07) Gaspar ♦♦

Hello Gaspar, I am not a member of this respected organisation. Would you be so kind as to send me the template via email at Many thanks in advance.

(09 Mar '15, 12:33) ta_naye

Hi Nataliya,

One thing I didn't mention for the quotes is the sales argument of being part of an organization that promotes professional ethics which all members commit to respect. Both end users and recruiting colleagues will tend to see it as an extra reason to pick you, and it really can't hurt to state that you're a committed professional.

If you have been doing simultaneous interpreting for over 20 years, it probably wouldn't be that difficult for you to join the club. Becoming an AIIC pre-candidate is a quite straight forward procedure and not a very expensive one. Or alternatively, you could join the German VKD.

Both organizations have a code of professional ethics and have a few template documents for the use of their members. Not to mention diverse events that will allow you to improve your skills and meet new people.

(10 Mar '15, 06:21) Gaspar ♦♦

Hi there :-)

I tend to 1st summarise the request/conference particulars - it helps to double check that your contact and yourself are speaking of the same thing :-):

CONF: title/topic

ORG/RECRTR : name/coordnts

INT : sim/consec

LANG: xx<>yy

DATE/HOURS: aabbbcc


TEAM: yy ints x zz booths

then "hit" them with the estimate, in a different font/colour


       xxx aiic CIs for yy days at zzz/day

       approche/déproche/rest days

       Recruitment/coordination/team heading fee

       SUB-TOTAL: a+b+c + tax = $$$


       travel y ints x x/int = x

       PD (100% or B/B  + 50%, etc) : y days at x/day = x

       SUB-TOTAL: a+ b = $$$

TOTAL: A + B = $$$

and then add a couple of paragraphs (I have a set list of such paragraphs, from which I copy and paste, covering most permutations) listing present annexes - I always send a checklist for organisers and general conditions of work WITH the estimate - as well as future ones (contracts for signature and guidelines for speakers in the conference languages) and explaining about options/confirmations and payment mode/s and deadline/s.

I always quote the annexed paragraph on cancellation in the body of the email : I once managed to get paid - on the advice of their lawyer, which I was inadvertently sent - for a cancellation, precisely because of that approach.

Good luck :-)

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answered 09 Mar '15, 09:41

msr's gravatar image


edited 09 Mar '15, 09:43

Dear MSR, thank you very much for your elaborate comments. I have my own GTC; I am not sure where I should publish them on my website or not, therefore I haven't until now. I sent to to my clients opon request. What I do not have are those annexes like you have mentioned: checklist for organisers and the guidelines for the speakers. If there is any chance at all I would be very grateful if you could possibly provide some examples via email to me at Thank you very much in advance.

(09 Mar '15, 12:38) ta_naye they are :-) &

As to sending GTC or just posting them, my advice would be to annex them to estimates - maxime to contracts: one cannot make a horse drink, but it's up to them if they don't :-) whereas posting the GTC would - IMHO - not be enough to argue presumptive knowledge, should anything go awry.

(09 Mar '15, 12:52) msr

Thank you for both links! :-)

(10 Mar '15, 04:58) ta_naye
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question asked: 09 Mar '15, 04:35

question was seen: 3,332 times

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