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Hello everyone,

I'm a Paris-based conference interpreter for the TR booth. A translation agency from Brussels asked me a quote for a two-day consecutive interpreting assignment between EN < > TR in London, in May--I will be the only interpreter and they will cover the accommodation and travel expenses.

I have no idea about the rates practiced by the colleagues in the UK, let alone in the TR booth. There are no AIIC members with TR in the UK, so I thought I would ask for some help here: I would appreciate if anyone has an idea about consecutive rates in London.

Many thanks.

asked 14 Apr '12, 11:00

TR%20Europe's gravatar image

TR Europe

edited 14 Apr '12, 14:51

Delete's gravatar image

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Thank you to all who took the time to answer. However, as interpreting students and budding interpreters, we have always been told by our senior colleagues that there were some professional market rates to be respected, that we were a part of a community, especially for the "exotic" booths such as TR, and also depending on the country. That's why I turned to this platform. In any case, I am taking note of what has been said.

(15 Apr '12, 05:10) TR Europe
(15 Apr '12, 08:17) msr

Dear colleague,

I agree with @Danielle's thinking. You should set your own rate according to what you need to earn for a day's work (so that you run a profitable operation). It does not really matter what "the rates practiced by colleagues" in a given place or even booth are. And why base your decision on what those supposed rates are in London? Why not go by what the supposedly "usual rate" in Brussels or in Turkey is? They are calling on you in Paris from Brussels to work in London - your combination and skills must be very special. So charge what you need to charge to make it worth your while! You will be traveling for hours to get where they need you to be, it seems you will be working long days, you will have to prepare ahead of the assignment - my suggestion is charge a fee that will cover all those hours you put into it.

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answered 14 Apr '12, 13:02

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edited 15 Apr '12, 11:13

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

Dear colleague,

I don't think this site is there to give you "rates", as you are the one to decide what to charge for your work basically. You may want to check what conference interpreters have been offered for the London Olympics for example, it might be a good benchmark. Otherwise, London and Paris having pretty much the same cost of living, you could quote your usual parisian honorarium.

However, if you are going to be the only interpreter, do check the duration of the job. You have no guarantee that an agency will stick to the maximum recommended by professional associations of 6 hours/day, and if you are indeed on your own during the whole day, even in consecutive, I think that this warrants a surcharge, as the agency should really put 2 interpreters. Good luck!

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answered 14 Apr '12, 11:33

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Hi, I agree to practically everything that @Oliver, @Danielle, @Vincent, etc. said. You should always go for prices/honorariums which make your work sustainable and profitable! By the way: that agency might ask you for other assignments at other venues in other countries in the future, and you will certainly not want to adapt "your price" according to the country, I reckon. But I'd also admit that there is a valid reason why one might want to enquire about the honorariums/fees in other countries, and that is because he/she does not want to be far below the quotes that local interpreters would hand in (if it's higher than what he/she'd have quoted anyway, the job is just more profitable and that's not a bad perspective at all). I'd recommend you to call one or two colleagues (e.g. from aiic) there and ask them. Best regards Angelika

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answered 14 Apr '12, 15:20

Angelika's gravatar image


edited 15 Apr '12, 11:14

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

For an immediate decision, I'd recommend the following considerations (in addition to the excellent recommendations made already by other colleagues): Take the highest rate you could earn where you usually work on the given date as your "opportunity cost", then add approx. 25% for solo work (cf. caveat raised by @Danielle!) and a realistic surcharge for the additional preparation necessary if the meeting is technical. What you should also get is some type of per diem to cover the cost of meals, room service at the hotel and other expenses you might have in addition to accomodation and travel expenses (which will be covered by the agency). You can also factor in the fact that there are not that many interpreters available with your qualification and language combination.

In order to develop a solid, forward-looking business strategy, I suggest that you list your yearly business and personal expenses your work as an interpreter has to cover and track the time you actually put into your professional activities so you can run a profitability calculation and see how much you actually have to make in order to cover expenses AND make some profit - as this is an important reason why we work at all. Good luck!

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answered 15 Apr '12, 08:20

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edited 15 Apr '12, 12:14

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

If you're a freelance conference interpreter you're also an economic operator. As an economic operator you should have a pricing model. Needless to say that the pricing model will be based on a number of factors, including what the going rate is. Rates are not set. You as an economic operator set them. You don't want anyone else doing that for you. And by the way 'agencies' asking for quotes for interpreting services are generally clueless about interpreting so you'll want to be careful as to what the assignment entails exactly.

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answered 14 Apr '12, 15:02

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

To add to this very interesting debate, I recommend an article on the written by Julia BÖHM entitled Budgeting Time and Costs for Professional Conference Interpreters: Who wants to be a Millionaire? .

In the article, the author attempts to find out if there is a good balance between our inputs into a job (in this case interpretation) and the income that we generate from this input.

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answered 15 Apr '12, 18:56

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edited 16 Apr '12, 03:18

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

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question asked: 14 Apr '12, 11:00

question was seen: 7,935 times

last updated: 16 Apr '12, 03:18 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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