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What are really interpreter fees?


There seems to be a mystique around interpreters’ fees; how do interpreters set them, how they charge, what they charge for; what is it that they do I thought that, as head of IAPTI’s Interpreters Committee, and practicing professional interpreter, I should cover the issue This will clarify what we do, and educate the public

First, because semantics matter, and they carry a tremendous psychological weight, notice I am referring to interpreters’ fees, not rates In legal terms, a fee is “a charge…for an official or professional service…” (Black’s Law Dictionary Sixth Edition, West Publishing CO 1990 p 614) A rate is an “…amount of charge or payment… for a service open to all and upon the same terms…” and it goes to say: “a rate which applies to… a specific commodity alone…” (Black’s Law Dictionary Sixth Edition, West Publishing CO 1990 p 1261) Interpreting is a professional service, and professional services are remunerated by the payment of fees Rates apply to much commercial services offered to the public, such as airfare rates for example  Rates are paid for commodities Interpreting services, just like translations, are not commodities While a consumer pays a rate for a service within an industry, a client pays a [...]


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The ideal world of direct clients (Alessandra Vita)

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What are really interpreter fees?

There seems to be a mystique around interpreters’ fees; how do interpreters set them, how they charge, what they charge for; what is it that they do. I thought that, as head of IAPTI’s Interpreters Committee, and practicing professional interpreter, I should cover the issue. This will clarify what we do, and educate the public. […]

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The Hierarchy of Translators (Hierarchy, What Hierarchy?)

The fact that we translators have no professional hierarchy (or, at least not the hierarchy that we deserve), need not be a source of useless griping or sterile debates on translation sites and lists. That we lack professional hierarchy becomes evident: when the deadline is of key importance (above all, in terms of the genuine […]

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A passion for language (Aurora Humarán)

I don’t have any statistics on this or anything, but my intuition tells me that few people go through life as obsessed with their profession as translators and interpreters. Any of our relatives or friends would surely confirm this. Without a doubt, we spend a large part of our time immersed in our main tool: […]

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