Things to bear in mind when getting a price for interpreting – Part I

Clients should make some decisions before asking for a price for an interpreting service.

The type of interpreting required. If it is for a multilingual conference, then simultaneous interpreting is the only choice possible; however, if it is for a meeting of business partners, in which only two languages are spoken, then consecutive interpreting is more suitable. For example, during a factory visit, simultaneous interpreting with bidules (a portable interpreting system) will not cause any delays as everyone will hear the transmission in the other language. However, when there is only one participant requiring the interpretation, then whisper interpreting (also known as chucotage) is the better choice.

The timetable. Often as a way to keep costs down, organisers are tempted to concentrate everything into a single day, resulting in an overloaded timetable. This could be a disastrous choice. Professional interpreters work a maximum of 7 hours a day: if your event goes on longer than this, then you will need to hire a second team. Moreover, these hours must also include a lunch break and two tea breaks. This is because of the enormous demands of interpreting: the prolonged concentration required means interpreters need regular rest to ensure they can keep working at their peak level. And it is not only the interpreters who get tired: the audience will also grow weary as the day goes on, which can have an influence on their involvement and on the success of the event.

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