The following information should serve as a guide when hiring interpreters. As most interpreters are in private practice (freelance), the following guidelines have been developed and have become standard for the field:
The time scheduled: The interpreter is paid for the entire time for which he or she has originally been scheduled (including expected travel time (see Travel Expenses below). This includes any time when the interpreter is not actually interpreting but is on location and available to interpret, including any waiting time, breaks, and meal times. On-going assignments or contractual agreements may be negotiated to vary from this as appropriate prior to confirmation of the assignment.
Length of Assignment
Long assignments/Two or more interpreters: For lengthy assignments such as all-day conferences and long meetings, it is recommended that more than one interpreter be hired so they can switch off every 20-30 minutes. Interpreters cannot effectively interpret for lengthy periods of time; studies have shown that the quality of the information expressed through an interpreter suffers after approximately 20-30 minutes. All interpreters are to be paid their full rate for the entire time on location.
Two hour minimum: It is standard practice for interpreters to bill a two-hour minimum for any assignment which is under two hours long. These two hours do include travel time (see Travel Expenses below).
Extension of Assignment
As available: If the hiring agency needs the interpreter to continue past the contracted time and all parties agree to continue and the interpreter is available, the assignment may continue provided the following:
Appropriate authorization: The interpreter must first obtain supplemental authorization from an appropriate person in the hiring agency before continuing past the contracted time.
Mileage: The interpreter is paid mileage from portal to portal of the assignment and back. For assignments with the State of New Hampshire, mileage is paid at the current state rate utilizing appropriate state charts or the equivalent. Interpreters may use their odometer reading when submitting an invoice to claim mileage.
Driving time: Interpreters are paid their regular hourly rate for driving time.
Tolls: It is general practice (and required by state agencies) that reimbursement for tolls require submission of receipts.
48 hours notice: If an interpreter has been scheduled for an assignment and it is canceled within 48 hours (two full business days) of the actual assignment, the interpreter will bill for the entire block of time scheduled (including expected travel time). This is general practice since it is difficult for interpreters to replace assignments that have been canceled within a 48-hour period. Be aware that individual interpreter’s cancellation policies may vary.
If for any reason the interpreter cannot make an assignment, the interpreter will be responsible for making appropriate arrangements, depending on the availability of other interpreters.