Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

Business Practice

ODHHS Information and Technical Assistance Series

Business Practices: Billing Considerations
(Source: Registry of Interpreter´s of the Deaf, Inc.)
About Business Practices
As the field of interpreting has evolved from an avocation to a profession, private practice interpreters have adopted methods to manage their businesses in a professional manner. The Association describes here what is current, common practice, and offers that as a standard. While the Association expects interpreters to conduct themselves ethically in their business practices, it no way dictates nor restricts what those practices are. Business practices may include but are not limited to (see RID Code of Ethics):
  • contracts
  • minimum charges
  • compensation for travel, lodging, and related expenses
  • no-show situations
  • cancellations and reductions

The agreement between the hiring party and the interpreter is a contract whether oral or written. Interpreters should make their expectations clear to the hiring party and obtain the hiring party´s agreement in advance of the job. The interpreter may use a written contract for longer assignments or for assignments requiring special arrangements such as use of additional interpreters, preparation time, or equipment.
Minimum charges
Generally, the private practice interpreter fixes an hourly rate and charges for a two to three hour minimum. The interpreter may charge a higher rate for more demanding assignments, or for short-notice requests.
When circumstances require the interpreter to make special preparations in advance of the actual interpreting task, the interpreter and hiring party agree in advance regarding compensation for that preparation time.
For situations requiring interpreting for non-continuous periods of time, for the same contractor and on the same day, the interpreter may require payment for the entire block of time.
Compensation for travel
Interpreters may consider a certain area their regular service delivery area, and not require compensation for travel. When an assignment requires travel outside that service delivery area, the interpreter may require compensation for travel. Some interpreters may require compensation based on mileage while others charge for the travel time at their hourly rate for interpreting. Both reflect portal to portal charges. When an assignment requires an overnight stay, the interpreter may require reimbursement for those expenses.
"No-show" situations
When an interpreter contracts for an assignment, commits the time, and appears, the interpreter generally charges for the contracted time, whether or not the other parties show up. The interpreter may negotiate with the hiring party on how long the interpreter will wait before declaring a "no-show" and leaving.
Cancellation or reductions
When an interpreter contracts for an assignment, commits the time, the interpreter charges for that time unless the hiring party has canceled by a pre-agreed cancellation deadline. Cancellation deadlines may vary from twenty-four hours to two weeks, depending on the circumstances of the job. If an interpreter contracts for an anticipated number of hours, but the actual situation requires less time, the interpreter generally charges for the full contracted time.
The Association believes.....
Customary practices that have evolved over many years of trial and error have become the norm for the profession. The Association believes that as interpreters manage their private practices in a professional and businesslike manner, the interpreter, deaf consumers, hiring parties, and the general public all gain a clearer understanding of interpreting business practices.