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Posted on16 September 2013

Can I just book an interpreter for an hour? NO – but you could consider telephone interpreting…

Face-to-face interpreting services at Atlas are booked based on a daily rate and in exceptional circumstances a half-day rate.

We are often asked if an interpreter can be booked by the hour and unfortunately we have to say no. This is because we want to be fair to the interpreters who are working with us.

Let me give you an example…

An interpreter is needed for a court case. We have been told that the case will be heard between 11am and 12pm so a solicitor would like to book the interpreter for 2 hours from 10.45am (so that they have time for a quick briefing before and after the appointment). A common scenario will be that the interpreter arrives at the court at 10.30am (nice and punctual) and meets with the solicitor. They are briefed about the work and then wait for their turn to go into court. Unfortunately the ‘quick case’ that was due to finish before theirs overruns by an hour. When their case is actually heard there are a few problems and the interpreter is asked to stay later. As the interpreter was told that this was only a 2 hour assignment they have booked themselves to do another interpreting job nearby for a different client – who should they let down? The client they are booked in for who would be hard pushed to find another suitable interpreter at such short notice, or the court client that they have been working with for the last hour?  It is an impossible decision and one we do not want our interpreters to have to face.

Telephone Interpreting

This, of course, is just one example. There are some instances where interpreters have turned up to appointments only to be told that they are not needed. The interpreter (having turned down other work offers for that day) then goes home and has to write the day off…

We prefer to charge our clients (and pay our interpreters) a daily rate which covers all eventualities.  This daily rate also includes travel time which we know a lot of our competitors charge extra for (I don’t know about you, but I don’t get paid extra for the time it takes me to travel to work!).

‘But,’ I hear you say, ‘I only need an interpreter to come to my office and help me with a telephone meeting I have with my client in Germany. The phone call will really only last for 10 minutes maximum – why should I have to pay for a whole day’s work?!’

Well, in this case you don’t! Our 24 hour telephone interpreting service could be just what you need! The interpreter does not need to come to your office. Instead you can set up a telephone call between yourself, your client and the interpreter – it’s easy, fast and much cheaper than paying for an interpreter to come to your office and sit next to you while you are making the call.

As you can see there are lots of different scenarios when an interpreter is needed (face-to-face or on the telephone). The Project Managers here at Atlas are here to assist you and will always give you the option they feel is best suited to your requirements. If we think a telephone interpreter will be best for your situation we will tell you! A happy customer is (hopefully) a regular customer and we believe that by being fair we will build up lasting relationships with new and existing clients.

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