Atlas offer a broad range of different interpreting services, and have a good deal of experience with different types of interpreting assignments, but regardless of which type(s) of interpreting you offer, here are some tips to make sure you remain a popular interpreter with your clients and become their ‘go-to’ person in your language and service combination.
Be up front and honest with your rates, and make your client aware of any other costs involved with an assignment. Don’t be afraid to mention things like travel expenses and subsistence costs – clients should cover these if necessary and if they’re not willing to do so, then it’s probably worth reconsidering your working relationship with the client. Is your rate a daily or an hourly rate? And does it include travel time? At Atlas, we always prefer to go with a daily rate, no matter how long or short an assignment is. We also do not pay for travel time (though we do cover travel costs). Even if an assignment is only expected to last a couple of hours we like to agree a rate for the interpreter’s time for the whole day, so that if the assignment overruns, the time is covered. Also, the interpreter will not have any other appointments to get to that day, so will not have to leave early in the event that the assignment goes on for longer than expected. Usually the first stage of any interpreting assignment involves budgeting, and by being clear about your costs, you make the job of your client that much simpler. Of course, do disclose overtime rates and cancellation costs in the event that things change.
Being quick to respond to emails and phone calls will also go a long way towards increasing your popularity with clients. As with many assignments, interpreting jobs can be urgent in nature, and giving your client a prompt response will help move the project along smoothly – and they’ll be thankful for it even if they don’t mention it!
Once costs are agreed and the assignment is confirmed, doing some groundwork and preparation will help you to do the best possible job. Asking your client for any background or supporting materials demonstrates a willingness to go the extra mile and an attention to detail. All of this feeds back into the quality you will deliver on-site, and will raise your standing with your client or agency. Arriving in plenty of time is absolutely vital. Turning up late will probably damage your relationship with your client, so be sure to plan your journey well in advance and try to arrive half an hour early if possible.
Once the assignment is complete, check in with your client to let them know how the assignment went and to see if they had any feedback to offer from their side. If there’s anything that happened during the assignment the client should know about, tell them. Do you think there may be future requirement for interpreting, translation or any other services? Let your client know this (and your availability for any potential future assignments) as it shows a willingness to promote the services of your client, and will make it clear you are happy to work on similar assignments.
Have we missed anything? Or is there anything that we, from an agency’s perspective, can do better to improve working relations with interpreters? Please let us know – either by leaving us a comment or having a chat with us in that little ‘chat now’ box at the corner of your screen.