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How much do interpreters earn ?

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How much do interpreters earn ?

Postby Bolua » Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:11 pm

Hi,

That is my question...
Yes, I know, it all depends on who employs you, how many days you work, what your languages are and where you live, but still, I would really appreciate if anyone could offer even tentative ballpark salary ranges for a recent graduate and a senior interpreter.
I mean, that's what my parents always ask me, I need to give them at least some idea of just how much I might earn if everything goes well...

So, Didine, Andy, how much do you earn ? :D :oops: Ok then, how much do "they" earn ? :lol:

Thank you :wink:
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Postby didine » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:08 am

Teachers at ESIT recommended we charge €650/day for simultaneous and €800/day for consecutive on the Paris private market. Bear in mind that half of your gross income goes straight to URSSAF.

Freelancers working for the European institutions are divided into two categories:
- so called "beginners" (i.e. those who have worked under 100 days for international organisations): €285/day (net)
- experienced interpreters (more than 100 days): €368/day (net).
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Postby Bolua » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:44 am

Thanks Didine, now we're talking !
How come they charge more for consecutive than for simultaneous ? I would have guessed the opposite, seeing that simultaneous is supposed to be harder...
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Postby didine » Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:03 pm

Bolua wrote:How come they charge more for consecutive than for simultaneous ?

Most of the time, you're on your own when you do consecutive, while you always have at least one boothmate when doing simultaneous. If another interpreter is recruited to do consecutive with you, you should charge less than if you were on your own.

Bolua wrote:I would have guessed the opposite, seeing that simultaneous is supposed to be harder...

It all depends! Some find consecutive harder than simultaneous.
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salary or fee

Postby andy » Sun Jun 17, 2007 7:03 pm

hi bolua,

you say "salary" but actually most interpreters are freelance and not employed. So the figure Didine quotes above is for one day, but the interpeter earning it will not work every day. In fact most freelance interpreters consider 60-120 days per year a good year. (Depending on the market you work on and how good or experienced you are). Freelance interpreters don't get sick pay, or paid holiday. The EU pays 450 euro gross, 330 net of tax to freelancers.

Staff interpreters' pay in the EU is publicly available and will be on the EU institutions' websites somewhere. I think the same is true of the UN organisations.

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Postby guillaumimoso » Sat Jan 31, 2009 3:08 pm

Hello!

Here's my 2 cents' worth contribution: I found this article on the AIIC Website, about rates per diem on both the institutional and private markets, but that was back in 2005-06:

"In the Agreement sector, mean lower and upper range remunerations (€ 431/€ 542) were highest in countries belonging to the European Union, but also in Switzerland, thanks to work for European institutions (mostly second category).

In the Private Market sector, world average lower and upper remunerations were at € 502/€ 615. Average remunerations levels were highest in Switzerland (mean lower rate € 655/mean upper rate € 1133), Germany (€ 655/ € 868) and France (€ 587/€ 791)."

But they don't specify if it's for consecutive or simultaneous, although I suspect most of the market is about simultaneous interpreting...

So for the Paris private market, ESIT teachers recommend to charge 650 for simultaneous, and 800 for consecutive...Any ideas about other cities like Brussels (where the private market is also very active apparently), or even in Asia? (where I would like to go back and work...)

Thanks for your help!
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Postby Tomato_Sauce » Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:21 pm

Do more languages or more sought after languages earn you more?
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money

Postby bonzarey » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:59 pm

Why do your parents need to know how much money you're going to earn?

I would tell my parents that my happiness is what counts, especially at the beginning! :D

I don't expect to become a millionnaire any time soon!
On ne fait bien les choses que si l'on a très envie de les faire
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Re: Bureaucracy

Postby Aymeric » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:35 pm

williamson wrote:What they will not teach you at any interpreter school is that freelancers are "business-people" and it is up to you to negotiate. On the free market, it is your rate and it is up to you to stick by your rate, even if you loose a customer. Better to end up with a handful of well-paying customers, than with customers who pay peanuts (temporary employment agencies).
Not all European social security is as expensive as French social security and not all business forms (sàrl, s.a., kft, ltd, llp) cost as much money to start. Some countries are more business-minded and less bureaucratic.


I'm sorry but your teachers do tell you about that. At lest at Westminster and ESIT. And it seems to me that the 'free market' you describe is a rather vague generalisation which puts professional conference interpreters and university language teachers in the same basket, while they definitely don't work under the same conditions.

Also, I don't think you need to open a business to be a freelance interpreter. At least not in the UK...
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Postby Ulrike » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:14 am

In some countries you are indeed treated as a company (I am myself registered as a one-person company). And also the conditions on the "free market" vary from country to country. Where I had been working the last years, it was pretty much as Williamsons describes..... It's a question of supply and demand, what the client wants and is prepared to pay.

If you work for the European Institutions, the daily renumeration is of course the same, independently which / how many languages you know. But if you know many and/or rare languages you will probably get more work than someone with only two common C languages or so.
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Re: From the grey zone

Postby dawncloack » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:58 pm

williamson wrote:Another proof that it is all about the money and he who pays the piper, calls the tune.

I am getting the feeling that this is your blanket justification for not being successful.

It's actually pretty curious. Every interpreter in the EU institutions and the UN, and also those I know in the private market, give me a frame of reference which is completely opposite to yours, and closer to the ones Didine and Aymeric describe.

In fact, I have the feeling you are pretty alone in your worldview.

Edit:

I felt I had to challenge what that website, and your words, more thoroughly

What they say is all fine and dandy. But that should ONLY be done by people who can do it, not by any interpreter who happens to have passive English, for instance. Which is what we have been saying all along. Maybe they only hire biactives, maybe they provide for a shitty service.

You seem bent in convincing people that any interpreter should interpret into any language, because "hurrrrr it's the market" or something like that. I say that, if any intelligent being follows the laws of the market, he or she will refuse instead of doing a shitty job, because that ruins your reputation.
Hence the general guideline of only interpreting into your A.

Or maybe that's what you mean! but you've never, ever been able to express it like that. And I've been reading your posts since 2005.

Oh, and another thing: you seem willing to submit to that market you keep talking about. But if interpreters come together and do some trade unionism, well, they can get better conditions collectively.

Second edit:
williamson wrote:From the website of an agency which acts as an intermediate between interpreters and end-customers:

Do interpreters always work into one target language?

NO. All interpreters booked by XXX work into two languages, if not requested otherwise.
Example: If main language is Englisch, the Spanish interpreter translates into Spanish, but if Spanish is spoken on floor, this interpreter automatically switches to English. This leads to the advantage that the client can save one booth (2 interpreters).

Wow, really reliable website, I'm sure.
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Postby guillaumimoso » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:49 am

Since personal opinions are allowed freely in this thread, here's what I think, and I hope it will bring some closure to the matter...

- Yes, ideally, we have to respect the AIIC language combination, ie, B and C into A, and A into B. This is what allows the best performance and what interpreters have been trained for.

- However, in some countries (and I think it's fair to exclude Europe here), market conditions are not optimal, and we have to be able to bring some flexibility, but not to any price.

In my view, it's absolute nonsense to do B to C for example, especially if it's simultaneous interpreting. Recipe for disaster. However, it could be accepted to do C into B, in consecutive mode, if there is REALLY no one else to do the job. Take it as helping a customer. And of course, only when the interpreter makes absolutely clear that this is not ethical to do so, and that it shouldn't be seen as regular work. In other words, explain to the customer the risks of such a combination, and if the quality is sub-standard, then, don't blame it on the interpreter (I warned you beforehand, so...).

What is not acceptable is to advertise oneself for whatever combination, without explaining anything. If working in whatever mode and whatever direction is seen as competing against those who are professionally trained, then yes, this is bad.
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Postby Aymeric » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:49 am

But is that the case on the private market? Well, let me know firsthand when you graduate.
Everyone on the private market keeps repeating that you need a B if you want to find any work. Nothing abnormal, it's not an infringement of AIIC standards due to money issues.
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Re: Get real

Postby Felicity » Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:49 pm

Is nitpicking on words also a course at a T&I-school?


Surely it's a basic entrance requirement?! :)
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Re: Get real

Postby dawncloack » Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:24 am

Felicity wrote:
Is nitpicking on words also a course at a T&I-school?


Surely it's a basic entrance requirement?! :)


Of course it is!

guillaumimoso wrote:

Hear, Hear! Sound advice!

Aymeric wrote:
But is that the case on the private market? Well, let me know firsthand when you graduate.
Everyone on the private market keeps repeating that you need a B if you want to find any work. Nothing abnormal, it's not an infringement of AIIC standards due to money issues.

My sentiments exactly.

williamson wrote:My worldview: [...] droves.

Well, the graduates in this forum have already answered you.
You could try to answer their arguments instead of rewording your non-justified arguments again.

williamson wrote:With regard to " a blanket":

I did not participate in any exam-round at interpreter schools since 2004, because I consider graduating in business
to come first. Has to do with being realistic.

Excuse me??

You were preparing for the 2006 ESIT entrance examinations. I was looking for people to prepare the exams with and you wrote to me to join. (but then couldn't come, IIRC)

You were there for the Open Doors Day. Asking the questions, telling the teachers you were going to sit the exam. You asked those questions in my class, not two meters from me.

Come on, man! Your arguments have their value. Has to do with not changing your tune when it suits you.

williamson wrote:I did not make up that website. Is nitpicking on words also a course at a T&I-school?

I am not implying that you made it up. I am just saying that, if they misspell like that in their website, probably their service is pretty poor. And if that is the case, I don't see how it could be taken as a reference.
That sinks your argument.
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