Overseas translation agency

Interpreting rates: how much an excellent service is worth.

Interpreting service rates are something that sparks quite a bit of controversy, as many people at first consider this service rather costly. But is this really the case? Read on to find out more as we debunk some of the misconceptions about interpreting service rates.

Types of interpreting

Interpreting is perhaps the least acknowledged branch in the translation industry. In fact, some people often refer to interpreters as “translators”, when in fact these two professions are nothing alike. First and foremost, it is essential to distinguish between the various interpreting modalities and their different characteristics:

Simultaneous interpreting:

this is where the interpreter reproduces the speech in another language as it is being delivered in the source language. It is perhaps the best known modality, and also the one that requires the most technical means.

Consecutive interpreting:

this is where the speaker pauses for the interpreter to reproduce the speech. It has the advantage of not requiring technical means, but the downside is that the speech takes longer. The consecutive modality comprises bilateral or short consecutive interpreting, which is usually used in interviews, for instance.

Remote interpreting (RSI):

this is the modality that has come about particularly in the wake of the pandemic. In this case, the interpreter joins the meeting via interpretation-adapted platforms such as Zoom.

You can find out more about these interpreting types in this article: https://ovstranslations.com/international-event-interpreter/

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Professional interpreting services

Given the complex nature of interpreting, it cannot be performed by just anyone. This service requires highly specialised skills and training, as well as a perfect command of the working languages.

There are several companies and platforms on the market that offer low-cost interpreting services. This is only possible by hiring people who “speak” a language, but who are not qualified. The result is what we often see on TV: contested judgements, angry coaches at press conferences…

Having interpreters not only adds prestige to an event, but also allows you to reach a wider audience. It can also help your company grow since you are able to hold meetings with overseas clients or partners. In short, this service certainly yields benefits.

If you want to maintain the highest calibre of your event or meeting, hiring a professional interpreter is a must. This brings us to the big question: how much will it cost? Keep reading to find out.


Interpreting service rates

The range of interpreting service rates is quite wide, and the final cost depends on the event. Standard rates are generally divided into three categories:

  • Full-day: up to 8 hours of interpreter presence (including breaks, technical tests, etc.). Currently at around 750–800 euros per interpreter.
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  • Half-day: up to 4 hours of interpreter presence (again, this includes not only interpreting time). At the moment, it is around 450–500 euros.


  • Mini-conference: the emergence of RSI has given rise to this new modality. This is a special rate for remote events shorter than 4 hours (i.e. less than half a day). It is usually around 300 euros.


Therefore, the first thing to have certain is the duration of the event. Another thing to bear in mind is that one interpreter cannot cover an event longer that an hour and a half. Interpreting is very mentally taxing (in fact, it is considered one of the most stressful professions). If the event is to exceed this time, you will need two interpreters, meaning you will have to multiply the above rates by two.

Another relevant factor in determining the rate is the subject matter and degree of specialisation. Obviously, interpreting an informative speech on a general subject is not the same as interpreting one on cardiothoracic surgery. The more complex the subject matter, the more training and preparation time the interpreter will require. It is important to note that the fee also covers the interpreter’s study hours.

That’s why we emphasise to our clients the importance of providing all possible reference material on the event well in advance. That is, presentations, manuals, supporting documents, etc. as interpreters must prepare sufficiently in advance and dedicate hours to familiarise themselves with the terminology and subject matter (despite their experience) in order to provide a seamless interpreting service.

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On the other hand, technical means must also be taken into account. If the interpretation is simultaneous and there are no booths or a dedicated space for the interpreter, you must rent them. The same applies to the sound system, i.e. the console, microphones and headphones. In this case it is also advisable to have a technician on hand in case of setbacks as well as to be in charge of transport, installation and dismantling.


If the audience is going to be small or the interpretation performed on the move, you may want to have an Infoport. It is a system similar to the one used in sightseeing tours, very convenient and useful for small meetings.


Last but not least, you must consider the supply level. In other words, those languages for which there are fewer interpreters/u> involve a higher cost. For instance, languages such as Japanese and Korean tend to have higher rates than English or French since for the latter there are more interpreters.

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Likewise, if no interpreters are available in the area where the event is to be held, they will have to be sought elsewhere. In this case, the interpreters’ travel, accommodation and per diem expenses must be covered. At Overseas Translations, we have interpreters and technical equipment rental partners all over Spain and even in the main cities abroad. Therefore, we can help you organise an event in Barcelona, Madridand Valencia as well as Warsaw or London, for instance.


Tips for reducing the cost of interpreting services:


Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t fret, there are ways to stay on budget. First of all, it is essential to prepare the event in advance. This will ensure that there are more interpreters available and therefore more to choose from.


You will also need to make sure to choose the right type of interpreting. Do you really need simultaneous interpretation or will consecutive interpretation suffice even if it takes a little longer? Is there a possibility for the interpreter to work remotely to avoid travel costs?


Naturally, negotiation skills also come into play here. For example, if you organise events on a regular basis, you may be able to get better “loyalty” rates. In any case, always avoid anything that is too cheap, since, as we have told you, it will always hinder quality.


In short, although it may seem that interpreting services are not within everyone’s reach, we have already explained that this is not the case. Having the right professionals and seeking advice can be really cost-cutting. Moreover, as we have pointed out, it is a service that will almost certainly be of benefit to you. Therefore, it should not be considered an expense, but rather an investment. We hope to have convinced you to hire an interpreter for your next event.

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If you are planning an event, do not hesitate to contact us. At Overseas Translations we specialise in all types of interpreting: from congresses, software and machinery training, support in site visits, business negotiations, trials, press conferences and product presentations, TV interviews, trade fairs, and many more.

Just tell us the language pairs, date, place, number of attendees and type of interpretation and we guarantee to make your event a success.

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