NUBSLI’s position on VRI/VRS terms and conditions in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic

By NUBSLI | Published on 16 April 2020

Last updated on May 5th, 2020 at 9:23 pm

Related: Coronavirus Covid-19

During these exceptional times due to the Covid-19 pandemic, NUBSLI is receiving a high volume of queries from members regarding terms and conditions for VRI/VRS work; most of these relate to fees.

NUBSLI’s position is always that as individual businesses, interpreters are responsible for deciding their own fees and terms and conditions for a booking; NUBSLI fee guidance is the result of surveys of members every three years and is only ever guidance, not a minimum or recommendation.

We understand that VRI/VRS is a specialism and this position statement does not intend to detract from that. Nonetheless, in the Covid-19 situation VRI/VRS is being used in various forms as a ‘needs must’ in many scenarios where otherwise face to face interpreting would be preferable. This is due to the fact that Covid-19 makes face to face interpreting dangerous and the safer option for all parties is to provide the service remotely.

When determining fees for such bookings the lack of travel involved is often being cited as a reason for lower fees, however we believe this to be misleading in a lot of instances. We therefore urge members to be mindful of the time/work involved in the assignment, especially when being asked to quote for a number of minutes’ interpreting rather than for the assignment per se; eg for a meeting, consider the preparation required, pre-assignment brief with client and co-worker, duration of interpreted meeting, breaks, possible over-run, post meeting de-brief.

As always, we urge members to respect themselves and the profession and resist attempts to drive down our fees and terms and conditions.

NUBSLI’s position remains that in most situations ‘face to face’ is the most appropriate method of delivery of BSL/English interpreting services and, once this can be done safely again, should be advocated for as such.

April 2020