Upholding interpreters’ and translators’ terms and conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic

By NUBSLI | Published on 19 March 2020

Last updated on March 26th, 2020 at 12:32 pm

Related: Coronavirus Covid-19

These are unprecedented times that we are living and working in and interpreters and translators may find themselves providing their services by means of video services during the pandemic.

We have been contacted by members who are concerned at being asked by some agencies to reduce their fees in these instances. In response, NUBSLI has contacted agencies and asked that they respect and uphold interpreter and translator T&C.

You can read our correspondence below.

We are contacting you from the National Union of Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI) which represents the BSL interpreting and translating profession across the UK.

Several members have been in touch with us regarding requests from agencies to lower fees, citing the current Coronavirus/Covid-19 epidemic as the reason. We understand that these are unprecedented times we are all working in, however, this should not be used as a reason to drive down interpreters’ fees, business terms or working conditions.

If they are being requested to attend an assignment to provide services face-to-face, and are prepared to work in those settings, their usual fees and business terms should be accepted. We would, of course, recommend that all parties follow up to date government advice in terms of whether it is advisable to accept these assignments or not, as well as the precautions that should be followed in doing so.

There may also be increased demand for sign language interpreters to provide services via video during the weeks ahead. This should not diminish the fact that this is a specialist area of work (ASLI produced best practice for video interpreting – PDF) that requires appropriate skills, knowledge and experience and which should also be remunerated accordingly.

We have written to our members and published this statement on our website asking that they remember they do not allow themselves or the profession to be devalued by accepting lower fees for the work that they do.

We would also ask that interpreting agencies requesting their services similarly respect the fees and business terms of the profession.

Thank you in advance for your co-operation.