Letter for agencies offering unsustainable rates

If an agency offers unsustainable rates or terms and conditions then you can use this template letter to send to them. You can also download download the letter as a Word document.


I am writing to raise my concerns over the poor terms and conditions, and fees, that you are offering interpreters to undertake assignments.

Whilst I appreciate the pressure that agencies are under to reduce costs in order to obtain contracts, the lack of any proper consideration of the implications of eroding the terms and fees offered to your workforce is deeply disappointing.

Freelance interpreters are self-employed individuals and as such have all the associated costs that this brings. Hence they work to minimum charges at a level that ensures the profession remains both viable, and worthy of the long and costly training required to become qualified.

The rates and cancellation fees that you are expecting interpreters to work for are simply unsustainable. The terms you offer would necessitate securing several jobs a day to achieve a sufficient income, and yet travel distances between bookings preclude us from being able to do so.

This is equally true of the industry standard cancellation terms of 14 days or less at half fee, and 7 days or less full fee, (unless replacement work is sourced), which ensures interpreting as a career remains viable.

My fees, and terms and conditions, are in line with the NUBSLI guidance for the reasons explained above. (https://www.nubsli.com/guidance/interpreter-fees) The terms you are offering are wholly inappropriate for a workforce of skilled and qualified professionals.

I would urge you to consider the long term impact of continually declining rates of pay and terms. Already experienced interpreters are leaving the profession in order to maintain sufficient income for themselves and their families. This leaves the Deaf community with a smaller pool of new and inexperienced individuals who cannot meet their needs, and agencies unable to fulfil bookings.

In this time of large cuts we need to work together and stand firm, to uphold the standards of BSL/English interpreting provision and safeguard the community we serve. 

You can also direct them to our fee guidance that has been created with the involvement of interpreters across the UK.