Dedicated Linguist Area
Considerations before an assignment
Before accepting work, the interpreter should make sure they have the relevant information to enable them to decide whether they can accept the assignment and carry it out effectively.
The following information should be taken into account before accepting an assignment:
Availability: You must ensure that you are available on the date and specified time and location and that appropriate travel arrangements are in place. If you cancel a booking less than 24 hours notice without any valid reason and no proof, you will be issued a penalty.
Language Match: The language and dialect of the non English speaker should be one in which you are competent. An interpreter will interpret best in their first language (mother tongue). Interpreters should not (in general) interpret from one second language to another. This may be compromised only in certain cases, such as in an emergency or if other interpreters are not available and you have a good level of accuracy and fluency in the second language in question. In circumstances of this nature you should ensure both users know that the language being used is not your first language and make sure that this is acceptable to both parties involved. If there is a problem, contact our offices right away.
Subject matter and terminology: You will need to know the subject matter of the assignment (e.g. medical, legal, social work etc.). This will enable you to familiarise yourself with the relevant terminology before the assignment and you should allow enough time for this preparation, especially if the subject matter is new to you.
Impartiality: You will need to ensure that while interpreting you will be, and will be seen to be, in a position of neutrality. If, from the information provided, you discover that the non English speaker is known to you or you have a personal interest in the outcome of the situation, you should notify our bookings department and refuse the assignment. If you only discover a potential challenge to your impartiality at the assignment, then you must notify both parties of this and make them aware of the option of getting another interpreter if they wish. It will then be for both parties to decide whether or not to proceed.
After considering all the points mentioned above you will need to determine whether you are capable of carrying out the assignment satisfactorily. If for any reason you are unable to do so, do not take the booking. It is better to refuse than to find yourself having problems later on.
Face to Face interpreter bookings generally last 1-2 hours, however, Language Empire will state how long each booking is likely to last at the time of the request.
You must identify the booking location before the date of the booking to ensure you can plan your route to take into account travel time, parking and public transport. You must be available for the full length of time given to you when accepting the assignment.
You must be ready to interpret for face to face bookings by the start time, therefore arriving 5/10 minutes earlier of the booking and remain present throughout its duration. At times a booking may overrun, if you have another appointment booked, you must advise the requesting officer of your need to telephone Language Empire to Let us know. You must not leave the assignment until it is complete. Please allow yourself enough time in between bookings including taking into account that some assignments may go over the estimated duration.
When on arrival at an appointment, if the client or visiting parties are not present, the maximum waiting time will be 30 minutes unless requested to wait longer. However, this cannot extend beyond the allotted appointment time.
If you are running late or need to leave early, you must as soon as is reasonably practicable, telephone Language Empire department to advise them of your estimated time of arrival or departure and the reason for your lateness or departure in any given emergency situation or circumstances. Please note you will be required to complete the assignment before leaving.
In the event that you arrive late for, or depart early from a booking, we may at our sole discretion adjust or withhold the payments that would otherwise have been due to you. We shall not act unreasonably in this respect. We reserve the right to note the frequency of this and use this to assess your suitability for a booking.
You must not directly change booking dates and/or times to benefit from additional bookings. All bookings must be offered from the Face to Face interpreter bookings department at Language Empire.
Be reliable and punctual at all times.
Behave and dress in an appropriate and professional manner whilst attending a booking.
Declare immediately any involvement in the assignment and any involvement or relationship with the customer.
Interrupt the proceedings only to:
(a) Ask for clarification.
(b) Point out that a party may not have understood something.
(c) Alert the parties to a missed cultural reference.
(d) Advise that there is no equivalent term in the language concerned to the term being used.
(e) Advise that you require a break due to the potential for lapses in concentration to occur during lengthy periods of simultaneous or consecutive interpreting.
Not give advice or enter into discussion with the Client (other than to confirm language/dialect match).
Not allow the Client to be a passenger in your vehicle to or from assignments.
Not delegate work, nor accept delegated work or accept direct bookings. This includes interpreting and/or translation bookings.
Disclose any information, including any criminal record, which may make you unsuitable for any particular assignment.
Be willing to continuously increase your skills and knowledge within the field and make yourself available for any training/qualification that may be deemed necessary.
DO NOT GIVE YOUR NUMBER OR EXCHANGE NUMBERS WITH THE NON ENGLISH SPEAKING PERSON, I.E. PATIENT, OFFENDER, CLIENT, CLAIMANT ETC.
DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR PERSONAL CONTACT DETAILS INCLUDING MOBILE NUMBERS AND EMAIL ADDRESSES AS WELL AS SOCIAL NETWORKING PROFILE ID'S TO THE NON ENGLISH SPEAKER OR THE PROFESSIONAL WHO IS USING YOUR SERVICES, I.E. DOCTOR, POLICE OFFICER, PROBATION OFFICER ETC.
Code of Ethics for Interpreters
Language Empire Interpreters, shall:
1. Interpret truly and faithfully to the best of their ability, without adding or omitting anything.
2. Only accept work which they are competent to carry out satisfactorily and only undertake work in language/s in which they have been accredited.
3. Observe impartiality at all times while interpreting and shall not act as advocates at any time while carrying out their duties. If impartiality is irretrievably jeopardised during an interpreting booking they shall withdraw, giving their reasons to both parties concerned.
4. Treat all information that they come across in the course of their work as confidential and not stand to make any personal gain from it.
5. Not delegate any work that they have accepted to another interpreter.
6. Not on any occasion accept direct bookings from clients or promote their own services or that of any other agency whilst engaged in work for Language Empire.
7. Not accept any form of reward for interpreting other than payment by Language Empire.
8. Be willing to continuously increase their skills and knowledge within the field and make themselves available for any training that may be deemed necessary.
9. At all times work in accordance with and promote Language Empires Equal Opportunities Policy.
10. Take note that any interpreter that brings Language Empire into disrepute shall have their name removed from the register of freelance interpreters.
11. Work in accordance with LE “Professional Code of Conduct (Professional Contract)”.
Remain impartial at all times.
Not accept an assignment where their impartiality could be questioned. Interpreters will disclose any information, including conflicts of interest, which may make them unsuitable for an assignment.
Declare any business, financial, family or other interests which you might have with the non English speaker or in the matter being handled.
Not accept any form of reward (whether in cash or otherwise) for interpreting work, other than payment by Language Empire engaging your services.
You will respect confidentiality at all times and not seek to take advantage of any information disclosed during your work.
Any information you obtain in the course of your assignment is confidential and is not to be given by you to anyone whether during the assignment or after it has been finished, unless we give you written permission to do so. You must also comply with the current Data Protection Act legislation.
You will not use any information you obtain in the course of your assignment for any purpose or other than as authorised by us. The right to all such information rests with us and permission to access and use this information can only be given by Language Empire. If you feel that you may need to disclose information obtained in the assignment due to a need for additional support or guidance you should contact us in the first instance.
The interpreter may pass on information pertaining to or arising from an interpreted assignment if failure to do so could result in prosecution or if required to do so by law.
Interpreters may pass on information pertaining to or arising from an interpreted assignment to protect the welfare of an individual or the community at large.
You must keep safe any documents provided to you in the course of an assignment; you must make sure they are not copied, in whole or in part, and you must return them to us or dispose of them in a confidential manner at the end of the assignment.
Do not discriminate between parties (to their advantage or disadvantage) either directly or indirectly, on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic origin, age, nationality, religion, sexuality, gender or disability.
All Language Empire interpreters shall strictly adhere to our 'Equal Opportunities' policy which they signed. The Equal Opportunities policy forms part of the 'Recruitment Policy Statements' which all our interpreters have signed.
You must not accept any request made to you during a face to face booking for you to carry out a translation of a document and refer the requesting officer to the Language Empire Translation Department.
All translations should be carried out by degree level and suitably qualified translators only. Therefore, please encourage professional staff to get any documents translated from our specialist Translation Department.
You are required to switch off or put on silent, your mobile phone when commencing a booking.
Through recent feedback, we have identified this as a major problem. Many interpreters are being interrupted by their mobile phone calls and text messages during the assignment.
Any interpreter reported for their use of a mobile phone during an assignment will have their registration suspended with Language Empire.
Language Empire aims to deliver only a high quality and professional service and expect the same standard of service delivered by its front line staff which are the interpreters.
You will work in accordance with Language Empire “Code Of Ethics” (Professional Contract) at all times.
You should arrive in good time for the appointment.
You should dress and behave in a professional manner.
You shall at all time wear your Language Empire ID Card so that it is clearly visible. Your card must be worn throughout the duration of the assignment.
It is advisable to have a briefing with the professional before the interpreting booking starts. The discussion should focus on the most effective way of carrying out the interpreting booking to suit you (the interpreter), the professional and the client.
Before the interpreting process starts you need to clarify the following with both the client and the service provider:
Seating arrangements: You should not be preventing the service provider and the customer/client from seeing each other. The best seating arrangement is one where everyone is seated in a triangular position so that all participants can see each other. The most effective interpreting occurs when the service provider and the client hardly notice the presence of the interpreter during the interpreting process.
The next step is to introduce yourself to both parties. Check the language to be used and your general acceptability to both parties. This should be done at the start to avoid causing any delay or embarrassment later.
Inform both parties about the interpreting process, covering the following:
a) Everything that is said by either party will be interpreted. Anything that should not be interpreted must not be said. This will emphasise your neutrality and avoid embarrassment later.
b) Inform both parties about your impartiality and assure them of confidentiality.
c) Ask both the service provider and the customer/client to speak directly to each other (i.e. in the first person). This will emphasise that the users are the initiators in the conversation and underline your position as an intermediary.
d) Invite both parties to ask for clarification if there is anything they do not understand.
The interpreting process
Your role is to convey everything that is said. This does not necessarily mean word for word interpreting but does mean passing on the sense of what is being said on both sides without omission.
During the interpreting process the interpreter can intervene for only four reasons:
a) Asking for clarification: If you do not understand a word or concept do not be afraid to ask for clarification. Although you are expected to have a general knowledge of the area of work, you are not expected to know all the technical terms and procedures.
b) Point out misunderstanding: You may point out misunderstandings to either party and clarify a point if you believe someone has not understood the meaning even though the interpreting was correct. It is important to keep both parties informed of what is going on. Therefore brief exchanges between the interpreter and one user must always be summarised for the other user.
c) Inform Parties of a missed cultural inference: To avoid confusion and misunderstanding you may help the service provider to understand differences of culture, customs, family relationships and religious beliefs in order to prevent any action that may be culturally inappropriate or insensitive. This may be information that has not been stated overtly but which has been assumed, e.g. if you may feel that the word family is being understood differently by both sides, interrupt along the lines of, “I think you both understand the word family in a different way. Tell me what you mean by family and I will check with the other side”. Do this with both parties.
d) To ask for modification of delivery: You may ask the parties to modify their delivery to accommodate the interpreting process. This could be if either party is speaking too quickly, too softly or for too long, e.g. if the person is speaking for too long, say, “Could you please stop there and let me interpret that before you go on? If you keep the sections short I can make sure that I do not miss something while interpreting.”
At all times keep both parties informed of the interruption.
You may face situations while interpreting where the parties involved in the interpreting process ask you to do something that contradicts with your role as an interpreter.
• You are asked to take over from either side.
• You are asked to take sides.
• You are told something that either party does not want to have interpreted.
• You are asked to get involved in a private discussion of the case without the involvement of the other party.
In situations of this nature reiterate the impartial nature of your role as an interpreter.
Expressions of abusiveness should not be toned down in the interpreted version, unless there is a real risk to your physical safety or to the safety of one of the users.
If anger and abuse is targeted at you, warn both parties with the threat of withdrawing your services if such behaviour continues. Say something along the lines of, “I am here not as myself but as an interpreter. I must warn you that if you continue to direct your anger at me I shall have to withdraw my services.” At no time should you respond with anger or abuse in return. If the situation fails to improve, withdraw your services giving your reasons to both parties. Contact the Language Empire for advice/support.
After the assignment
Allow time at the end of the interpreting process to talk to the professional regarding:
• Feedback in either direction about aspects of the interpreting process and how it may be improved in the future.
• Providing cultural explanations where appropriate.
Do not get involved in a private discussion about the case or give opinions. If encouraged to do so by the professional clarify your role as an interpreter.
Completion of assignment
You must complete a claim form provided by the Language Empire after the interpreting booking and have it signed by the officer/organisational representative using the service. The claim form must be returned to the Language Empire for payment. If you do not fully complete the assignment form there may be a delay in your payment.
Where possible encourage the professional i.e. Dr, Advisor, Probation Officer etc to complete the " quick feedback section" on your claim form and also if possible to complete the "Interpreter Quality Check".
Please note that feedback acts as a very important monitoring and quality aspect of the services you provide for Language Empire. Interpreters who do not get their feedbacks completed will see a reduction in the work given to them. We heavily rely on positive feedback given to you the 'Interpreter' and the feedback we receive should be a regular as the number of bookings you accept from Language Empire.
Not only is feedback a good quality measuring factor, but also it helps to build up your rating as an interpreter on our bespoke software system.
During your work you have access to information of a sensitive nature. At no time must you breach any trust of confidentiality. Any breach may result in you being removed from the Framework.
We would encourage you to take out a professional indemnity (PI) insurance policy to cover your freelance work and provide a copy to Language Empire.
The PI policy usually costs around £100 to £200 per year for an individual. All interpreters should have an indemnity limit cover of at least £100,000.00 minimum. Please remember that you are not employed by Language Empire and work on a freelance ad-hoc basis for Language Empire therefore you are responsible for your own professional insurance and this is strongly recommended whilst we have our own cover, should any claims be made against you, your PI policy will provide cover for you.
We recommend that you visit www.professionalinsuranceagents.co.uk and click on 'Get Quote' and select profession 'Translators/Interpreters' and you will directed to a form which you need to complete and the system will produce the most reasonable quote for you.
Payments in respect of services provided by you will be made to you in accordance with Language Empire rates of pay. You will be required to submit a claim form supplied by our bookings department before any payments can be made. The deadline for claim forms are 48 hours from the date and time of the assignment and any claim forms received after this date will be issued with a £0.75p penalty and may result in a delay in payment. However, if you claim is received more than 6 days after the assignment takes place, we reserve the right not to issue the payment to you, due to weekly issuing of invoices, we must send signed copies of claim forms with invoices. Without the signed copies of claim forms we cannot send invoices. Furthermore, if invoices are sent very late our clients have the right to refuse payment to us, thus the reason why your payment will be delayed/withheld.
If you claim for public transport costs, train and/or bus tickets must be attached to the claim form, failure to do this will result in non payment of public transport costs.
Claims for taxis fares will only be paid with prior authorisation by our Finance Department, these will only be authorised in the event of an emergency. If authorised, a receipt will be required to be submitted with the claim form.
You must record the exact start and end times of each interpreting booking and exact mileage (where applicable) to and from each booking. Mileage to be calculated from your home address or previous appointment whichever is the lowest. Any person found to be fraudulently claiming extra time, mileage or travel expenses, will be have their registration terminated.
You will be responsible for payment of any income tax, National Insurance contributions or other taxes in relation to this payment. You should contact your regional tax office to make any necessary arrangement.
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