The die is cast. Interpreters and translators in California have been granted an exemption from AB 5. It’s been almost 9 months since the controversial AB 5 bill went into effect, which reclassified independent interpreters and translators in California as employees, and no longer as independent contractors. After a year of petitioning, protesting, and lobbying, interpreters and translators have been exempt from AB 5 through “clean up” bill AB 2557.

Over the past year, we have covered AB 5 extensively at Interpreter Intelligence. You may remember reading one of our previous blog posts on AB 5 and the damage it did to language access in California, not to mention the damage it did to the livelihood of thousands of translators and interpreters:

August 12, 2019: Interpreter Misclassification in California: Why It’s A Huge Problem
January 8, 2020: California’s AB5 Bill Taking Its Toll
April 16, 2020: New Bill To Protect California Interpreters From AB5
June 9, 2020: Freelance Interpreters in California: Where Are We Now?

Lobbyists tried to obtain an exemption for language professionals at numerous times. First, through AB 5 directly, then through SB 900, then through AB 1850, but ultimately, it was with AB 2557 where they finally managed to include the long-awaited amendments exempting independent interpreters and translators from the AB 5 restrictions. Here’s an overview of the most significant amendments in AB 2557:

– AB 2257 exempts translators under professional services
– Exempts, in most cases, sole proprietorships
– Interpreters, must be certified or registered to be exempt IF such a certification or registration exists for their language and domain
– Interpreters continue to fall under referral agencies, but they are no longer required to represent that they perform the work under their own name

For a full overview of the terms of AB 2557, please click

Thanks to the efforts of countless independent interpreters and translators, language organizations, lobby groups, and particularly, thanks to the Coalition of Practicing Translators & Interpreters of California (CoPTIC), California legislators finally came to understand the importance of granting an exemption to language professionals. They play a vital role in California, not only by helping and protecting vulnerable minorities with LEP (Limited English Proficiency), but also by protecting the interests of the many global businesses that make The Golden State one of the most powerful economies in the world.

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