Determining the price of a service can be complicated. That is no different for interpreting services. The pricing of interpreting services depends on many variables. Here’s what you need to know:

Hourly Rates

First of all, freelance interpreters and language service providers often charge differently. Most often, interpreting services are compensated hourly. This applies to most in-person interpreting gigs. Within the industry, it is common for interpreters to have a one or two-hour minimum assignment. This allows them to be compensated for other costs such as transportation.

Daily Rates

Even though hourly compensation is most common, interpreters are also often paid daily. If the duration of the assignments exceeds two hours, the interpreter often charges half a day (or four hours), or a full day (eight hours). Per-day rates make sense if the duration of the assignment is not as clear beforehand. For example, if you are hiring an interpreter for an exposition or a guided tour, it is best to negotiate a daily rate.

Rates per Job

Another pricing method is per job. This allows the customer to accurately determine the cost of the service beforehand, even though per-job pricing tends to be relatively higher on average. For example, if a foreign delegation visits a certain country, it would make sense to pay your interpreters for the entire job.

Rates by the Minute

For remote interpreting or video interpreting, it is not uncommon to pay your interpreters by the minute. This way, as a language provider, you avoid hourly minimums since interpreters do not need to be compensated for their travel or lost time.

Travel Expenses

Whether an interpreter is paid hourly, daily, per job, or by the minute, most interpreters will request to be reimbursed for their travel. Most interpreters have a fixed mileage rate. Depending on the organization the interpreter belongs to, these rates are often negotiable. Sometimes these rates are not calculated by distance, but by travel time. Additional travel expenses can include parking, tolls, etc.

Type of Job

Another factor that needs to be taken into account when determining the pricing for interpreting services is the type of job. Interpreters that have highly specific expertise tend to charge more. These interpreters for example specialize in medical or legal interpreting. 


Some assignments also require certification. Think of court proceedings for example. These interpreters need to be certified and can charge a premium in this case. 

Language Combination

Finally, the language combination is an important factor to take into account as well. Interpreters that are proficient in very rare languages tend to charge more. Obviously, in this case, that will often depend on the location of the assignment.


When the assignment is cancelled, most interpreters will charge a cancellation fee. The cancellation fee can be a flat rate, a percentage of the total job cost or it can be a specific fee determined by the interpreter itself.

Rush Fees

For last-minute assignments, many interpreters will charge a rush fee. Rush fees are compensation for interpreters who are asked to change their schedules last minute. Again, the extent of these fees depend on the interpreter or language service provider you have booked the assignment with.


In conclusion, pricing of interpreting services can get very complicated, especially if you are a language service provider dealing with hundreds of interpreters who each have their own rates. This is why it is necessary to have a centralized platform that can automatically incorporate and calculate all the rates seamlessly. Check out the Interpreter Intelligence product features and see how our Rate Plan and Rate Zone Setup can streamline the process for you.

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