Rights of Interpreters

You may wish to draw up a policy outlining the interpreter’s rights.

Sample provisions include:

  • The rights of a community interpreter must be respected at all times.
  • Where possible, a community interpreter should receive accurate and sufficient information from the organization regarding the assignment, place, time as well as an indication of the duration of the assignment at least 48 hours before the assignment is due to take place. This is so the interpreter can prepare for the assignment.
  • A community interpreter has the right to withdraw from an assignment if it becomes apparent that expertise beyond their technical or language competence is required, or if an interpreter has been given incorrect information or insufficient time to prepare for an assignment.
  • If a community interpreter feels exploited or discriminated against during the assignment s/he has the right to withdraw his or her services. All parties must be advised of this decision.
  • A community interpreter may refuse an assignment. S/he must advise the organization in advance.
  • Any change or cancellation should be made known to the organization the day before the assignment.
  • The session should not last longer than previously established without the interpreter’s consent.
  • If asked to provide a sight translation of technical documents, a community interpreter is quite justified in saying that unless given adequate time and without proper preparation any translation can at best be provisional.
  • Interpreters’ travel expenses should be reimbursed.