Fees for interpreters 

When working with interpreters for the first time, new clients often ask about hourly rates. However, professional conference interpreters do not receive hourly rates, but daily fees that cover interpreting during an event and the preparation of the event's content.

In the case of simultaneous interpreting, a daily fee usually includes 8 hours of interpreting time and 6 hours of interpreting time in a team of two. The amount of the daily fee varies depending on the language, topic and preparation time.

If an event lasts longer than the attendance and interpreting time included in the daily fee, the interpreters receive an overtime fee. As simultaneous interpreting requires maximum concentration, the working time cannot be extended indefinitely, even if overtime fees are paid. It may be necessary to use a team of three or even four instead of a team of two.

The total costs for an interpreting team can be made up of the following additional fee components.


Professional domicile of interpreters

Every conference interpreter has exactly one so-called professional domicile, which does not have to be the same as their place of residence. The interpreter does not charge any travelling expenses for assignments at this professional domicile. In the linguistic usage of interpreters, this is referred to as a local interpreter.

If no local (resident) interpreters are available for an event, interpreters will have to travel from out of town. There can be many reasons for this: 


  • They are rare languages that are not covered by the interpreters at the venue.
  • The topic of the event is very specialised (e.g. medical topics such as dentistry).
  • Many other events are taking place on the day of the event, meaning that all local interpreters are already fully booked elsewhere.


Daily allowance (per diem)

Interpreters receive a daily allowance for assignments outside their professional domicile. The daily allowance is intended to cover the expenses incurred by the interpreter when working away from their professional residence for professional reasons (additional catering expenses).
Travelling expenses

If the interpreter's place of work is so far away from his/her professional residence that travelling to or from the event on the day of the event is not possible, the interpreter must arrive on the day before the event or depart on the day after the event. For this, the interpreter receives a so-called arrival or departure fee. The amount of this arrival and departure fee depends on the distance and travelling time of the interpreter.
The interpreter's travelling expenses are either charged at a flat rate or according to actual expenses (mileage allowance, train or plane ticket).


Overnight allowance (per noctem)

Interpreters receive an overnight allowance for an overnight stay. Overnight stays may be necessary because an interpreter has to arrive the day before an event or leave the day after an event. In the case of events lasting several days, overnight stays may also be necessary between the days of the event.
A distinction is made between the so-called "full overnight allowance" and the "reduced overnight allowance": 


  • With the full accommodation allowance, the interpreter pays the accommodation costs (e.g. for a hotel) and his expenses from the accommodation allowance. 
  • In the case of the reduced accommodation allowance, the actual costs incurred for the overnight stay are invoiced or the interpreter is provided with overnight accommodation. At larger events in hotels, the organisers often have room contingents from which the interpreters then receive a room. The reduced accommodation allowance then only covers the costs incurred by the interpreter for the overnight stay (e.g. for a dinner), but not the overnight stay itself.


Standing days

A standing day is a day on which an external interpreter is present at the venue but does not interpret. An example illustrates this: At a three-day event, an external interpreter is needed on the first and third days, but not on the second day of the event. In this case, it may make more economic sense (and be more sustainable) for this interpreter not to travel to and from the event, but to stay at the venue. For the day on site on which an interpreter does not interpret, he or she receives a so-called stand-by fee.

Fee for copyright of the interpretation

The interpreters hold the copyright to the interpretation. If the interpretation is recorded or used in any other way (e.g. streaming), the interpreters must grant a right of use for this. Interpreters receive an additional fee per day and interpreter for granting rights of use to the interpretation. The amount of this additional fee depends on the type of use (streaming or recording). The fee for granting rights of use to the recording of an interpretation is referred to as the recording fee.


Remote surcharge

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a sharp increase in hybrid and virtual events. At hybrid or virtual events, interpreters are often faced with the challenge of interpreting speakers with poor audio quality who are connected. This means a considerable amount of extra work for the interpreters and is therefore remunerated with a so-called remote surcharge.


As the costs for an interpreting team can consist of all the elements mentioned above, they can vary greatly from event to event. SIMCONSULT therefore calculates all quotes individually.


Do you have any questions about the costs of an interpreting team or do you need a quote? Then please get in touch with us. We look forward to hearing from you!


Or do you need a translation?

We translate contracts, advertising, speeches, brochures, press releases, reports, websites & publications.

Do you have any questions or need a quote?

Whether interpreting or translating: Contact us, ask us or request a non-binding quote.


+49 (0)152 22 86 14 87

Related Links

You are looking for an interpreter or translator

for languages including Arabic, Chinese, English,

 French, German, Italian, Japanese,

Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian,

 Spanish, Turkish or Ukrainian?

Send us an email or give us a call

Tel.: +49 (0)152 22 86 14 87

Ballindamm 39 · 20095 Hamburg