Interpreting - using surcharges to control rising prices

April 14, 2022 - Reading time: 3 minutes

As economy is continuing to recover from COVID-19 and world events bring additional pressure, we starting to see price increases for goods such as cars, furniture and groceries. Considering service industries, and interpreting specifically, were hit a lot harder by COVID-19 pandemic, it takes longer to recover in general. Yet, with recovery, the inflation will likely start to show itself in interpretation.

With remote work becoming more acceptable in the corporate and government sectors, many interpreters chose to move on.  It is not a secret more and more language service providers started to notice generally smaller pool of qualified professionals. Diversification of the economy developed other opportunities and new sources of income. Often enough, these opportunities are more stable and offer more working hours than the interpretation jobs. It is worth mentioning, these dynamics may not affect the elite workforce, such as federally certified, conference and simultaneous interpreters, but the bulk of interpreters working in healthcare, K-12 and community interpretation, where number of hours is absolutely critical, are leaving the industry for other gig jobs or at least supplementing their income somewhere else. LSPs are already or will in the very close future face the "talent battle" so familiar to other industries.

Can shortage of professionals be solved with money alone? Without a doubt, this is a million dollar question. Some of the additional charges are already widely used by carsharing companies and some of the facilities offering all types of services. It is almost normal to see at the bottom of the invoice or receipt an extra item that reads COVID-19 or fuel surcharge. This approach helps to ease the burden of the rising costs and expenses, while preserving the base price, often inked in the contract or agreement.  Shall economic pressures continue, additional surcharges can be brought up in the price negotiation at the time of the new contract signing.

ScheduleInterpreter® offers options to include manual and automatic surcharges. The surcharges can be used for billing of the services as well as for compensation of the interpreters. Surcharges can be designed to be effective within specific time period, affect one or group of customers and linguists. Modality settings provide extra layer of customization.

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