The terms and conditions outlined below are taken from a general template and are intended for guidance only. Each British Sign Language Interpreter is entitled to stipulate their own terms and conditions when accepting a booking. It is advisable to obtain the specific terms and conditions when agreeing to engage a British Sign Language Interpreter.
This document outlines the usual working practice for commissioning services from British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreters and provide limited and general principles for all parties. They have been prepared on behalf of BSL interpreters by the Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI)
Attention is drawn to the cancellation notice periods in sub point 9.4 and any fees which may be owed as a result of cancelling a confirmed booking.
Terms and Conditions of Business -
- 'Interpreter' shall mean the person who performs the act of interpreting spoken or signed communication into another language.
- ‘Speaker’ shall mean the person making the original spoken or signed communication.
- ‘Client’ shall mean the party or intermediary engaging the services of the Interpreter and having responsibility for his/her remuneration.
- ‘Assignment’ shall mean any period or set of consecutive periods of interpreting for one specific purpose or event.
- ‘Circumstances’ shall mean any circumstances deriving from any cause, which is beyond the control of the Interpreter or the Client.
2. Services Provided
2.1 The services provided by the Interpreter shall comprise the interpreting services agreed in writing at the time when an assignment is accepted and/or those specified in these Terms and Conditions of Business.
2.2 They shall not, without express agreement confirmed in writing at the time, include any additional services.
3.1 All assignments shall be confirmed by a written contract between the Client and the Interpreter, which shall include these Terms of and Conditions and any variants explicitly agreed.
3.2 If an interpreter is commissioned for an assignment and there is no time to enter into a written contract, the assignment shall be entered into on the basis of an oral contract only and these Terms of and Conditions shall be deemed to apply.
3.3 Where an Interpreter’s services have been contracted for in accordance with either of the means specified above, the Client shall be wholly liable for:
- remuneration of the Interpreter’s services, and
- reimbursement of any expenses incurred by the Interpreter in connection with the assignment whether the interpreting services are in fact provided or not.
4.1 Where an assignment requires continuous interpreting for any period of more than one hour, a team of a minimum of two Interpreters shall be engaged to provide the interpreting service.
4.2 As an exception to the above, one Interpreter alone may be responsible for all the interpreting services in the assignment if this is explicitly accepted by the Interpreter in writing.
4.3 Where three or more Interpreters are engaged for an assignment, one Interpreter shall be designated Team Leader.
4.4 The Team Leader shall be responsible for organizing the work of the interpreting Team and all liaisons with the Client. Additional fees may be agreed in advance for this work.
4.5 No persons who are not members of the Team may be used as Interpreters to complement the Team.
5. Working Hours
5.1 A working day shall comprise no more than six hours time during which interpreting will be required.
5.2 Interpreters shall be given a midday rest period of at least one hour.
5.3 If an Interpreter has agreed to work solo he/she shall be given adequate opportunity for breaks, ideally 10 minutes every 25 to 30 minutes.
5.4 No demands shall be made on the skills of the Interpreter during rest periods or breaks.
5.5 If, in the course of an interpreting assignment, it is found that interpreting services will be required for an additional period after the period of work for which the Interpreter was initially contracted, the Interpreter may be invited, but not compelled, to:
- continue for a further agreed period on that same day,
- continue for a further agreed period on subsequent days.
5.7 If interpreting services are required for a continuous period of more than 8 hours, a second Team shall be organised and the work shall be shared equally between the two teams.
6. Quotations for Fees
6.1 Fees quoted by an Interpreter, or on behalf of a team of Interpreters, in full knowledge of the contents and conditions of an assignment, shall be considered contractually binding and valid for acceptance for three months only.
6.2 Quotations shall be confirmed in writing and any VAT applicable, in addition to the fees, shall be stipulated.
7. Fees and Allowances
7.1 All fees and allowances shall be freely negotiated and paid in full no later than 30 days following receipt of the invoice.
7.2 Interest shall automatically be applied at 8% over base rate (or such rate as is determined by statute, the latter prevailing), to all overdue sums from the first date on which they become due until they are paid in full.
7.3 Fees shall be charged on the basis of a full day, or half day in the case of a period of three hours or less. Where the Interpreter has been invited to continue for a further period in extension of the initial contract, (see Clause 5.5), a supplementary fee shall be paid at an agreed hourly rate.
7.4 Where travel to and from the Interpreter’s normal place of residence and an assignment cannot reasonably be completed within the same day as the assignment, travel time will be remunerated at the same rate as working time.
7.5 Where travel to and from the Interpreter’s normal place of residence and an assignment involves a total of more than four hours, travel time will be remunerated at 50% of the agreed hourly rate.
7.6 A supplementary fee for working unsociable hours shall be agreed between the Interpreter and the Client in advance, for assignments between the hours of 19:00 and 08:00 or at weekends or public holidays.
7.7 Where an Interpreter is required, from the outset, to work longer than the working day a supplementary fee shall be negotiated at an agreed hourly rate.
8. Travel and Accommodation
8.1 Arrangements for travel and accommodation shall be the responsibility of either the Client or the Interpreter, as agreed before acceptance.
8.2 Travel arrangements shall ensure that the Interpreter arrives an agreed time before the start of the assignment and does not have to leave prematurely.
8.3 Where travel arrangements are made by the Client, these shall be such as to ensure that the Interpreter arrives sufficiently rested to fulfill the assignment to the expected standard.
8.4 Where the travel arrangements are made by the Interpreter, they shall seek to obtain travel and accommodation at a reasonable cost compatible with satisfactory performance of the assignment. Any expenditure incurred shall be reimbursed to the Interpreter within 30 days following receipt of invoice. If any such arrangements made by the Interpreter have to be varied or cancelled, any reimbursed sums recovered by the Interpreter shall be immediately repaid to the Client.
9.1 If an accepted assignment is curtailed or cancelled either wholly or in part, or performance of the assignment is frustrated for reasons, which the Client or the Client’s principal are responsible, the Client shall be liable for payment of a cancellation fee according to Clause 9.4.
9.2 Any expenditure incurred as agreed in the contract and any additional expenditure incurred as a result of the cancellation shall also be reimbursed.
9.3 If, however, at the time of cancellation the Client is able to offer an alternative assignment of a similar type under comparable conditions and circumstances for all or part of the period of the original assignment, the Client’s liability to the Interpreter in respect of cancellation fees shall be reduced by the amount of the fees payable for the alternative assignment.
9.4 Any cancellation fee shall be agreed between the parties prior to acceptance of the assignment and shall be determined in relation to the time between notification of cancellation and the start date, as follows:
7 days or less notice Full Fee
8 to 14 days notice Half Fee
15 or more days notice No Fee
10. Substitution of Interpreters
10.1 Substitution shall only be permitted in agreement with the Client. In such circumstances the Interpreter shall endeavour to find a suitable substitute.
10.2 The Client shall reasonably accept this substitute, who shall be engaged on the same terms as the Interpreter had previously agreed.
10.3 The Client shall notify any other parties as appropriate.
10.4 Acceptance of the substitute by the Client shall discharge the Interpreter from any further liability.
11. Unavoidable Circumstances
11.1 The Interpreter undertakes to notify the Client at the earliest possible opportunity if he/she is prevented from undertaking an assignment or if performance is frustrated by unavoidable circumstances.
11.2 In giving such notice the Interpreter shall relinquish any right to:
- remuneration for the uncompleted part of the assignment;
- the reimbursement of any expenses, except those already irrecoverably incurred, or necessarily incurred in returning the Interpreter to his/her normal place of residence by suitable means.
12.1 The Client shall provide the Interpreter with relevant information and preparatory materials in the form of background documentation, (See Clause 12.4), in good time; preferably two weeks in advance of an assignment in order to ensure provision of a quality service.
12.2 If it is not possible to provide preparatory materials, and the Interpreter requests such, the Client shall arrange for a briefing meeting.
12.3 Attendance by the Interpreter at such a meeting shall be paid as working time.
12.4 Preparatory materials shall include such items as:
- programs, agendas, Minutes, reports;
- briefing papers, speakers notes, motions;
- names of participants;
- maps, photographs, diagrams and other visual materials;
- slides or other materials which will be read out or referred to by participants in the
- course of an assignment;
- lyrics, scripts, copies of any videos or scripts of films to be shown or any other
- performance materials shall be supplied to the Interpreter by the Client not less than 24 hours in advance.
13. Working Conditions
13.1 For BSL to English interpretation, the Client is to ensure that speakers are well lit and in clear sight of the Interpreter or made visible by means of an image providing a clear and detailed view of the speaker’s face and body movements sufficient for the Interpreter’s requirements. This may require the provision of audio/visual equipment, which shall include a microphone and television monitor, for the sole use of the Interpreter.
13.2 For English to BSL interpretation the Client is to ensure that the Interpreter is positioned so that they are sufficiently near to the speaker to be able to hear and can be clearly seen by consumers of the service. This may require the provision of additional lighting and audio equipment in the form of a ‘fold-back’ speaker, for the sole use of the Interpreter.
If this is not possible, the Client shall ensure that the speaker’s voice or film/video sound track is in any case clearly conveyed directly to the Interpreter without interfering noise.
14.1 No record of an Interpreter’s work shall be made without the Interpreter’s prior consent, except where such recording is inherent within legal proceedings. Recordings, which are intended for broadcast or publication, may incur an additional fee.
15. Complaints and Disputes
15.1 Any complaint or dispute in connection with interpreting work carried out shall be notified to the Interpreter by the Client (or vice-versa) not later than one month from the final day of an assignment.
15.2 If the parties are unable to agree, the matter may be referred to the Chair of the Standards Panel of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters. If possible, such referral should be made no later than six weeks from the date on which the original complaint was made.
15.3 If a dispute cannot be resolved amicably between the parties, or if either party refuses to accept the decision of the Standards Panel, the parties shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Courts of England and Wales.
15.4 In any event these Terms and Conditions shall be construed in accordance with English law.
16. Responsibility and Liability
16.1 The interpreting task shall be carried out by the Interpreter using reasonable skill and care and in accordance with the provisions and spirit of the Code of Professional Conduct of the Association of Sign Language Interpreters.
16.2 The Interpreter shall use his or her best endeavours to interpret to the best of his or her ability, knowledge and belief.
16.3 No guarantee can be given as to the absolute accuracy of any interpretation.
16.4 In the event of a dispute or complaint about the work, the liability of the Interpreter shall be limited to the value invoiced by the Interpreter.
16.5 Consequential damages and liability are expressly excluded.
17. Unfair Competition
17.1 Where the Client acts as an intermediary and introduces the Interpreter to a third party by way of business, the Interpreter shall not, for a period of 6 months, approach the said third party for the purpose of soliciting work, nor work for the third party in any interpreting capacity, without the Client’s written consent.
However, this shall not apply where
the third party has had previous dealings with the Interpreter;
the Interpreter acts on the basis of information in the public domain;
the Client has failed to pay the Interpreter;
the approach from the third party is independent of the relationship with the intermediary;
the approach to the third party arises as the result of broad-band advertising or
the third party is seeking interpreters on the open market.
18. Applicability and Integrity
18.1 These Terms and Conditions of Business shall be construed jointly with the Association of Sign Language Interpreters Code of Professional Conduct in order to be complete and effective. They shall also be subject to any detailed arrangements or any variants expressly specified in the order relating to a particular interpreting task. No waiver of any breach of conditions in this document shall be considered as a waiver of any subsequent breach of the same or any other provision.