Current rate for phone interpreters

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Comments (44)

jenm0825 in Oakland, California

69 months ago

I am wondering what experienced interpreters are charging for phone interpreting these days. I have been freelancing successfully for three years as a face-to-face Spanish-English interpreter but am looking to fill in the gaps right now as I wait for the CA Court interpreter certification exam in August.

I have been offered a position as a phone interpreter but am finding the pay rate they have mentioned a little appalling.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

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ana laura in Los Angeles, California

69 months ago

hi Jen,

just wondering are you sure that the certification exam is in august? i was under the impression that there werent any exams scheduled. is there a website with the info? thanks!

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Giari in West Covina, California

67 months ago

I have been working for LL for 2 years. When I started I was getting paid 35 cents per minute. Recently they decreased it to 30 cents per minute. It works for me because we have 3 kids that I have to taxi around to school. I work around there schedule! But, the really money is working in Court if you are willing to travel. :)

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Giari in West Covina, California

67 months ago

Sorry, should be "work around their schedule" not there!

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John in Venice, Florida

67 months ago

I worked for them about 18 years ago. It was 50 cents per minute. From what I see and hear it is more hassle for less money.

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Giari in West Covina, California

67 months ago

Yes, I totally agree! Now they want you to go on a regular daily schedule. They have scheduled days and times and you choose which one you want, it's also less than 30 cents per minute. I cannot work 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. because I have to get kids ready for school and transport them. I have to also pick them up. So recently I've noticed that they are reducing my calls drastically. I am trying to look somewhere else or get a part time job somewhere else. The reason that I started working with Language Line was because of the flexibility. Now I don't know!!

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John in Venice, Florida

67 months ago

It is really sad how workers are treated. I remember when I went home to Minneapolis from the Army. I was 21 and did not have a degree or know much. I went to work as maintenance man and people took the time to show me how to do the job correctly. As this was happening, they paid me $8.69 an hour. This was in 1980 when $8.69 bought a whole lot more than it does today.
Sometimes I complain about my teaching job, but compared to some of these other jobs I feel fortunate.
I know it is convenient to work out of the house, but I hope more skilled interpreters will say, thanks, but no thanks.
Good luck

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Giari in West Covina, California

67 months ago

Hi John, That is so great that you have such a wonderful job in teaching our kids today that will be the future of tomorrow. I use to be a teacher's aide back in the 80's. It was difficult then, so I can only image todays generation. I use to work for the State of CA and resigned 12 years ago when our 2nd child was born. After that I became a stay at home mom and had one more baby. These babies have grown ages 17, 12, 8 and with the changing times, our corrupted society, we feel that they need a lot of guidance and supervision. You probably will agree if you have kids or see it with the kids you teach. Although I do not work a lot of hours a month, the little money I do make comes in really handy, especially at the end of the month. My husband recently had $600 pay reduction. I am going to look into other Interpreter job sites. I am sure there are plenty more. The scary part for me is that I've been out of the work force for so long (office setting), that I am not up to date with computer programs, office machines, etc. I am thinking about going to a vocational course to freshen my skills. I will do this in September when kids go back to school. Thank you for your responses. Have a great week!! :)

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John in Venice, Florida

67 months ago

I understand your desire to supervise your children. I have a 11 year old daughter and a 13 year old son. My wife works part time instead of full time for the sake of our kids. I grew up in a 2 parent home, but I had a lot of unsupervised time. I learned a lot from it, but was lucky to have survived some of my mistakes.
Most of the kids are fairly well behaved in the classroom, but some of the things I hear from them after a weekend party are cause for concern. My wife and I talk about the trade offs that many of us make. Even if you can make over $25 an hour, if your kid gets off track that money can disappear putting them back on track. Oh well, I'm off from school until late August. If I don't find some way to make some money soon, I may just travel or do more with the kids and cut expenses when and where I can. I'm sorry to hear about your husband's pay reduction. I hope they make it up and more when the situation improves. I should really get my Masters degree. Our district pays more just for having one.
Again the trade offs between time, energy, money and family. As my friend says " Too soon old, too late smart." Thank you for your responses as well. Good luck in all you do.

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Jana in Zagreb, Croatia

59 months ago

SOS Talk in Oud-turnhout, Belgium said: We are currently recruiting telephone interpreters and pay 0.30 euro/0.41 usd per minute. We get a lot of replies but also a couple of interpreters that need to have at least 0.50 euro/0.70 usd per minute. May we have your comment on this? and of course if you are interested, please sign up on our website www.sostalk.com

In my opinion, 0.50 euro is a minimum for phone interpreting. From your 0.30 euro rate, one could draw a conclusion that phone interpreting is less demanding than in-person interpreting, while in my opinion it is even more demanding as interpreters cannot see the persons they interpret to/from (communication without an eye contact is much more difficult as far as interpreting is concerned).

In brief, I agree with the colleagues about higher rates.

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lizzy in Corona, California

59 months ago

Quality Control in Austin, Texas said: Tipping is not allowed here. Thank you.

What do u mean tipping is not allowed here? Duh it's a simple question..its ok though...

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lgarciamesa in Mar Del Plata, Argentina

58 months ago

@Jana, I am certified medical interpreter. I am interested in working for EU based companies. Is registration still open?

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karen in Westborough, Massachusetts

36 months ago

Giari in West Covina, California said: I have been working for LL for 2 years. When I started I was getting paid 35 cents per minute. Recently they decreased it to 30 cents per minute. It works for me because we have 3 kids that I have to taxi around to school. I work around there schedule! But, the really money is working in Court if you are willing to travel. :)

Hi there.
Could you explain how the job works?
My email is:
brazil_usa_2010@yahoo.com
Thank you
Karen

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lizzy in Corona, California

36 months ago

you get calls throughout your shift...as soon as u hang up there is another call...you get two 15 mins breaks n a 30min lunch. you'll get a variety of calls like medical,social security calls, welfare calls, court, jail calls, schools, and billing calls and utility calls, credit card calls, home visit calls, 911 calls, all kinds of different calls very entertaining but demanding...i worked there for 2 years i hated it cuz u don't get paid vacation n 2 take time off is a pain in the ass. the isn't great considering all the work u do...n ur home in a chair for 9hours can't go anywhere gotta hurry n eat n no noise what so ever and you are constantly being monitored n they are super picky. but other than that if you don't mind those things and you feel like you are good and ready then you should go for it. It just wasn't for me. I have a couple of friends that still work there n love it. hope this helps.

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joice in Trabuco Canyon, California

36 months ago

Did anyone take the oral test already?
Thanks for your feedback.

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Nidia in West Covina, California

35 months ago

Lizzy; I completly agree with you and all that you have stated regarding LL service; i just worked briefly (2 months) and only part time and I dont think that it was worth me missing out on my daughters feedings; i hated the being monitored like we were kids and not professional in our interpretation.

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Gina in Orlando, Florida

30 months ago

karen in Westborough, Massachusetts said: Hi there.
Could you explain how the job works?
My email is:
brazil_usa_2010@yahoo.com
Thank you
Karen

Karen, I don't think it works, I worked for them as well and agree with all these comments. The only thing I liked about them was having the insurance. As far as pay they could have setup a better pay scale. Any ways I currently work from home as well with Optimal Phone Interpreters. As an interpreter I'm an independent contractor(which at LLS was not available for Spanish). The pay is per minute, but I'm able to log on/log off when I want no questions asked. Literally I could be on a call and log off right after, just send an email and I'm done. With small children it really comes in handy. Check them out @Optimal Phone Interpreters.com

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Nidia in Glendora, California

30 months ago

Thank you so much for that feedback I'm going to look into it. You might be Interested on Cyracom (they also contractor positions)

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Carlos in Miami, Florida

25 months ago

jenm0825 in Oakland, California said: I am wondering what experienced interpreters are charging for phone interpreting these days. I have been freelancing successfully for three years as a face-to-face Spanish-English interpreter but am looking to fill in the gaps right now as I wait for the CA Court interpreter certification exam in August.

I have been offered a position as a phone interpreter but am finding the pay rate they have mentioned a little appalling.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

I've done telephonic interpreting for years, and do not work for less than .40/min. Mostly .50/min and more at night and weekends. Especially for languages other than Spanish here in the USA. It's true that face-to-face pays more, say 50$ an hour instead of $30, and also because it's one hour minimum, sometimes 3-4-5 hours straight, so you can make 200$ or more per day. That's virtually impossible on the phone, even if you are logged in with 4 companies at a time (it can be done, logging on/off on the computer). Even if you are logged in 10hrs a day from home, there are times you don't get calls, thus make no money. Hope this helps everyone.

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Becca in Austin, Texas

25 months ago

I'm an interpreter of a different language. I do face to face and phone interpreting. Y'all need to demand better pay... Spanish is quickly becoming one of the largest speaking languages in the country. I don't speak it, and I know a lot of other people who don't, either. Spanish/English interpreters are valuable, and you should be fairly compensated as such.

I'm a little ignorant as to the certifying bodies that be for other languages- and do you guys have a Code of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct?

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Pablo in Corona, California

23 months ago

Carlos, can you refer me what companies pay the most over the phone? But the ones I can log in whenever I want and work at my own schedule. Or can anyone?

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S-G, rockville MD in Rockville, Maryland

22 months ago

To all looking into OPI: IT's a real scam!
They pay pennies, but expect tremendous knowledge, skills education and experience, same as court work. It is especially important when you do hospital OPI. you are expected to be there and running the moment the phone rings, clients dont understand that - like in my case - you do NOT sit and wait for the call - you dont get paid for THAT!
What you get is (sometimes, not always, I admit) is anyone - just to get on interpret. Especially in lesser used languages.
I am heartbroken after these calls (doesn’t happen to in court!). you deal with birth through death, you have to have the knowledge of a physician – and they pay you less than the cabbie off the boat! It’s a racket – and interpreters who take it should beware.
Less than $30/hour for highly professional and demanding work? I am so sorry I started with it! I try to do it, because I would hate to be in a hospital somewhere and not have someone ease the way for me. SO, PAY US FOR THE JOB WE DO!
And that applies to the clients – Hospitals, banks, social security officers, government, military mortgage companies – and the OPI contractors – from east to west!

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willib in Janesville, Wisconsin

19 months ago

Carlos in Miami, Florida said: I've done telephonic interpreting for years, and do not work for less than .40/min. Mostly .50/min and more at night and weekends. Especially for languages other than Spanish here in the USA. It's true that face-to-face pays more, say 50$ an hour instead of $30, and also because it's one hour minimum, sometimes 3-4-5 hours straight, so you can make 200$ or more per day. That's virtually impossible on the phone, even if you are logged in with 4 companies at a time (it can be done, logging on/off on the computer ). Even if you are logged in 10hrs a day from home, there are times you don't get calls, thus make no money. Hope this helps everyone.

Can you please tell me how you can be logged on to 4 companies or more by logging on/off on the computer?

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willib in Janesville, Wisconsin

19 months ago

S-G, rockville MD in Rockville, Maryland said: To all looking into OPI: IT's a real scam!
They pay pennies, but expect tremendous knowledge, skills education and experience, same as court work. It is especially important when you do hospital OPI. you are expected to be there and running the moment the phone rings, clients dont understand that - like in my case - you do NOT sit and wait for the call - you dont get paid for THAT!
What you get is (sometimes, not always, I admit) is anyone - just to get on interpret. Especially in lesser used languages.
I am heartbroken after these calls (doesn’t happen to in court!). you deal with birth through death, you have to have the knowledge of a physician – and they pay you less than the cabbie off the boat! It’s a racket – and interpreters who take it should beware.
Less than $30/hour for highly professional and demanding work? I am so sorry I started with it! I try to do it, because I would hate to be in a hospital somewhere and not have someone ease the way for me. SO, PAY US FOR THE JOB WE DO!
And that applies to the clients – Hospitals, banks, social security officers, government , military mortgage companies – and the OPI contractors – from east to west!

Are you referring to at home, phone line interpreting, which normally pays per minute. What is the per/minute rate they pay?

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willib in Janesville, Wisconsin

19 months ago

Language Line just offered me a job for $12 in hour to work from home. What a joke! Where I live right now, even a simple temporary office job will pay at least $14 an hour.
Needless to say I declined the job. I have a full-time job that pays even more than $14 and was just looking for cash. I'm already signed up with two other companies that pay 55 cents per minute. Yes, I don't get many calls, since I only take calls during evenings or weekends, but what the heck, it's better than $12 per hour staying home all day.

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CN in San Jose, California

19 months ago

who pays at least $0.55 per minute?, I am working for one but only few calls a day and get paid only $.30 just started this week, they say my first pay will be by June or July. I am doing other work while I wait for calls in the computer but would like better paid and not to be paid once a month.

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willib9 in Maple Grove, Minnesota

19 months ago

CN in San Jose, California said: who pays at least $0.55 per minute?, I am working for one but only few calls a day and get paid only $.30 just started this week, they say my first pay will be by June or July. I am doing other work while I wait for calls in the computer but would like better paid and not to be paid once a month.

Certified Languages and Telelanguage. I've worked for Telelanguage for about 5 years. They'd offered me 55 cent per minute back then and I thought about asking for a raise. I also don't get a lot of calls, especially since I can only work evenings and weekends. I used to get more when I worked during the day and in the summer time. What company do you work for?

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CN in San Jose, California

19 months ago

i just started with Northwest Interpreters, Inc., I like that I don't have a set schedule, I call everyday or they call me in the morning to ask what hours I want to work, that is ok for me for now. But if I can find a better pay because I don't get many calls as well.

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willib9 in Maple Grove, Minnesota

19 months ago

Yes, I also like the flexibility. I also like the job. That's why I wish i could do it more often.
I think the reason why interpreters don't get a lot of calls is because a company must hire a lot of interpreters to make sure they always have someone available. So I imagine, they divide up the calls among a bunch of interpreters. Maybe working for several companies will help you. You could log on for one in the morning, another in the afternoon and yet another in the evening. I think its nice you can do other work while you wait. I don't have that option since I work full-time out of the house.

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Fleur Soleil in Iowa

19 months ago

I am a phone interpreter and my language is not as popular as Spanish. Last year I was offered to take a pay cut from a company in Arizona, after sharing with them that my call volume had dropped. They told me that I could keep the higher rate if I wanted, however it would mean even less calls since the first calls are directed to those accepting a lower rate. Since, I had been working for more than one company I just started logging on with the other company. I have been pleased with the result. I think that we should be one voice and accept no less than 50 to 60 cents per minutes no matter the language. I understand that there might be more Spanish interpreters available on the market but this does not mean that you do not work as hard as others.
The problem is that some individuals drops their price without any consideration of the long time effect. In the process big corporation like LL, CI, will play along to see how low we are wiling to decrease our rate. Let them get stuck with one or two interpreters, their wait time for the client will get longer and longer and their call volume now will drop. Some of you may remember Omni. They became history after losing touch with the very people that was making them a lot of money, after stabbing their most valuable asset in the back (their interpreters). We all must rally togheter, get certified and get those driving the profession down out of business.
Think about this, we supply a skill that most of our managers do not have and most of all do not understand. As much as you can, work for companies that treat you well. Generally these are the company that will call you or send you an email (not a form with a link to acknowledge receipt)to recognize your greatness and if necessary to let you know where you need to improve. I have been working for a company like that for two years now and yes they did give me a raise without asking. No need to tell you that I log on with them most of the time.

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willib9 in Maple Grove, Minnesota

19 months ago

You are so correct!!! Unfortunately they prey on people, who believe, they won't get any better pay. And it doesn't just apply to interpreters. Whenever companies realize they can hire people for less, they will do it. I've found that the best defense against low pay is education. Education might not make you rich but it will definitely give you more options. Do you mind telling what company you like the most?

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Fleur Soleil in Iowa

19 months ago

willib9 in Maple Grove, Minnesota said: You are so correct!!! Unfortunately they prey on people, who believe, they won't get any better pay. And it doesn't just apply to interpreters. Whenever companies realize they can hire people for less, they will do it. I've found that the best defense against low pay is education. Education might not make you rich but it will definitely give you more options. Do you mind telling what company you like the most?

This one is easy, Pacific interpreters.

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joe in Beaumont, Texas

16 months ago

Fleur Soleil in Iowa said: This one is easy, Pacific interpreters.

This one is paying pennies, was bought from LL a few months

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LLS in Bayside, New York

9 months ago

LLS in Bayside, New York said: If you can, try to avoid working for Language Line. I started to work for them in 2005. I had no experience back then. They only paid me $9/hour and calls were crazy busy and I had to be on schedule for 8 hours/day, 5 days a week. I worked for them for about 1 year without raising a penny. They had harsh rules you have to follow in order to work for slavery rate. After that I worked for Tele-interpreters and got 50 cents a minute, I didn't need to be on schedule, worked anytime I wanted. Worked until 2010 and LLS brought Tele-Interpreters. In the beginning I was still working for 50 cents a minute. In about 2011 they reduced my rate (and every interpreter who got transferred over) to 35 cents a minutes, 30% deduction. LLS is ripping their interpreters off at any giving time. Harsh rules to follow and slavery salary in return. DO NOT WORK FOR LANGUAGE LINE, if you can. Big company makes multi-million dollars a year, but paying almost zero salary to their interpreters.

SHAME ON YOU. Language Line SHAME ON YOU.

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M in Horsham, Pennsylvania

8 months ago

Language Service Associates is currently looking for Spanish interpreters. Email resume to malicea@lsaweb.com

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LLS in Bayside, New York

8 months ago

willib in Janesville, Wisconsin said: Language Line just offered me a job for $12 in hour to work from home. What a joke! Where I live right now, even a simple temporary office job will pay at least $14 an hour.
Needless to say I declined the job. I have a full-time job that pays even more than $14 and was just looking for cash. I'm already signed up with two other companies that pay 55 cents per minute. Yes, I don't get many calls, since I only take calls during evenings or weekends, but what the heck, it's better than $12 per hour staying home all day.

Yes, that is Language Line, like I said, they demand every interpreter to follow their strict rules but paid you slavery salary. RIP interpreters off at any given time.

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Maneagle in Manti, Utah

7 months ago

I worked for Language Line from 1996 to 2007. The company was owned by AT&T when I first started working there and it was a much nicer company then. After they were bought by some investor group the calls came in like crazy. Sometimes I had no time to drink water between calls. "Occupant" or the time on calls went from about 55% to 90%. I feel the same as others have stated here. The company was making major profits while the interpreters were getting paid very little.

Maneagle

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Maneagle in Manti, Utah

7 months ago

Maneagle in Manti, Utah said: I worked for Language Line from 1996 to 2007. The company was owned by AT&T when I first started working there and it was a much nicer company then. After they were bought by some investor group the calls came in like crazy. Sometimes I had no time to drink water between calls. "Occupant" or the time on calls went from about 55% to 90%. I feel the same as others have stated here. The company was making major profits while the interpreters were getting paid very little.

Maneagle

Occupancy - not Occupant!!! sorry

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aquibes in Carolina, Puerto Rico

4 months ago

I just got hired on Language Line Solutions. I do agree that the rate is pretty low, but on my individual case, I'm starting in this profession, I just graduated and still studying to take FCICE written test. It does give me an opportunity to practice and develop my skills as an interpreter. I do understand as a professional with experience, education, certifications etc. would be an extremely low pay rate. But for us, the "newbies", it does give us an opportunity to venture on this career, on this new profession, get experience, and lose the "stage fright" of just jumping into the business. I do agree with everything that's been stated on the long hours, low pay rate, strict rules.. But if I do look for another job opportunity as a student, I am (at least in PR) getting around the same pay rate and even probably working more and probably on other business and wouldn't be practicing and developing my skills. So I'm just seeing this as an internship maybe...
But I would like to know if there are other jobs as a OPI with better pay rates out there? Or is this the only company that offers this service? Or are the other companies with the same policies? Same rates?
Like I stated before, I'm new on the business, trying to get certified, and get a scholarship to do a master's in translation and interpretation.
Hope my point of view was helpful to others as we'll Specially those "newbies" like me out there. Thank you!

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Vnn in Bayside, New York

4 months ago

@ aquibes in Carolina, Puerto Rico: You can try cyramcom.com They do mostly medical interpretation, I would said about 70% of the calls are medical. I feel sorry for you, having no choice other than Language Line - A cheap, rip off company. Try Cyramcom. Good Luck.

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aquibes in San Juan, Puerto Rico

4 months ago

Vnn in Bayside, New York said: @ aquibes in Carolina, Puerto Rico: You can try cyramcom.com They do mostly medical interpretation, I would said about 70% of the calls are medical. I feel sorry for you, having no choice other than Language Line - A cheap, rip off company. Try Cyramcom. Good Luck.

Thanks for the advice ;)

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queenenergy in Asbury Park, New Jersey

3 months ago

jenm0825 in Oakland, California said: I am wondering what experienced interpreters are charging for phone interpreting these days. I have been freelancing successfully for three years as a face-to-face Spanish-English interpreter but am looking to fill in the gaps right now as I wait for the CA Court interpreter certification exam in August.

I have been offered a position as a phone interpreter but am finding the pay rate they have mentioned a little appalling.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

I have been a wah interpreter since 2010. No commuting, weather fighting, able to have my own schedule, etc. Love it.
queenenergy

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queenenergy in Asbury Park, New Jersey

3 months ago

I have been a wah interpreter since 2010. It's great- no commuting, weather problems. I love it.

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queenofbullshyt in Fullerton, California

3 months ago

Do you love the MINIMUM WAGE you're being paid too? I bet at least it's a good supplement to the food stamps, huh?

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