2 Hour Minimum

When an interpreter or agency charges 2 hours in rate for anything less than 2 hours of work. If I am booked for an hour but bill double my rate for that hour it would be considered a 2 hour minimum.

Accounts Payable

The department within a corporation responsible for receiving bills from vendors and paying them correctly. This is the department you will often dialogue with when billing larger companies. It’s usually called Accounts Payable or AP. Not all companies have this.

Accounts Receivable

This department is similar to accounts payable but is responsible for receiving payments for the business and processing them in a timely manner. As a freelancer, you are your own accounts receivable as you do not typically have someone who handles this for you.


A company that provides invoicing, billing, bill collection and client procurement services to interpreters. Often agencies are described as being “the only game in town” meaning they are the main beacon of work for that particular market and harder to compete with.

Agencies function as a provider of work by charging the market rate for interpreting services and earning a commission or margin for each interpreter they supply to a client.


Most commonly used when referring to work booked through an agency. Flamingo Interpreting uses gigs, many other agencies use “job” to refer to their bookings. Many interpreters choose to use other wording for their private practice work to differentiate the two. Other options include appointment, booking, job, gig, detail, session or service to name a few.


The number of hours or dollar amount you may bill for a particular booking.

Cancel No Fee

An unpaid cancellation because the booking was dropped. Most often used to describe cancellations happening outside of the 24 or 48 hour cancellation fee previously negotiated. 

Cancel With Fee, Cancel With Charge, Paid Cancellation

All ways to describe a gig cancelling and still being able to bill for the time (usually because it was so last minute)

“Carrying the job”

Meant as a way to say “I did the bulk of the work to make the interpretation successful” often used as a way to refer to teams as unexperienced, unqualified or unprepared. Most of the time this is used negatively. 


Continuing education unit. This is how RID and other bodies responsible for certification/licensure provide, and track professional development. It’s a metric for measuring how much value many workshops have (professionally speaking)


Used interchangeably for anyone utilizing the services of an interpret. This might be the language user we were called in for or the company writing the check. Usage is usually context dependent.


See: Team

Community / Community Work

Working freelance in and around the community (sometimes including medical). Community is usually a delineation from k-12, post secondary, medical and legal environments.


The person using us in the actual interpreting process. Usually you would not use this to refer to the company hiring your services if they were not involved. This is most often used for our Deaf clients and for some reason rarely with hearing clients. 


The agreement written up (usually ahead of the job) that determines who is responsible for payment, how much payment will be and when it’s due etc… This also covers the “scope of work” or what you’re willing to provide as a contractor.


Usually at an agency, this person is responsible for scheduling interpreters into jobs, sending location information and anything else pertinent for the interpreter to be able to go to work.

DASL (Dazzle)

Used in entertainment to refer to someone hired on as a “Director of Artistic Sign Language”. 


The Department of Taxation and Finance. It’s the state level version of the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). In New York State we’re required to file our yearly taxes with them and also submit quarterly tax payments or risk a fine. 

First Hourly, Single Hourly

See: Start-up


This is the bill you send the client once you’ve completed work.

IRS Travel / Mileage Rate

Every year the IRS announces a new write off amount for travel, many interpreters charge this in order to cover their costs on the road. There are many ways to bill for travel time, this one is quite common however as it’s standard across the US. This years reimbursement amount is .56/mile down from 57.5 cents last year (2020). This means anything you charge over that would be considered income and not an even write off.

Lead Interpreter

In my experience, this isn’t common anymore but it would be used to describe the interpreter leading the job. They usually handle the coordination, arrive slightly earlier, decide teaming dynamics sometimes and are the point of contact for the clients. I’ve never seen this necessary outside of a conference situation with multiple interpreters in varying areas. 


Interpreters will sometimes refer to the larger agencies as the machine or machines to refer to the way they function without much humanity (in their opinion).

NET (7,15,30,60 etc…)

The amount of days from receiving the invoice that payment is due. A NET 7 would be due in 7 days, NET 30 in 30 days etc… 


The person receiving the funds for services


The person sending the funds for services


A compiling of work used to display an interpreter’s ability to perform in a live setting.


The work, research, reading etc… done to prepare for a job. This can be documents, interviews, movies, anything really.


The amount of time you’ll be using to prep. Used both to describe time actually needed and the time amount billed. I.e. “the amount of prep time this job required was next level” & “how much prep time are we cleared to bill on this?”


This a document you might send ahead of time to give the client as estimation of what you would charge if booked. This might also be the base rate for services if the scope or end time isn’t clear when you write the contract. 

Rate Sheet

A guide (a menu of sorts) which compiles all the various rates and structures a client can expect to purchase for services from an interpreter.


Red-lining or contract red lining is the process of reviewing a document and marking it up for areas that are being contested or negotiated. For example, if you sent a contract to a client with a 48 hour cancellation policy, they might red line that term or section and return it to you with a request for a 24 hour cancellation policy. This process sometimes happens multiple times before a contract is signed.


The person requesting services. Sometimes interpreters will refer to the requesting agency when differentiating participants and those with a monetary stake in the dynamic. 

Service Agreement

This is the contract that says both the interpreter and client agree how services will be provided, for what amount and how that amount will be paid. Usually they include other terms like cancellation policies.

Scope of Work

This is a write up of what you’re agreeing to. For example, if you’re interpreting for an keynote but not the Q&A after your scope of work might read as only providing services during X’s keynote speech.

Split Team

Used to describe scenarios where one interpreter stays through the entirety of the job but the teams rotate. Perhaps the first interpreter (Interpreter A) stays through the day and has one team in the morning (Interpreter B) and another in the evening (Interpreter C). This would not be a triad because the teams aren’t all working together at the same time with the exception of an ongoing gig. You might say, I’m working in a triad for the semester. 

Start-up (Startup rate)

A startup fee is usually somewhere between an hourly rate and a two hour minimum in dollar amount. This fee is tacked on to single hour jobs in some markets to compensate for travel, the short booking duration etc… This is used as a way to provide interpreters some cushioning when scheduling their day and in some cases as a way for agencies to incentivize their contractors into accepting one hour gigs. Usually used in markets where two hour minimums are feasible because the agencies won’


When situations require or permit more than one interpreter, they are referred to as a team. You might also refer to your “co-interpreter” as a team or teamer. 

Terms of Service (ToS)

Terms of Service are very similar to contracts in that they provide basic terms and provisions which must be followed in order to receive services. However, unlike service agreements or contracts, terms of service are often provided without a signature requirement. These are often handed to agencies in establishing which standards the interpreter would like to apply to the relationship.

The pendulum

This term refers to the pendulum that has swung over the past few decades on a spectrum of helper to machine model. Read more here (INSERT A LINK HERE)


1. The time billed from point -A- to point -B- (the gig) 

2. Work in another location in which you’re not returning home at the end of the evening.


Typically when a team of interpreters contains three people. 


Video Remote Interpreting – this is interpreting over Zoom or another video platform. You see this often used to refer to the “iPad” or VRI cart services hospitals rely on.


Video Relay Service – this is the service Deaf consumers use to be routed through an interpreter which then processes the call by interpreting for both parties. Hearing people who use the service dial a Deaf person’s phone number and are automatically connected to an interpreter who will process the reserve.

7 thoughts on “Glossary

Leave a Reply