Traditionally, interpreters are booked in three steps:
- Availability inquiry
- Event (or mission, meeting, etc.) confirmation
- Booking confirmation
The first step, when the hiring client, agency or colleague reaches out to inquire about a particular interpreter’s availability for the date/s of the event, results in an option. This means the interpreter in question is available and is keeping the date/s pencilled in (that is, tentatively booked) for this client, agency, or colleague.
In practice, however, and although interpreters would normally honour the inquiry and check in with the client, agency, or colleague before accepting other jobs, an Option is not a legally binding contract – yet.
Once the event, conference, meeting, mission, etc and their details are confirmed (Step 2), this confirmation is passed on to interpreters (Step 3) who now know their services are actually going to be required.
This third step is finalised and formalised via either a legally binding contract or a purchase order and, in some cases, payment in advance. As a result, all agreed terms of service and legal provisions such as expenses reports and cancellation fees, among others, apply.
Therefore, it is only now, after the third step is complete, that you have hired a professional interpreter to help you connect worlds with words.