Work conditions of conference interpreters
(according to the Hellenic Association of Conference Interpreters-SYDISE)
1 An interpreter may work alone for a maximum of one and a half (1.30’) hours in the case of simultaneous or whispered interpreting, or three (3) hours in the case of consecutive interpreting. Two interpreters shall work a maximum of seven and a half (7.30’) hours. After seven and a half (7. 30’) hours, three (3) interpreters are required per language combination. During that work time, sufficient breaks of around 15-20 minutes are required every 2-2.5 hours of interpreting.
2 Interpreters shall only work with other professional interpreters, otherwise they shall refuse to undertake the assignment.
3 The time at which work begins shall be considered as the time written in the agenda, even if there is a delay for which interpreters are not responsible. The working hours shall also include coffee breaks, as well as a lunch break provided it does not exceed one and a half hours (1.30’). Once the scheduled working hours are over, the interpreters’ team leader (chef d’équipe) shall give the session’s chairperson fifteen minutes (15’) notice after which the interpreters will stop.
4 Overtime shall be charged to the organiser. Interpreters are entitled to refuse overtime if they judge that they are too tired to perform well.
5 If the interpreters are not responsible for the set up and operation of the simultaneous interpretation system pursuant to a special agreement with the organiser, the latter is obliged to provide a system that complies with modern international standards. Interpreters shall not be responsible for machine performance or the technical staff and reserve the right to refuse to work if the system provided is outdated, deficient, or operates poorly, as well as if the space provided is deemed unfit for work (i.e. the space has no visual contact with the speaker’s podium; is too small, dark, dirty, etc.) without this freeing the organiser from the latter’s agreed financial and other obligations.
6 Interpretation is exclusively provided from and into the languages agreed upon. Films or videos shown shall not be translated, unless there is audio feed in the interpreters’ booth. Authors’ quotes, passages from the Bible, poems or song lyrics shall not be translated unless the original and a valid translation thereof is given to the interpreters beforehand. Also, interpreters do not interpret during guided tours or other tourism related activities, nor private conversations.
7 It is strictly forbidden to record interpreters. Interpreting is the oral translation of spoken words in real time and the interpreter’s intellectual property. If organisers wish to make a recording, then they must request the interpreters’ relevant authorisation or the verbal consent of all interpreters involved in the specific conference.
8 Interpreters’ subsistence expenses (meals, coffee, etc.) during working hours shall be exclusively borne by the organiser.
9 In the event of conferences taking place away from the interpreters’ professional domicile, the organiser must cover the interpreters’ travel expenses to and from their place of residence, to and from the conference venue, as well as any local transfers of the interpreters as part of such assignment. It should be noted that the fastest means of transport is to be chosen for interpreters unless they explicitly request otherwise. Also, in case interpreters choose to travel to the venue with their own vehicle, the organiser must pay their fuel expenses based on the invoice submitted by the interpreters. The organiser is obliged to provide interpreters with full board at the same hotel as the conference participants and / or at the conference venue; 1st class wherever this exists or of a corresponding rating system otherwise, with a single room per interpreter and all the meals of the day (full board). If, due to bus time schedules or the relevant decision of the organiser, interpreters are obliged to reach the work location from 24 to 3 hours prior to the commencement of the event, the organiser is obliged either to cover their accommodation and subsistence or compensate them for the relevant amount.
10 Working away from the interpreter’s professional domicile shall mean at a distance of 25 km from Syntagma Square for Athens, or from a corresponding square from which distance is measured in other cities, or within the limits of the Prefecture where interpreters reside. In such an event, the interpreters’ accommodation expenses at the location of the conference or otherwise travel expenses to and from the conference venue and their place of residence on the same day shall be settled based on an agreement with the organiser. In any other case the foregoing shall apply.
11 In the event of force majeure (strike, stoppage, protest marches and manifestations that obstruct traffic or delay itineraries, etc.) interpreters shall not be held liable, but must make every effort to get to the workplace as soon as possible.
12 Interpreters should be informed beforehand of the professional context in which they will work, including any terminology.