When booking the interpreter, you should provide the agency the estimated MAXIMUM time the depo may last, instead of giving them to most likely estimate.

Scheduling tip to avoid disruptions.  

If you are an attorney that regularly uses interpreters, this may have happened to you. Your deposition is going longer than expected and the interpreter says he/she cannot stay. You have waited many months for this deposition. You have prepared and incurred the expense of getting a court reporter and maybe a videographer and now you will need to reschedule the continuation. The interpreter is frantically trying to get you a replacement and your office tries to call every single interpreting agency in town. You may be able to get an interpreter in an hour or two if you can get one at all.

Follow my advice below and this will never happen again. But first, let us understand why this is happening.

How a court interpreter schedules their work.

Court interpreters usually take 2 assignments per day; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. with an average deposition time of 2 and a half hours. Afternoon jobs are usually not a problem unless the interpreter has some personal appointment already scheduled later in the day, and most depositions won’t go much past 5 pm. The above-mentioned problem, when an interpreter leaves halfway through, usually occurs in depositions scheduled in the morning hours. Once the deposition goes longer than expected and the interpreter must make it to an afternoon assignment. Why doesn’t the interpreter stay with you and simply get a replacement for the afternoon job?

It is unfair for the attorney that scheduled the interpreter in the afternoon, to be left with just any run of the mill interpreter that the agency can scramble to get last minute. The interpreter may have been booked months in advance and requested by name. Put yourself in those shoes, If that were the best approach, no one would schedule afternoon depositions. Why would you ever schedule an afternoon job, if you know the interpreter is likely to get stuck at a morning job and not even show up at yours?

This is actually what the vast majority of agencies do. Not what we do here in Legal Translations, Inc. We think you deserve to get the interpreter you booked, at the time you booked him/her. If you booked an interpreter in the afternoon, the interpreter should be there regardless of whether or not the morning job went long.

The solution.

When booking the interpreter, you should provide the agency the estimated MAXIMUM time the depo may last, instead of giving them to most likely estimate. If you believe the depo, EUO, Trial, etc… is likely to last e.g. 2 hours, but there is a slim chance it may last 4, just tell the scheduler it may last 4 hours. That way you will have the interpreter available for the entire time slot and not have to worry. The linguist will likely make sure the afternoon schedule is clear so they can stay as long as necessary. The only downside of doing it this way is that you may get charged a higher minimum, depending on the case. Since we are booking morning and afternoon, the contractor will now be left with a single job for the entire day. Instead of a 2-hour minimum, you may get charged a 4 hour minimum of maybe even more. Most of the time, however, the higher minimum is waived as most interpreters are looking forward to longer and more profitable assignments.

One more thing you need to do is to make sure when the interpreter arrives, to ask them if they will be available through the entire expected maximum duration.

We at Legal Translations will confirm this expected maximum duration with your office and will inform the linguist of this in our original work order and in subsequent reconfirmations.

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