Forum for New Interpreters
Have you recently finished an interpreting program? Are you looking for the next steps to begin your career as an interpreter? New to the field and have questions you need answered?

This forum is specifically meant to help new interpreters like yourself with questions and issues you may have along the path of developing a strong interpreting career. The EIS staff or one of our Certified Interpreters will answer all questions you have. Past questions are archived here.

Q:  What do I do if my client doesn't show up?  Do I have to wait the full length of the assignment before I leave?

A:  The short answer to this question is your departure is determined on a case by case basis. There is always the consumer, customer and agency to take into consideration. Always be sure to check when the job is booked and ask what the policy is for no-shows. The standard wait time in the industry as a rule is 20 minutes for a no show (if the job is a 2hr minimum or less) and one hour for a job that is booked longer. However, there are always extenuating circumstances and you should NEVER leave a job site until you check with the entity that hired you for the assignment (whether that be an agency and/or a direct contract).

An example of a 20 minute wait time might be a Dr's appointment where they have made it clear if the patient is more than ten minutes late they will need to reschedule. The example of a situation where you may be asked to stay the entire time scheduled would be a platform assignment or an open-ended situation where consumers may come and go at any given moment and you need to be ready to interpret.

While waiting you should be discreet and not bring attention to the fact that someone may be running late. Make your point of contact aware that you are on site and that you will be on the lookout for your consumer. Position yourself at a point where your consumer may enter the room and you are easily identifiable as the Interpreter.

The worst thing that can happen is that you leave and then the consumer shows with no one available. It is detrimental to your reputation and the agency that you represent. Although no shows can be frustrating, keep in mind you are still being paid to be on site and be ready to interpret.