Conference Interpreting Survey
Dear fellow freelance conference interpreters,

My name is David Bovy. I am a freelance interpreter and I am currently preparing my Ph.D. in interpreting at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC). Before going into the details of the purpose of this survey, I would like to express my support to all of you who are going through tricky times because of the Covid-19 crisis. Our sector has been hit particularly hard by this health crisis and the evidence seems to indicate that it might take some time before the international conference market resumes its activities.

I am contacting you today because I need your help to collect some data about what we actually do as freelance conference interpreters, over and above transferring messages from one language to another. My doctoral thesis addresses some aspects of conference interpreting in the private market and this survey is specifically directed to all the FREELANCE interpreters, as opposed to staff interpreters. For that reason, I would kindly ask any staff interpreter who might receive this questionnaire NOT to complete it, as we are preparing a specific model for them that will be shared shortly, with a view to completing this research with their views. Their thoughts on some aspects of our profession will be highly appreciated to complete my investigation.

For all freelance interpreters, it should take less than fifteen minutes to complete. Your answers will constitute a key part of my study, which aims to present a true reflection of what our job actually entails, and I would therefore kindly request that you share your perceptions and experience as accurately as possible. I would be very grateful if you could fill in the questionnaire by June 15 so we can proceed to the analysis of all the data collected. The more insight we receive, the more complete the investigation will be, so feel free to share it among your freelance conference interpreting colleagues.

Thank you in advance for your time and participation.

Stay safe, stay healthy.

David Bovy
Please state your sex.
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Please indicate your age.
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What is your country of residence?
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Have you studied translation/interpreting?
Is your mother tongue different from the official language(s) of the country where you live?
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Are you a member of a professional interpreting association?
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If so, please specify the name of the professional interpreting association you are member of.
How many years have you been working as a professional intepreter?
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Before Covid-19 struck, how many days per year would you normally work as an interpreter?
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Please specify the percentage of simultaneous intepreting compared to your global intepreting activity.
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Do you only work as an intepreter or do you perform other activities?
Please specify your working languages (A, B and C)
Arabic
Dutch
English
French
German
Italian
Portuguese
Spanish
Russian
Other
A
B
C
How often do you work into a B language?
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Do you have to negotiate/explain your prices before an assignment with the client?
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When working in the private sector, how often do you have to perform the following tasks BEFORE the event? Please mark the box accordingly.
Never
Seldom
Occasionally
Often
Almost always
Always
Ask (more than once) for documentation
Explain the general conditions of the interpretation service (fares, travel arrangements, etc.)
Explain the difference between simultaneous and consecutive
Explain the human resources needed to perform the service (number of intepreters per booth, language combination of the interpreters, etc.)
Explain the technical requirements to perform the service
Explain the concept of "Relay" when the assignment calls for relay
Set up or take part in the setting up of a team of interpreters (where there is more than one booth)
Organize your own travel arrangements
Negotiate the conditions that apply in case of streaming and/or recording
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Please specify any other task not listed above you have to perform at least occasionally before an event.
When working in the private sector, how often do you have to perform the following tasks DURING the event apart from interpreting? Please mark the box accordingly.
Never
Seldom
Occasionally
Often
Almost always
Always
Deal with the organizers during the event
Check the sound system right before and/or during the event
Solve audio issues during the event
Check the position of the booths right before the event (mobile)
Ask for documentation during the event
Explain the concept of "relay" (to the organizers and/or to the technicians)
Translate documents during the event
Work during lunch/breaks
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Please specify any other task not listed above you have to perform at least occasionally DURING an event.
On average, how long do you spend preparing an event?
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If the language combination of an event requires relay, do you ask the organization the names of and/or references for the other interpreters ?
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How often do you receive documentation and/or presentations from the organization at least 48 hours before an event for preparation purposes?
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When hired for a simultaneous interpretation service, how often are you asked to add a service of consecutive interpretation on the spot?
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When asked to render an additional service of consecutive on the spot during a simultaneous assignment, how often do you have to explain the client/organization that extra costs will be incurred?
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How often, when hired for a single intepreter service (maximum one hour) are you asked to cover a much longer time on the spot (two hours or more)?
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Are you familiar with the technical requirements in force for the conference interpreting sector (ISO 2603, Simultaneous interpreting — Permanent booths — Requirements and ISO 4043, Simultaneous interpreting — Mobile booths — Requirements)?
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How often do you work in booths that meet the technical requirements in force for the conference interpreting sector (ISO 2603, Simultaneous interpreting — Permanent booths — Requirements and ISO 4043, Simultaneous interpreting — Mobile booths — Requirements)?
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How often do you work with the same booth partners / colleagues in other booths?
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Do you specialize in a specific topic or in a range of topics or do you cover any subject depending on demand?
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Do you think working in the private sector is more stressful than working as a staff interpreter?
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If you answered YES to the previous question, please explain why.
Please specify any other factors, of any type, that affect the way you work in the private sector that have not been covered in this questionnaire (this would be most helpful in our research).
And finally, we would be interested in the following data, as a way of quantifying the vulnerability of freelance conference interpreters to unforeseen variables: How many days of conference interpreting have you lost as a direct result of Covid-19
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