What is the Cost of a Professional Interpreter

Let’s say your ministry has decided to hire an interpreter for your upcoming service, conference, or concert. Either you’ve received requests for an interpreter or you simply want to actively invite a Deaf audience.

Now what?

This decision to hire an interpreter most likely raised many questions. At first, it can be paralyzing.

What do I do now? Who do I call? How do I know the person the agency sends is any good? How much is it going to cost? Will I know the cost before the event or will other fees sneak in?

Your concerns are real. In this article, we’re going to spend a little time answering some basic questions about the Deaf community, the role of interpreters, general costs, and what value a professional interpreting will give your ministry.

Why have an interpreter?

The Deaf community has a unique language, a unique culture, and unique needs. Interpreters do more than translate language, they give your message cultural context. They make your words relevant to your Deaf audience in their first language, American Sign Language (ASL).

We know a student studying ASL. Why hire a professional?

Because a Deaf audience will know the difference. Again, an interpreter is not simply translating words. They are using their studied, practiced skills to bring your message to life.

And a professional interpreter is not just an expert in ASL. A professional interpreter will always arrive prepared.

They will understand your message. They will know your mission.

They will spend hours preparing for your program: music, message, announcements, and schedule.

What value will they add?

If you hire an interpreter from Sonshine, we’ll add value in three central areas.

  • Your message accurately represented. Again, your interpreter will understand your message and use their skill to serve that message.

  • Clearly communicate to your Deaf audience “You are welcome here!” We will promote your event to the Deaf community. This reflects the heart of Jesus to an unreached people group. 

  • Knowledge of an unknown culture. We will provide consistent and caring advising to your ministry before, during, and immediately following your service, concert, or conference.

How much does hiring a professional interpreter cost?

The cost of bringing professional interpreters will vary based on a few factors.

  • The run-time of your event

  • If you hired your interpreter on short notice

  • Local hourly rates

Any event longer than two hours will require more than one interpreter. Conferences longer than four hours (or with breakout sessions) will usually require more.

Here are some sample costs (hourly rate may vary by area and example assumes we have at least 2 weeks notice).

  • 3-hour event: 2 interpreters at $65/hour.

    • Final Cost: $390

  • Concerts: These are usually billed by flat rate ranging $300-$600 per interpreter and require 2 sometimes 3 interpreters. These rates reflect the countless hours of prep an interpreter does to perfect each song.

    • Final Cost: $600-$1800

  • 8-hour conference without breakouts: 2 interpreters at $65/hour

    • Final Cost: $1040

  • 8-hour conference with two 2-hour breakout sessions offered simultaneously

    • Final Cost $1300

Do not let these costs scare you. We’ve found many ministries are able to afford professional interpreters by identifying sponsors to underwrite the cost.

We know making the decision to hire professional interpreters is not easy. We hope this article helped you understand what an interpreter does and how their services will help your Deaf audience be moved by your ministry’s message.