Private practice interpreting means that I am able to offer my services directly between a hiring entity and a Deaf individual with less overhead. This manifests in two ways. Most of the interpreting work done in my practice is done by me directly. However, I also do a certain amount of subcontracting in special circumstances in order to meet the needs of the Deaf community, interpreters, and hiring organizations.
Many interpreters work as subcontractors for various referral services. The overhead for these services can be quite high, which often requires a large mark-up on individual hours of service or contracts that guarantee a minimum charge that may far exceed your needs. I maintain a cooperative agreement with roughly 80 interpreters in the DC metro area (and additional agreements with interpreters serving other markets). These interpreters may not be able to or want to maintain the necessary insurances or government contracting paperwork, but would still like to offer their skills to the Deaf community in and around DC.
How I Operate
Any requests that I receive through my website or direct to me are first filled by me personally. If I am not available, I will request your permission to refer the request to my list of interpreters. If your request has special parameters (i.e. specific gender, cultural competency, or setting specialty), I will send your request onto a select group of suitable professional interpreters. There is no cost for this service.
I maintain certain purchase order agreements with various companies and government agencies in order to give that organization access to the vibrant and talented pool of freelance interpreters available in the region. These are bid at a very low rate, which covers only the cost of the services, insurance, and coordination time. As a working interpreter, I build my practice on being in the field. I only maintain those contracts for which I personally provide interpreting services. If I am not a good match to that work, I will work with you to identify another interpreter who is better suited to your needs and may be able to offer a similar contracting vehicle.
The private practice model is the most direct service model bringing consumers and providers together. Your organization will pay less for interpreting services and the interpreters will generally bring home more without a middleman referral service weighing down the process. In addition, I do not charge peak hours' fees (for meetings beginning between 10am and 2pm M-F), evening or weekend differentials, last minute surcharges, mileage, parking, tolls, metro, taxi, meals, or any other reimbursable expenses for standard local requests (requests requiring travel will be negotiated on an individual basis). I charge an industry standard initial fee that covers up to the first two hours of interpreting service and I have an industry standard cancellation policy of 48 business hours' notice.
The biggest advantage of this model is direct access to high quality interpreting services. Your organization will be able to access the broad pool of talented professional interpreters in the region. In addition to the 80+ interpreters on my general list, I have brokered special arrangements to allow clients to access a particular interpreter. Interpreters are often highly specialized and finding someone who has the skills you need may not always be possible when contracting vehicles interfere. My practice is able to help reduce those barriers to allow you to access the particular interpreters who best suit your needs. Knowing who your interpreter will be and not having to deal with a revolving door of unsuitable candidates is a savings in time and energy.
You'll also be able to experiment and develop the skills of other interpreters to ensure that you will always have a sufficient pool of talent to meet your scheduling needs. I take feedback from the Deaf and hearing participants very seriously and work closely with my colleagues to identify the most effective interpreting strategies and the best personnel matches possible.
The downside to private practice is that I am not able to guarantee coverage of assignments that are requested with less than two weeks' notice. Requests that come in after that are subject to availability of the interpreters in my co-op. However, in over a decade of practice, my fill rate on requests is 99.7%, regardless of when the request was lodged.
Available Contracting Vehicles
I am able to manage contracts that require bidding (I have a DUNS number and am registered with SAM). I have held several through sole source justifications (this is a unique model that you won't find anywhere else), held Blanket Purchase Agreements, purchase orders, and I can accept credit card payments. These arrangements have ranged from finite contracts with specific time parameters to ad hoc contracts that have continued year after year. I have also worked contracts cooperatively with other interpreters where we've each shared a portion of funding available through BPAs (a model designed to give consumers direct access to a highly specialized pool of interpreters).
I do not require non-compete agreements as I firmly believe that Deaf consumers should have the right to choose the interpreters that best meet their needs and they should not be locked into contracts where they are stuck with incompetent interpreters.
A Good Choice
Private practice is a good choice for both interpreters and consumers. If you'd like to make a request for services, please visit here. If you're an interpreter and would like to be added to my co-op list, please visit here.