Why do I have to pay more for an interpreter recording?

The role of interpreter is sometimes misunderstood.  Much effort is done by the profession to educate all sectors that need this vital work.  Conference interpreters work like United Nations interpreters.  They are inside ISO compliant booths with simultaneous equipment so that the event may be delivered to foreign speakers as if it were in their own language.  Many event planners wonder, “if conference interpreting solutions are contracted, why do I have to pay more to record it?”

The basic answer is that intellectual property belongs to the author.  In the 21st century, the smartphone has turned almost anyone who owns a mobile phone into an author of intellectual property.  How so?  The mere act of photography.  When you take a picture and upload it to social media, it remains your intellectual property (IP).  No one can use it without your permission; you must grant them a license or transfer your IP rights to them for consideration (or without consideration, if you choose). 

Let’s say you hire an architect to draw the plans to your dream home.  You have ten acres surrounding this beautiful home.  Some years down the road, you decide to build your children (or parents) the exact same home on the rear of the property.  The architect drives by your street and notices the new home.  Because it’s not a subdivision, the architect knows she didn’t grant you a license.  She contacts her attorney.  A few weeks later, you receive service of process that you’re being sued.  What happened?  You learn that you didn’t have a right to use those plans for a second house.  Seeking forgiveness instead of permission will not help you here. 

According to international law, the copyright of the interpreters’ rendition is protected and cannot be used without consent.  The Berne Convention stipulates that when the performance of conference interpreters are committed to any type of fixed media, said performance becomes a translation and its authors have exclusive rights. If you wish to use the performance in another, different setting, you need consent from the interpreters to use their copyright.  Most interpreters will grant consent for recording for a fee, usually equal to the daily fee.  If you require a recording, please factor that into your event budget. 

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