The Professional Linguist Perspective on
Independent Contracting

Richard Antoine, MIB/MBA
Executive Director

About this study:

The language industry is generally described as a “cottage industry”, with the overwhelming majority of companies having less than 5 employees and less than $1,000,000 in revenue. For a number of years there has been increased scrutiny by government regulatory agencies. A significant number of companies have been audited and fined for relying primarily on independent contractors to perform the services provided.

This study was conducted in response to an idea that was raised recently, to eliminate the opportunity for professional linguists—translators and interpreters—to work as independent contractors. Instead, professional linguists would need to be employees for whomever required their services. They would have taxes deducted from their paychecks, receive whatever benefits might be afforded and generally be subject to traditional employer controls.

We wanted to understand the professional linguist perspective on this idea related to the conduct of their profession and also their interest in performing work as an employee versus an independent business person.

Survey Methodology:

The linguists who were contacted by email for this study were certified by one of three organizations:

  • Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters
  • National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters
  • American Translators Association

Linguists were asked to complete an online survey which included a series of questions to capture in which state they practiced, data describing their practice and information about motivations and attitudes related to working as an independent business owner/independent contractor.

About the Author:

Richard Antoine, MIB/MBA is the Executive Director of, a training organization dedicated to developing and supporting professional interpreters. He was among the nine founders of the Association of Language Companies, the US national trade group for the language industry, and was elected to be the association’s first president. He has over 25 years of experience in the language industry, including work primarily in management, but also performing linguistic communication services. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a dual major in Managerial Economics and French. He received a joint Master of International Business and Master of Business Administration degree from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He has traveled throughout Western & Central Europe, Asia and the Americas with work experience in both Europe and the Americas.

Richard Antoine
[email protected]

Copyright 2017

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