The International Association of Conference Interpreters issued the following position statement on AB 5 supporting an exemption from application of the new law.
The United States chapter of the International Association of Conference Interpreters
(AIIC) represents over 190 members in the United States. Conference interpreters provide
essential linguistic support to meetings that generally last one to five days and change from city
to city, even country to country, and importantly from client to client. Most of our members
have chosen to be independent contractors to meet the requirements of the market. The short
duration of projects, their geographic variability and different language combinations require us
to choose our dates, clients and projects wisely and strategically. Our ability to do so and thus
our livelihoods would be severely undermined by employee status.
Our members are sophisticated and highly educated entrepreneurs. We generally hold
master’s degrees or higher and undergo continuous training. We manage our businesses in
every aspect. Each interpreter-entrepreneur invests thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours
a year in their business. Each is responsible for setting their own rates, doing their own
professional development, accounting, marketing, project preparation, quality control,
invoicing, and taxes. We receive requests for services from dozens of clients every year and
freely accept or reject them according to an assessment that only we are able to make. We
weigh the subject matter, language fit, quality of the sound and other technical conditions,
other proposed members of the interpreter team, and of course our scheduled commitments
to other clients.
We salute efforts to protect workers forced to accept contractor status inappropriately.
However, we choose this status out of a business necessity. If this freedom is curtailed and we
are forced to become employees, our competitiveness will be drastically reduced, possibly
beyond repair. Our livelihood and the well-being of our families will suffer significantly.
Through our profession’s long history in the United States and abroad, the independent
contractor status of conference interpreters has been shown to work. We ask that conference
interpreters’ freedom to choose independent contractor status be respected and that the
profession of conference interpreter be included on the list of professions exempted from the
employee status requirements of California Assembly Bill 5 and the Dynamex Decision.