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NUPIT - FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the aims/objectives of NUPIT?
2. How long has NUPIT been in operation?
3. Why is Unite representing interpreters and translators?
4. In a nutshell, why should interpreters and translators join NUPIT?
5. Does NUPIT represent all translators and interpreters or only specific segments of the profession?
6. What is the current membership composition of NUPIT?
7. What does NUPIT offer that is different from other professional associations?
8. Does NUPIT offer pension schemes?
9. What other services is the union providing?
10. What has NUPIT been doing and campaigning for on behalf of interpreters and translators?
11. What tools have NUPIT been deploying in its campaigns?
12. Are there any entry requirements or is membership open to any interpreter and translator?
13. What can Unite/NUPIT offer?


.1. What are the aims/objectives of NUPIT?
As from the early days, the aims are to continue representing interpreters and translators, offering them legal advice and representation on terms of appointment and other information related to contract employment matters. Most workers are concerned about their pay levels, working conditions, safety, the fairness with which they are treated, etc. Interpreters and translators are no different in this respect, though of course, they have different problems as they are self-employed and freelance people. Click here to see definitions for 'worker', 'self-employed' and 'agency workers'

NUPIT’s objectives have been to raise the standing of interpreters and ensure good standards of training and qualifications. Professional interpreters and translators are well-qualified people and it is essential that they are properly rewarded for their work. Most professional workers have a union that represents them, and that is what we have been aiming to do for interpreters and translators.

.2. How long has NUPIT been in operation?
NUPIT was set up at the beginning of 2001. It has been growing ever since and many interpreters and translators are joining our branch: Public service interpreters, police and court interpreters, conference interpreters as well as specialised translators, who come from all over the world, different backgrounds, languages, cultures and religions.

.3. Why is Unite representing interpreters and translators?
There are many different professional groups which are part of Unite the Union. It is constantly growing with sections for self-employed groups in membership such as the Association of Professional Tour Guides (APTG), London Cab Drivers, IT professionals, specialist professionals in the health service, clergy, surveyors and engineers, health visitors, etc. In 2001 interpreters and translators decided they wanted to form a union. They came to us as they worked for different work providers. Language practitioners needed the protection of a trade union and this is still true today.

.4. In a nutshell, why should interpreters and translators join NUPIT?
Interpreters and translators need to be protected, and joining NUPIT offers them the opportunity to be part of an organisation that is trying to improve their pay and conditions. As union members, interpreters and translators receive benefits and services from the union, advice and representation on terms of appointment and other related employment matters.

.5. Does NUPIT represent all translators and interpreters or only specific segments of the profession?
We are keen to represent all who come within the interpreting and translation professions as well as those who are in professional training such as the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) or who have a university interpreting and translation degree.   

. 6. What is the current membership composition of NUPIT?
Most of our members are public service interpreters; many are involved in court and police work, others work with agencies or for health authorities. We have a small but growing membership among business and conference interpreters. Most of them are self-employed and freelance.

.7. What does NUPIT offer that is different from other professional associations?
It promotes the establishment of fair and reasonable terms and conditions and a nationally agreed rate of pay. Above all we can offer legal advice, and representation, individual support in work-related disputes such as disciplinary hearings etc. and give support and advice about workplace issues like bullying, or rights and entitlements.

.8. Does NUPIT offer pension schemes?
No but we can advise our self-employed and freelance members how to obtain them.

.9. What other services is the union providing?
We have a magazine and a newspaper, newsletters, e-bulletins and an accessible and informative website. There are many educational courses which the union provides for members and some of these are of interest to NUPIT members, and we are developing a booklet with details of benefits available for NUPIT members through Unite.

.10. What has NUPIT been doing and campaigning for on behalf of interpreters and translators?
NUPIT has developed a model and guidance for Terms of Appointment [Link to Terms of Appointment]. We are giving interpreters and translators the means of helping themselves by informing them what is reasonable regarding terms of appointment. We have undertaken a survey of working conditions of public service interpreters. These are good foundations on which we have been building our membership. We have been hosting the umbrella group meetings and collaborating with all the other interpreter bodies in a joint campaign for recognition of the profession and proper terms and conditions of employment.

.11. What tools have NUPIT been deploying in its campaigns?
We have been gaining support for recent cases and have political connections. You may have noticed some of this already. Putting information and knowledge into the hands of our members is important and can be very effective, as it gives them the tools they need to assist others and to organise their colleagues.
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12. Are there any entry requirements or is membership open to any interpreter and translator?
You must be a professional interpreter or translator and able to show proof that you are qualified to work in the profession, which will entitle you to be included in the NUPIT online database.

.13. What can Unite/NUPIT offer?
We provide advice and representation on terms of appointment and other matters related to contract employment, definition for ‘worker’, self-employed’, ‘and agency workers’. See question no. 1.
Unite is an open and democratic union, offering an important forum for the discussion on the issues facing interpreters and translators – join us today.