This Code of Ethics, which is complied by the AUSIT, is intended to regulate the professional conduct of translators and interpreters. Nowadays, a large number of agencies, institutions, language service providers and purchasers of interpreting and translating services require practitioners who work with them to adhere to this Code of Ethics. It is recognized as setting a general standard for interpreting and translating. The following Code of Ethics defines the values and principles guiding the decisions interpreting and translating professionals make in practice.
Code of Ethics
1. PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
Interpreters and translators act at all times in accordance with the standards of conduct and decorum appropriate to the aims of AUSIT, the national professional association of interpreting and translation practitioners.
Explanation: Interpreters and translators take responsibility for their work and conduct; they are committed to providing quality service in a respectful and culturally sensitive manner, dealing honestly and fairly with other parties and colleagues, and dealing honestly in all business practices. They disclose any conflict of interest or any matter that may compromise their impartiality. They observe common professional ethics of diligence and responsiveness to the needs of other participants in their work.
Interpreters and translators maintain confidentiality and do not disclose information acquired in the course of their work.
Explanation: Interpreters and translators are bound by strict rules of confidentiality, as are the persons they work with in professional or business fields.
Interpreters and translators only undertake work they are competent to perform in the languages for which they are professionally qualified through training and credentials.
Explanation: In order to practise, interpreters and translators need to have particular levels of expertise for particular types of work. Those who work with interpreters and translators are entitled to expect that they are working with appropriately qualified practitioners. Practitioners always represent their credentials honestly. Where formal training or accreditation is not available (e.g. in less frequently used language combinations and new and emerging languages), practitioners have an obligation to increase and maintain skills through their own professional development (see Principle 8 below) or request employers, agencies or institutions to provide it.
Interpreters and translators observe impartiality in all professional contacts. Interpreters remain unbiased throughout the communication exchanged between the participants in any interpreted encounter. Translators do not show bias towards either the author of the source text or the intended readers of their translation.
Explanation: Interpreters and translators play an important role in facilitating parties who do not share a common language to communicate effectively with each other. They aim to ensure that the full intent of the communication is conveyed. Interpreters and translators are not responsible for what the parties communicate, only for complete and accurate transfer of the message. They do not allow bias to influence their performance; likewise they do not soften, strengthen or alter the messages being conveyed.
Interpreters and translators use their best professional judgement in remaining faithful at all times to the meaning of texts and messages.
Explanation: Accuracy for the purpose of this Code means optimal and complete message transfer into the target language preserving the content and intent of the source message or text without omission or distortion.
6. CLARITY OF ROLE BOUNDARIES
Interpreters and translators maintain clear boundaries between their task as facilitators of communication through message transfer and any tasks that may be undertaken by other parties involved in the assignment.
Explanation: The focus of interpreters and translators is on message transfer. Practitioners do not, in the course of their interpreting or translation duties, engage in other tasks such as advocacy, guidance or advice. Even where such other tasks are mandated by particular employment arrangements, practitioners insist that a clear demarcation is agreed on between interpreting and translating and other tasks. For this purpose, interpreters and translators will, where the situation requires it, provide an explanation of their role in line with the principles of this Code.
7. MAINTAINING PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Interpreters and translators are responsible for the quality of their work, whether as employees, freelance practitioners or contractors with interpreting and translation agencies. They always endeavour to secure satisfactory working conditions for the performance of their duties, including physical facilities, appropriate briefing, a clear commission, and clear conduct protocols where needed in specific institutional settings. They ensure that they have allocated adequate time to complete their work; they foster a mutually respectful business relationship with the people with whom they work and encourage them to become familiar with the interpreter or translator role.
Explanation: Interpreters and translators work in a variety of settings with specific institutional demands and a wide range of professional and business contexts. Some settings involve strict protocols where the interpreter or translator is a totally independent party, while others are marked by cooperation and shared responsibilities. Interpreters and translators must be familiar with these contexts, and endeavour to have the people they work with understand their role. For practitioners who work through agencies, the agency providing them with the work is one of their clients, and practitioners maintain the same professional standards when working with them as when working with individual clients. At the same time agencies must have appropriate and fair procedures in place that recognise and foster the professionalism of interpreting and translating practitioners.
8. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Interpreters and translators continue to develop their professional knowledge and skills.
Explanation: Practitioners commit themselves to lifelong learning, recognising that individuals, services and practices evolve and change over time. They continually upgrade their language and transfer skills and their contextual and cultural understanding. They keep up to date with the technological advances pertinent to their practice in order to continue to provide quality service. Practitioners working in languages where there is no standard training or credential may need to assess, maintain and update their standards independently.
9. PROFESSIONAL SOLIDARITY
Interpreters and translators respect and support their fellow professionals, and they uphold the reputation and trustworthiness of the profession of interpreting and translating.
Explanation: Practitioners have a loyalty to the profession that extends beyond their individual interest. They support and further the interests of the profession and their colleagues and offer each other assistance.
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