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Thread poster: Diana Coada, PGDip DPSI NRPSI
Interpreter's Code of Ethics - what does it mean to you personally?

Diana Coada, PGDip DPSI NRPSI  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:39
Romanian to English
+ ...
Mar 22, 2009

Hi to everyone,

in the Interpreting module at University we are currently studying the Interpreter's Code of Ethics and as I am hoping to become an interpreter I would like to know what does the Code mean to you personally, if it has an influence on your personally set performance standards and if organizations comply with the requirements of providing the best working conditions.

All opinions and points of view welcome, they will give me some insight into my future profession.

Cheers:)


The AIIC code has been mentioned many times in our classes, but please feel free to comment on any of them:)

[Edited at 2009-03-22 15:12 GMT]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-03-22 23:36 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:39
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Which one? Mar 22, 2009


diana coada wrote:
In the Interpreting module at University we are currently studying the Interpreter's Code of Ethics...


Which one? I mean, which code (not which university).


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Javier Wasserzug  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Code of Ethics Mar 22, 2009

I am in my eighth year as a medical interpreter in the Seattle area and I can say that the code of ethics is not very well known. Interpreters do not always comply, at least here, in the area of Seattle.
In my opinion, this is due to a lack of control from medical institutions and their personnel. It seems to me that all is required for the interpreter is to be clear in English first. Moreover, she or he have to have no complains for patients, patient's families and providers.

Now if the interpreter offers any kind of advice or medical information drives patients home after the visit or becomes the patient or the patient’s family representative, nobody cares.
I could elaborate about all this or tell the many situations I have seen but it is probably for another time and topic.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
National Council on Interpreting in Health Care Develops
National Standards for Interpreters


Work co-funded by The Commonwealth Fund and The California Endowment to bring national standards of practice in health care to interpreters.


Download documents by clicking the links below:


National Standards of Practice for Interpreters in Health Care, September 2005
http://data.memberclicks.com/site/ncihc/NCIHC%20National%20Standards%20of%20Practice.pdf

National Code of Ethics for Interpreters in Health Care, July 2004
http://data.memberclicks.com/site/ncihc/NCIHC%20National%20Code%20of%20Ethics.pdf

CHIA, MMIA and NCIHC Joint Letter of Support, September 2005
http://data.memberclicks.com/site/ncihc/NCIHC%20Letter%20of%20Joint%20Support.pdf


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:39
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Following your edit... Mar 22, 2009


diana coada wrote:
The AIIC code has been mentioned many times in our classes, but please feel free to comment on any of them


I assume you mean this one?
http://www.aiic.net/ViewPage.cfm/article24.htm

It seems as silly as any of the translators' codes of ethics that I've seen. When I say "silly" I don't mean invalid. I myself have signed at least two such codes and I endeavour to adhere to them. But they are commonly necessarily vague in some respects and unnecessarily specific in other ways.

Here, take this item:

Article 4
Members of the Association shall not accept any job or situation which might detract from the dignity of the profession.


Can you tell us some examples of situations that might detract from the dignity of the interpreting profession?


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Vito Smolej
Slovenia
Local time: 21:39
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Simple - the "emperor's new clothes" case Mar 22, 2009


Samuel Murray wrote:Can you tell us some examples of situations that might detract from the dignity of the interpreting profession?

Simple - the so-called "emperor's new clothes" case for instance: interpreting without having your pants on. I never do it. I swear.


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 12:39
English to Russian
+ ...
Court interpreter's perspective (California, USA) Mar 22, 2009

I personally find that the code protects me when the people I interpret for want me to be "on their side", or simply assume that I am on their side.

Before I start interpreting, I introduce myself to the party I interpret for and say: "According the Interpreter's code of ethics, I am obligated to interpret everything you are going to say, and I will do so. Please refrain from saying anything you do not wish to be interpreted".

They do anyway, of course. Once in the courtroom the defendant said to me: "The judge just shitted on himself", and then gave me an angry look when I interpreted it! Well, Sir, you had been warned...

It also protects me when the attorneys ask inappropriate questions. For example: "Isn't it obvious that she is lying through her teeth?" or "Isn't the whole case blown out of water?". I'm very happy that I can answer: "I'm very sorry, but the Interpreter's Code of Ethics" does not allow me to answer this question.

The same applies when they try to complain about their doctors, their attorney, or how their case is handled. Being able to say: "I'm sorry, but I'm bound by the Code of Ethics and cannot comment on that" saves me a lot of headache.

It also give me an easy way to politely decline all sort of inappropriate requests.

In short, I find it helpful to distance myself emotionally and not to get involved.


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 12:39
English to Russian
+ ...
One exception Mar 22, 2009


Vito Smolej wrote:


Samuel Murray wrote:Can you tell us some examples of situations that might detract from the dignity of the interpreting profession?

Simple - the so-called "emperor's new clothes" case for instance: interpreting without having your pants on. I never do it. I swear.


Vito, I gather you don't interpret over the phone!

Because the beauty of phone interpreting is: nobody cares what, if anything, you are wearing!


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Faruk Atabeyli  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 22:39
Member (2009)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Nairobi Charter Mar 22, 2009

You may find this link useful.

http://www.fit-ift.org/download/referencebil.pdf


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:39
Flemish to English
+ ...
AIIC-member: valuable credential. Mar 23, 2009


Samuel Murray wrote:


diana coada wrote:
The AIIC code has been mentioned many times in our classes, but please feel free to comment on any of them


I assume you mean this one?
http://www.aiic.net/ViewPage.cfm/article24.htm

It seems as silly as any of the translators' codes of ethics that I've seen. When I say "silly" I don't mean invalid. I myself have signed at least two such codes and I endeavour to adhere to them. But they are commonly necessarily vague in some respects and unnecessarily specific in other ways.

Here, take this item:

Article 4
Members of the Association shall not accept any job or situation which might detract from the dignity of the profession.


Can you tell us some examples of situations that might detract from the dignity of the interpreting profession?


Conference interpreting is the highest rung on the ladder of the language professions.
You can not annoint yourself overnight, you have to pass entrance exams and final exams at a university of good standing (on the AIIC-list), be accepted by a mentor, (AIIC-interpreter with xxx years of experience who will vouch for you), become an aspirant-member and finally a member.
FIT is for translators
AIIC is for the "happy few", who consider themselves the dignitaries of the interpreting profession.

"which might detract from the dignity of the profession".

Some of those guidelines can be "interpreted" in a very broad sense.

* AIIC: Association Internationale des Interprètes de Conférence i.e.
not an association of legal, medical or telephone interpreters.



[Bijgewerkt op 2009-03-23 09:21 GMT]

[Bijgewerkt op 2009-03-23 19:04 GMT]


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MMFORREST  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:39
Romanian to English
+ ...
Quite right, Alexandra! Mar 23, 2009


Alexandra Goldburt wrote:


Vito Smolej wrote:


Samuel Murray wrote:Can you tell us some examples of situations that might detract from the dignity of the interpreting profession?

Simple - the so-called "emperor's new clothes" case for instance: interpreting without having your pants on. I never do it. I swear.


Vito, I gather you don't interpret over the phone!

Because the beauty of phone interpreting is: nobody cares what, if anything, you are wearing!


Yes, it is the beauty of being a telephone interpreter, even if it's not very well paid! Only it's a bit cold in the UK to be scantily dressed when I answer the phone...


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:39
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Reply to Alexandra Mar 23, 2009

"Before I start interpreting, I introduce myself to the party I interpret for and say: "According the Interpreter's code of ethics, I am obligated to interpret everything you are going to say, and I will do so. Please refrain from saying anything you do not wish to be interpreted".

I agree 100% with what you say. Fair enough, I don't do legal interpreting, but I do do medical interpreting.

As a professional I would be doing every party concerned a disservice were I not to interpret every single word being said. I even do it when telephone interpreting, even if I can "hear" the official getting slightly exasperated. To do otherwise would be dishonest, unfair and grossly unprofessional.

It keeps everybody on their toes too!

I never take sides.

Kind regards
Liz Askew


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:39
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
One step further Mar 23, 2009


Alexandra Goldburt wrote:

I personally find that the code protects me when the people I interpret for want me to be "on their side", or simply assume that I am on their side.

Before I start interpreting, I introduce myself to the party I interpret for and say: "According the Interpreter's code of ethics, I am obligated to interpret everything you are going to say, and I will do so. Please refrain from saying anything you do not wish to be interpreted".


Basic orientation in court for ex-officio interpreters practically implies you're a facility. You're there to ensure human rights are not violated and/or there won't be a nonsuit because it may be alleged that they were.

And there are lawyers dying to jump that excuse. Sometimes one hesitation can be seized by an advocate grasping at straws to hold up due process.


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Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:39
Italian to English
+ ...
Protection Mar 26, 2009


Alexandra Goldburt wrote:

I personally find that the code protects me when the people I interpret for want me to be "on their side", or simply assume that I am on their side.

Before I start interpreting, I introduce myself to the party I interpret for and say: "According the Interpreter's code of ethics, I am obligated to interpret everything you are going to say, and I will do so. Please refrain from saying anything you do not wish to be interpreted".



I do exactly the same. The person you're interpreting for is often so relieved that there is someone who can understand him/her, they are ready to tell you just about anything - and I mean ANYTHING, so you have to stop them immediately.

They also have to be made to understand that you are neither friend or there to give legal advice but a conduit.

Indeed, I am often complimented by the police on my professional conduct as apparently many interpreters carry on long conversations with the interpretee, on a personal level, without translating the content.

And btw, I see nothing wrong with interpreting without underwear!


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Marga Demmers  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:39
Member
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Workshop Proz.conference on ethics and personal dilemmas Jul 2, 2009

During the Proz.com Netherlands Regional Event (21-22 November 2009, http://www.proz.com/conference/124) a workshop will be dedicated to this topic. We will discuss the existing codes of ethics and the dilemmas in which the interpreters find themselves while doing their job. It promises to be a very interesting workshop with a lively discussion, so why not join us?

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Interpreter's Code of Ethics - what does it mean to you personally?







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