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Ethical dilemma - feedback needed
Thread poster: Eva Jodar
Eva Jodar
Spain
Local time: 05:28
Member (2012)
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, I think I made a mistake Nov 23, 2012

I said no to a text that describes a reality that I don't like, as you don't like the slaughtering of animals for human consumption, and I'll probably loose the client (a new and a very gentle one)... I'm learning, I'm learning, I'm learning...

Gitte Hovedskov Hansen wrote:

... for whatever reason.

I don't think there can be any rights or wrongs in respect to what you accept to translate, it is entirely up to you. Yes, you may turn down jobs that will then be picked up by others, but that's the case with all kinds of work in our business.

Personally, I don't try to make other people (clients) think the way I think, so, for instance, I am a vegetarian and find the slaughtering of animals for human consumption abhorrent, but I still translate texts about cooling systems for livestock houses and have no qualms about that. Nor would it bother me to translate recipes for dishes that include meat. On the other hand, I would never dream of translating texts that promoted bad treatment of children or anything racist or in other way discriminatory.

Fortunately, I don't have clients that present me with such dilemmas...


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ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 06:28
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Rates Nov 23, 2012

I would accept to do the translation but I would give them a rate that is at the upper end of the spectrum, i.e. I would not do the translation at my regular rate. If they want me to do the translation, they would have to pay me nicely for it. If they do not, then I would not do it.

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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:28
English to German
+ ...
Discussion about ethics in the translation business Nov 23, 2012

The discussion about ethics in freelancing is indeed very interesting. There is a thread worth a look, a thread about exactly this question:

link 1

If you (addressed to the topic poster) are interested in my private view, it's here:

link 2

And yes, right, now I write this here I remember I did not mention nuclear power, but it was simply not needed in the given moment. A client ordering a translation in the nuclear business and ordering it from a person who did never claim to have studied anything near that field, would be a so dangerous case that you would have the obligation to turn with this to the public.

Pure marketing material in this field, so - nothing relating to technical details, is of course something different. For this, you just simply say no.

(Btw linking to link 3 also, since the link on page 1 here in this thread could be opened via copy+paste only)




[Edited at 2012-11-24 07:31 GMT]


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:28
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
To translate or not to translate Nov 23, 2012

It's your choice. I would refuse to translate only much more serious ethical topics-anything to do with pornograhy, abuse, depends, but not something like nuclear power though I am against it. I do not agree that a doctor can refuse to cure a patient so he does not commit another crime: in reality he has no choice there. It is not just a question that someone else will translate it.

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Eva Jodar
Spain
Local time: 05:28
Member (2012)
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yes, I will think like this the next time Nov 23, 2012

In fact, it would be a dream just to translate documents that are beautifull, reality is not allways beautifull, and documents talk about this reality. And we have to pay the rent. So, when the topic is insulting the human dignity (never had a case like this) it's easy to say "no", and when it's just a part of this reality that we don't like, like the production of poison to protect plants of insects, for example, I think I'll translate it if I need to work, because I'm not changing anything, in fact... but I'm still not sure...

CassarJosephine wrote:

It's your choice. I would refuse to translate only much more serious ethical topics-anything to do with pornograhy, abuse, depends, but not something like nuclear power though I am against it. I do not agree that a doctor can refuse to cure a patient so he does not commit another crime: in reality he has no choice there. It is not just a question that someone else will translate it.


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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:28
English to German
+ ...
The problem is... Nov 23, 2012

CassarJosephine wrote:

... I do not agree that a doctor can refuse to cure a patient so he does not commit another crime: in reality he has no choice there. It is not just a question that someone else will translate it.


Sorry, no.

1) A doctor refusing to cure "in order not to commit another crime" would act against his Hippocratic Oath. 1a) He would agree not to cure a human being. 1b) He would commit another crime only if assuming that he now is God himself personally and knows (because being God) that the person is going to commit "another crime", knows exactly when and how. No, definitely a sentence that does not work. (Minority Report was just a movie, please. And it was a film from the US. Same story done by some crew around studio Babelsberg would probably involve a prison instead of death penalty and that doc would still commit a crime if refusing not to cure. As a side note.)

2) "So that just someone else will translate it." -> Technical details or marketing. If marketing, maybe just another one will do it. As long as the just another one knows what he/she is doing, as long as you know you -can- carry this responsibility ok. I however have serious reasons to doubt that. (That anyone would be able to really carry this responsibility.)

Why exactly I doubt that? maybe because of this here - it takes a little while for it to get loaded, but it's worth it.





[Edited at 2012-11-23 21:08 GMT]


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Eva Jodar
Spain
Local time: 05:28
Member (2012)
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yes, but do you think that translating their documents Nov 23, 2012

is helping them? thank you for the link, is really interesting, thanks very much! i'm going to see it till the end now...


apk12 wrote:

CassarJosephine wrote:

... I do not agree that a doctor can refuse to cure a patient so he does not commit another crime: in reality he has no choice there. It is not just a question that someone else will translate it.


Sorry, no.

1) A doctor refusing to cure "in order not to commit another crime" would act against his Hippocratic Oath. 1a) He would agree not to cure a human being. 1b) He would commit another crime only if assuming that he now is God himself personally and knows (because being God) that the person is going to commit "another crime", knows exactly when and how. No, definitely a sentence that does not work.

2) "So that just someone else will translate it." -> Technical details or marketing. If marketing, maybe just another one will do it. As long as the just another one knows what he/she is doing, as long as you know you -can- carry this responsibility ok. I however have serious reasons to doubt that. (That anyone would be able to really carry this responsibility.)

Why exactly I doubt that? maybe because of this here - it takes a little while for it to get loaded, but it's worth it.




[Edited at 2012-11-23 20:50 GMT]


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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:28
English to German
+ ...
hm... Nov 23, 2012

Eva Jodar wrote:

is helping them? thank you for the link, is really interesting, thanks very much! i'm going to see it till the end now...



A nuclear power company ordering the translation of marketing material knowing that it will not help them would be a very interesting case. "Dear power users, all you nice people including translators who switch on computers and similar utilities - we know we have no chance and have to deconstruct our plant soon (we already finally started building those huge solar panel fields you all were hinting at for such a long time now...) - we want to say good-bye and thank you all for your patience. Please expect our next Ad as soon our new XL solar field is working."

Well - such a case - why not.

But it will take a while.

Until then - I personally prefer not to be involved in a case of a larger network where I afterwards can not exclude to have been co-responsible. Jesus..., no, never on earth. I just have to imagine the boom in one of those here in Germany or soon even on the second neighbour country here. (As if one would not have been enough...)

I am eagerly, eagerly, eagerly observing the current developments in the political arena, and they, admittedly, involve also pages like

wikipedia: "Atomausstieg"

and

wikipedia: "Energiewende"

And I have to admit I am happy that there -are- countries on earth where you do -not- have to use their power. I personally, for example, am not. The post you read here was made possible by an electric socket, a computer producing company and... and... a power provider (-my- power provider).





[Edited at 2012-11-23 21:25 GMT]


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Eva Jodar
Spain
Local time: 05:28
Member (2012)
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I just couldn't stand it either Nov 23, 2012

just thinking to participate in something like this somehow... that's why is so difficult, I mean, there are lots of things: herbicides, transgenics, for example... atomic energy is the clearest example, but where is the limit?

apk12 wrote:

Eva Jodar wrote:

is helping them? thank you for the link, is really interesting, thanks very much! i'm going to see it till the end now...



A nuclear power company ordering the translation of marketing material knowing that it will not help them would be a very interesting case. "Dear power users, all you nice people including translators who switch on computers and similar utilities - we know we have no chance and have to deconstruct our plant soon (we already finally started building those huge solar panel fields you all were hinting at for such a long time now...) - we want to say good-bye and thank you all for your patience. Please expect our next Ad as soon our new XL solar field is working."

Well - such a case - why not.

But it will take a while.

Until then - I personally prefer not to be involved in a case of a larger network where I afterwards can not exclude to have been co-responsible. Jesus..., no, never on Earth. I just have to imagine the boom in one of those here in Germany or soon even on the second neighbour country here. (As if one would not have been enough...)

I am eagerly, eagerly, eagerly observing the current developments in the political arena, and they, admittedly, involve also pages like

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomausstieg

and

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energiewende




[Edited at 2012-11-23 21:19 GMT]


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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:28
English to German
+ ...
Your limits. Nov 23, 2012

Eva Jodar wrote:

just thinking to participate in something like this somehow... that's why is so difficult, I mean, there are lots of things: herbicides, transgenics, for example... atomic energy is the clearest example, but where is the limit?



You set your limits. There are so many interesting ideas and fields in the market/business. There are so many interesting projects.

Take this gang here in Berlin, producing Bamboo bikes [1] -- [2] -- [3]. As soon as they start to export them, they will need translators. They will unfortunately not need people in my language pair, but vise versa definitely.

There are so many interesting and more valuable (ethically and from rational point of view) projects out there, all that's needed is searching for them.




[Edited at 2012-11-24 07:32 GMT]


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Paweł Hamerski
Poland
Local time: 05:28
English to Polish
+ ...
Translating materials about nuclear power plant - why not? Nov 24, 2012

I have my own code of ethics and it has nothing special to say in this field.

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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:28
English to German
+ ...
Hm Dec 4, 2012

Paweł Hamerski wrote:

I have my own code of ethics and it has nothing special to say in this field.


W.h.y exactly do I have the feeling, this comment from a Polish translator does not surprise me. See also, just as one example of many, this here (a taz article about a Polish city at the Baltic sea preferring not to lose their tourism business) - you can close the paywall by hitting "Nein, jetzt nicht". This article here however is also recommendable.

Be aware we were talking about two kinds of translation in this area. One is the kind that is dealing with technical details. The other kind mentioned were marketing materials.

I take it for granted that the needs of a Polish translator specializing in "Business/Commerce (general)", "Finance (general)" and "Law (general)" are not so high that he would feel inclined to accept a translation request in the area "Construction", belonging to the fields you "also work in", according to the profile data.

I take that for granted. How many reasons however do I have to take that for granted?

------------ .... ---------- ..... ----------------

Regarding the question whether somebody can think he can freely decide whether there are 'moral' implications or not - it is is not talking about 'morality', just the logical fact that you are, when the blast happens, of course co-responsible afterwards. Thinking this is something that drops down your umbrella just like that? Please click the link given above, take a minute for this documentary, this is not talking about just a few ASCII signs on your desk and "just an invoice".





[Edited at 2012-12-04 19:26 GMT]


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