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Let endorsement of local ethics equal endorsement of ProZ.com ethics
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Nov 1, 2008

G'day everyone

One again I write about the issue of endorsing the ProZ.com Professional Guidelines. As you know, I have serious problems with the wording of it. The requirement to endorse it is the only thing that keeps me from applying for "certified" membership.

So this got me thinking. The purpose of endorsing those guidelines is simply to show business reliability and good citizenship. And we've been told several times that it is more the spirit of the guidelines than the letter that is important.

Well, it strikes me that many local translation associations have their own codes of ethics that are very similar or the same as the Proz.com code of ethics, in spirit but not in letter. In fact, in many cases it is a requirement to endorse the association's code of ethics to obtain and retain membership.

In my case I'm an endorsing member of both the South African Translators' Institute and the American Translators Association. Both have codes of ethics very similar to the ProZ.com professional guidelines:

http://translators.org.za/sati_cms/downloads/dynamic/sati_ethics_individual_english.pdf
http://www.atanet.org/membership/code_of_professional_conduct.php

Why can't my endorsement of these codes satisfy the ProZ.com certification requirements?

Well, I guess not all codes are created equal, and it may be that some codes are not sufficiently similar to the Proz.com code, but if that is an obstacle, perhaps members of the certification cabal can review the codes of various associations and determine which codes are within an acceptable margin of similarity or equivalence with the ProZ.com code.

Your thoughts?

[Edited at 2008-11-01 14:00]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 01:53
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Extension of the guidelines for outsourcers Nov 1, 2008

Well, Samuel, I'll have to revisit the other threads when I have time to see what your specific objections to the wording are. In principle I have no objection to your suggestion; I read the ATA ethical guidelines, and they are certainly "compatible" in my opinion. If the programming gods can be persuaded, maybe it would be nice to have the endorsement of alternative, "approved" guidelines (from one or more organizations) displayed on one's profile and considered satisfactory for purposes of PRO review.

The ATA guidelines for companies contain some very interesting and, for me, important points which are missing from the ProZ guidelines but which speak directly to some gross ethical violations we occasionally see. Specifically:

II. As an employer or contractor of translators and/or interpreters, I will uphold the above standards in my business. I further commit myself to the following practices with translators and interpreters:

D. I will not require translators or interpreters to do unpaid work for the prospect of a paid assignment.

E. I will not use translators' or interpreters' credentials in bidding or promoting my business without their consent or without the bona fide intention to use their services.

F. For translations for publication or performance over which I have direct control, I will give translators recognition traditionally given authors.

I do think it would be worth having these added to particular ProZ guidelines for outsourcers and having that endorsement displayed on outsourcer profiles. This might help to encourage better practice with regard to issues like unpaid translation tests.


[Edited at 2008-11-01 14:22]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:53
Italian to English
Hi again, Samuel Nov 1, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

codes of ethics that are very similar or the same as the Proz.com code of ethics, in spirit but not in letter. In fact, in many cases it is a requirement to endorse the association's code of ethics to obtain and retain membership.



I agree that the Proz guidelines could be improved and thoughtful objections provide an opportunity to improve them. If there are items in the ATA or SATI codes that you think are worded more effectively than the Proz equivalents, why not point them out?

Cheers,

Giles


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I never said they are better Nov 1, 2008

Giles Watson wrote:
If there are items in the ATA or SATI codes that you think are worded more effectively than the Proz equivalents, why not point them out?


I didn't mean to imply that those codes are "better" than the ProZ.com codes, but simply that someone who might not accept the ProZ.com code's wording may accept the wording of another code that (in spirit) is the same as the ProZ.com code.


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Birgit Richter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:53
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Ethics of other T&I networks Nov 2, 2008

What if the professional who was awarded the Proz Pro Label on the basis of having consented to the code of a translators' association (for instance the ATA's) as a condition for membership in that association in lieu of declaring that they will abide by Proz' rules of professional conduct then decided to terminate that membership? Would they continue to be regarded as a Proz. Pro, or would that status be revoked (as it would have to be, strictly speaking, since Proz would have to assume that the translator no longer formally endorses any form of code of conduct)?

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:53
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Two points for Birgit Nov 2, 2008

Birgit Richter wrote:
What if the professional who was awarded the Proz Pro Label on the basis of having consented to the code of a translators' association (for instance the ATA's) as a condition for membership in that association in lieu of declaring that they will abide by Proz' rules of professional conduct then decided to terminate that membership?


Endorsing a code of conduct may be a prerequisite for membership to an association, but that does not mean that if a person's membership lapses, that he suddenly no longer endorses the code. I myself had left SATI for two years in protest, but I kept the SATI code of ethics on my web site saying that I fully endorse it still.

It can be said that membership of an association is proof of endorsement, but lapse of membership is not a sign of disendorsement. Even so, knowing that people join associations without so much as reading the code they supposedly endorse, I would think it best if ProZ.com requires a separate statement from such translators, eg "I endorse the code of ethics of XYZ association, of which I'm currently a member".

I also don't think that this suggestion of mine should be turned into a loophole whereby any translator can simply endorse any association's code and win it... but I can't think of a good excuse to enforce it that way. So maybe the endorsement should somehow be tied to membership -- I can't decide.

Would they continue to be regarded as a Proz. Pro, or would that status be revoked (as it would have to be, strictly speaking, since Proz would have to assume that the translator no longer formally endorses any form of code of conduct)?


Apart from my answer above, I think this may be touching on a separate isssue, namely that if a P-member's membership to an association lapses, he should be prepared to say why he is no longer accepted as a member of that association. But this is a separate issue, to be decided on by the CPPro people.


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