Cracking the Code: How Codes of Conduct Can Promote Translators

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Cracking the Code: how codes
of conduct can promote
translators’ professional
development
Janet Fraser FCIL FHEA FITI
[email protected]
8 November 2014
Professions and
professionals

“An occupation becomes a profession when …
members set and follow special standards for carrying
on their occupational work. These special standards
are morally binding on ‘professed’ members of the
profession.”

“Professionals have obligations to their
•
employer
•
clients/customers
•
fellow professionals
•
profession collectively
•
society.”
(Illinois Institute of Technology’s Center for the Study of Ethics in the
Professions, www.ethics.iit.edu/teaching/professional-ethics, last accessed 25
October 2014)
The role of a Code of
Conduct



“A Code of Conduct is an open disclosure of the way
an organisation operates. It provides visible
guidelines for behaviour.”
“A Code of Conduct is intended to be … a reference
for users in support of day-to-day decision-making.”
“A Code of Conduct is also a tool to encourage
discussion of ethics and to improve how …
[professionals] deal with the ethical dilemmas,
prejudices and grey areas that are encountered in
everyday work. A Code is meant to complement
relevant standards, policies and rules, not to
substitute for them.”
(Ethics Resource Center, http://www.ethics.org/resource/why-havecode-conduct, last accessed 25 October 2014)
CIOL Code of Conduct
“Overarching Principles”, “Obligations to
Principals” and an Annex relating to translators
cover:








Not bringing the profession or colleagues
into disrepute
Upholding standards (skills)
Conflicts of interest
Confidentiality
Impartiality
Faithful translation
Good business practice
‘Poaching’
ITI Code of Conduct
“Professional Values” cover impartiality,
confidentiality, skills development, collegiality,
compliance with terms of business, and dispute
resolution based on:
Four “Principles of Practice”
 Honesty and integrity
 Professional competence (including an obligation
to engage in CPD)
 Client confidentiality and trust
 Relationships with other members
Translators Association
Code of Ethics






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Linguistic competence
“Scope and capacity”
Additions, omissions and “tendentious
modifications”
Author’s permission
Confidentiality
Copyright
Avoiding damage to the profession or
to colleagues
To correct or not to correct?
“I’m translating two birth certificates
from Mexico. There is an error in a
UK birthplace in both source texts:
it’s listed as ‘New Eltan’ instead of
‘New Eltham’. The client has asked if
I can correct it in the translation.
What do others do in this situation?”
To accept or not to
accept?
“Some months ago, I translated a
guidebook for a German local authority.
One of the authors has now contacted
me and asked me to translate another
guidebook based on the earlier one. He
would also like me to tackle a further
guide he is planning to finish in the
next couple of months. I would be
working for him and the photographer
rather than the local authority for both
translations. Is this ‘poaching’ strictly
speaking?”
To contact or not to contact?
“For seven years, I did a regular translation job
for an agency – a monthly newsletter. Then,
last summer, that job stopped. I have since
discovered that the agency believes it has lost
the client (it thinks to another agency). The
agency is a good customer. The newsletter
included the author’s email address, and I
can’t think of a good reason why I shouldn’t
email him, explain who I am and offer my
translation services. But … should I first ask
the permission of the project manager at the
agency? Can the author still be considered a
client of the agency six months later when the
agency believes he has taken his business
elsewhere?”
What did the translator decide?
“I came to the conclusion that there was
no ethical issue, and if there had been no
complicating factors, I would probably
have contacted the author. However, I
still do business with the agency and was
concerned about their reaction – even if
unjustified – if they got wind of it … On
balance, I thought the chance of things
working out as I wanted were small; and
the chance of things getting much worse
were basically too great to run the risk.”
Developing individual
professionalism
ITI Code of Conduct, Principle 1, section 3.4
“Members should seek appropriate advice when
faced with a situation that they recognise as
being outside their … experience, knowledge or
competence.”
“A Code of Conduct is also a tool to encourage
discussion of ethics and to improve how …
[professionals] deal with the ethical dilemmas,
prejudices and grey areas that are encountered
in everyday work. A Code is meant to
complement relevant standards, policies and
rules, not to substitute for them.”
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