The role of a professional translator or interpreter isn’t just restricted to knowing different languages; it also includes connecting cross-cultural thoughts and ideas in an accurate manner. So, apart from being proficient in grammar, syntax and vocabulary, in both source and target languages, a thorough understanding of the cultural aspects is equally important. According to the American Translators Association (ATA), reading a wide variety of materials, participating in different discussions and training can lead to a successful career as a translator/interpreter.
What are the ethics in translation?
· Confidentiality: As the name suggests, this ethical aspect is associated with maintaining confidentiality of information and not disclosing the same to others during the course of work. As an interpreter/translator, you should neither reveal information on accessible reports/documentation, nor offer opinions to others unless legally solicited. Moreover, the information attained should never be used for personal, professional or financial benefit.
· Accuracy: Next in the line of translation ethics is to remain faithful in maintaining the meaning of a content, which is conveying the original theme effectively from speakers/writers to the listeners/readers. Any linguistic variations may change the tone and purpose of the message if not conveyed properly. Literal word-by-word translation may change the actual meaning. A professional translator needs to ensure that synonyms and phrasing of sentences are done with precision for the correct interpretation of the texts.
· Impartiality: The third ethic is impartiality, which emphasizes on being unbiased throughout the course of the translation work. A professional interpreter/translator should always remain neutral to both the author and the reader, irrespective of their gender, status, belief, or age.
· Conflict of Interest: Conflict of interest such as personal relationship with the client should always be disclosed beforehand. This is usually done to avoid conflict in textual difficulties like unclear source text, unconfirmed terminologies etc.
· Conduct: Certified interpreters and translators need to follow their code of conduct to keep up with the required compliance. They need to operate within their scope and avoid offering advice, opinions, counseling etc. to clients. They need to maintain cultural sensitivity, respect and professional integrity throughout the course of their work. For instance, a professional translator needs to dress up professionally while offering such services to avoid being a distraction to the clients.
· Competence: You may be accredited to offer services for some specific languages based on your skills, experience and capability. You should undertake work as per your competence and strive hard to develop your skills in that domain through knowledge and experience. You can participate in workshops or attend professional meetings to enhance your knowledge and skills.
· Maintaining Professional Relationship: Whether you work as a full time employee in an agency or a freelance practitioner, you need to maintain a professional relationship with your clients all the time. From initial interaction to client briefing, professional translators need to make an effort to secure a satisfactory work environment. They ensure that the work is completed on time, and at the same time foster a respectful business relationship with clients. Moreover, they should not accept gifts and tips from the client in any situation.
·Professional Solidarity: Apart from maintaining their repute and trustworthiness, interpreters and translators need to show respect and provide support to the fellow professionals.
All types of professions are associated with different ethics and work culture and translation service is no exception. Thus, you need to be aware of various ethical issues to comply with and fulfill your responsibilities effectively as a translator.