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ETHICS

 

Enough cannot be said about the essentiality of ethical behavior to professionalism.  Ethics is the very foundation upon which a professional career is built and maintained.

Professional interpreters uphold and follow the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct (CPC).  It is our experience that some paid interpreting service providers do not.  Interpreters who have not taken the time to learn and internalize the CPC, or do not conduct themselves according to its tenets, are not professionals.  

Some believe professional conduct to be merely a matter of using common sense and doing the right thing.  They are mistaken.  What seems common sense to one of us may not be common sense to another.  To one person doing the right thing may not mean the same as it does to another.  And, such guides are personal in nature, not professional.  Personal guides are important, of course, and may be used with professional guidelines; yet, personal ethics alone do not satisfy consumer rights and expectations.

If you believe that professional ethical conflicts are rare occurrences; that an interpreter probably doesn't encounter that many gnarly situations in the course of his/her work, this is simply because you have not yet walked in the shoes of an interpreter.  For a full-time interpreter, ethical conflicts can arise daily, sometimes coming in a barrage.  Being an interpreter can feel like being inside a ethics popcorn machine (some days, an ethics volcano).  With no professional guidelines at the ready, interpreters can become confused and make choices they and their consumers may later regret.

The CPC unites interpreters under a set of tenets, and its driving force: "Do no harm."  Consumers of interpreting services have rights related to the service quality and interpreter behavior - moral rights and legal rights.  Reflect CPC guidelines in your work.  Adherence to its tenets is the professional interpreter's duty and responsibility - to him/herself, to our consumers, and to the profession.

LAWS AND STATUTES

At or near the top of an interpreter's list of considerations is: THE LAW.  Of course, professionals wish to avoid breaking federal, state or local laws, statutes, or ordinances.  To avoid breaking these, interpreters are obliged to know what they are.  Ignorance is not an excuse.  With respect to THE LAW, two areas worthy of particular focus come immediately to mind:

 1.  THE LAW, YOUR CLIENT, AND YOU

Know which laws and statutes specifically address or effect interpreters and/or their clients.   

... to be continued.

 2.  THE LAW FIRST (THEN THE CPC)

A new interpreter, working to be at all times conscientious and in good faith trying really hard to follow the CPC [as s/he understands it] only to find that s/he has inadvertently broken THE LAW.  YIKES!  Wherever the interpreter is, whatever s/he is is doing, compliance with THE LAW takes priority over compliance with the Seven Tenets (happily, the CPC addresses this potential conflict under Applicability, Item B).  An example might be in an educational setting where the interpreter might be required (check in your state) to report suspected abuse of a minor.  In this case, what could otherwise be a violation of Tenet #1 of the Code is not a violation because it is in compliance with THE LAW.

NAD-RID CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT (CPC) ... to be continued.

Do No Harm

Seven Tenets

#1 Confidentiality

#2 Assignment Acceptance

#3 Conduct and Deportment

#4 Respect for Consumers

#5 Respect for Colleagues, Interns, and Students of the Profession

#6 Business Practices

#7 Professional Development

APPARENT DILEMMAS

Minors or Persons With No Legal Capacity

Situational (also see: Employment>Settings)

Conflicting Roles

Precedent

EMPLOYER POLICIES

ACCOUNTABILITY

Responsibility

Oversight

Grievance

Mediation

Adjudication

RID Ethical Practices System (EPS)

RID has a page on their site to address frequently asked questions they receive regarding ethical concerns, the Ethical Practices System (EPS) and the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct: RID Ethics FAQ

Policy Manual (.pdf online): EPS Policy Manual

 ... to be continued.

This page was edited: 09/07/2009
This page has been visited Hit Counter times since: July 17, 2008.
TerpTopics is a trademark and service mark of TerpTopics, LLC. © 2008; 2009. All rights reserved.

TerpTopics™ is an independent entity; as such does not claim or attempt to claim, represent, or imply by any means whatsoever that it is associated with any other entity that may or may not offer services, goods, or information of interest to interpreter, Deaf, or student communities.  The opinions expressed here those of TerpTopics unless otherwise stated.  Please keep in mind that, while every effort is made to present correct, appropriate, and reasonable information that is based on our experience, anecdotal experiences of others, or developed during the general course of study and professional development, we do not represent TerpTopics as having cornered the market on wisdom (heck, no!) or experience; one reason why links to several other good and reliable resources are made available throughout this site, and we hope that earnest seekers of knowledge will take advantage of them.

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