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Each professional body has a code of conduct, also known as a code of ethics, and translators and interpreters are no exception. As a member of STIBC*, ATA** and OTTIAQ***, I have accepted to abide by all codes. Moreover, for some of my clients, I have agreed to follow the rules required by government agencies in British Columbia and Ontario for interpreting. The Insurance Corporation of British Colombia also has a code that I signed so as to be added to their roster of approved translators and interpreters.

All these codes have similar elements, and to give you an idea of what they include, below are some of the principles that I have promised to uphold:

  1. Accuracy and Fidelity: Interpreters strive to render all messages in their entirety, as faithfully as possible and to the best of their ability without addition, distortion, omission or embellishment of the meaning. I shall convey meaning faithfully, accurately, and impartially, reproducing in the target language the closest natural equivalent of the source language without embellishment, omission or explanation.

  2. Confidentiality: Interpreters will not disclose and will treat as confidential all information learned, either uttered or written, in the performance of their duties, while adhering to relevant requirements regarding disclosure. I shall not divulge any privileged or confidential information entrusted to me in the course of my work.

  3. Impartiality: Interpreters strive to maintain impartiality by showing no preference or bias to any party involved in the interpreted encounter. I shall show no preference or bias toward any party involved in my work; I shall not discriminate in the services I provide on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability.

  4. Maintenance of Role Boundaries: Interpreters strive to perform their professional duties within their prescribed role and refrain from personal involvement. I shall represent my qualifications and experience honestly and always work within them.

  5. Accountability: Interpreters are responsible for the quality of interpreting provided and are accountable to all parties and the organizations engaging the interpreter's services. I shall accept an assignment only if I am well qualified with respect to knowledge of both languages involved and the skills required, and only if the subject matter is within my competence.

  6. Professionalism: Interpreters act at all times in a professional and ethical manner. I shall provide the highest quality of service in all aspects of my professional practice and practice my profession with honesty and integrity, respecting the rights and interest of my clients and/or employers.

  7. Continued Competence: Interpreters commit themselves to continuous learning in recognition that languages, individuals and services evolve and change over time and a competent interpreter strives to maintain the delivery of quality interpreting. I shall improve my skills at every opportunity through continuing education in language, subject field, and professional practice.
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