In a 2006 survey, NETA members expressed a strong desire for our organization to create professional standards. In response, the following text was agreed upon by the NETA Board on March 24, 2007 to guide NETA members in the practice of translation, interpreting, and other language-related services. Consistent with the NETA Bylaws, all NETA members are expected to adhere to the following practices in their work. This Code is also envisioned as a living, working document, and members are encouraged to provide comments and suggestions, which may be reflected in periodic changes.
NETA Member Code of Professional Ethics
The goal of translation and interpretation is to provide renderings that convey the meaning of original documents or speech accurately, completely, and in a form and style equivalent to that of the source language. To promote this goal, NETA has established the following Code of Professional Practice and Conduct, under which NETA members agree to:
I. Translation and Interpreting Practice
1. Represent their language qualifications accurately.
2. Work in principle only in their native language and in acquired languages where their mastery is equivalent to that of a college-educated native speaker. In cases where this is not possible, (e.g., urgent or emergent client need), make a disclaimer of their language competency prior to accepting an assignment.
3. Refuse assignments for which they are not competent, and offer to withdraw from ongoing assignments where they judge themselves incompetent.
4. Work only in subject matter where their training, experience, or research provides knowledge of subject concepts, terminology, and style that is correct and appropriate for the target audience.
5. Make best efforts to provide translation and interpretation that is free from substantive errors. To this end, translators and interpreters will convey all content, with no omissions or additions, or changes to substantive content, and no changes in style, tone of voice, or emotion.
6. Discuss any uncertainties in terminology with clients proactively during an assignment, and respond fully to client questions about such issues in completed assignments.
7. Inform clients of any errors in completed work discovered after the fact, and correct the same promptly.
8. Self-edit or contract editing of translations, and not rely solely on client-editing to eliminate inaccuracies.
9. Maintain a professional attitude in dealings with all parties involved in translation and interpreting assignments. Interpreters are to strive for professional detachment at all times.
10. Be impartial, unbiased, and nondiscriminatory in choice of language and in conduct at all times.
11. Adhere in all respects to the NETA "Resolution Condemning the Cooperation of Interpreters and Translators in Physical and Mental Abuse and Torture of Military Prisoners and Detainees, and in Interrogations of Prisoners," adopted January 21, 2007; specifically:
a) To refrain from any knowing participation in, cooperation with, or failure to report, the mental or physical abuse, sexual degradation, cruel treatment, or torture of prisoners or detainees.
b) To work only in lawful settings governed by a system of rights and due process in accordance with jurisdictional national and international law.
c) To support the rights of interpreters and translators to be protected from retribution for refusing to participate or cooperate in abuse or torture, or deprivation of rights in military or other settings anywhere.
II. Business Practices
1. Perform all assignments under contract, with contracts to state, at minimum, contact information for both parties, the agreed work and fees, deadlines, forms and means of delivery, and provisions for common contingencies such as additions and revisions to work completed.
2. Communicate thoroughly and actively with clients in regard to matters not specified by contract but likely to affect any of the contract terms, including deadline overruns, difficulties with assignments in progress, proposed subcontracting arrangements, errors in original documents or speech, and errors in work completed.
3. Maintain the confidentiality of non-public content, both written and oral.
4. Maintain the confidentiality of persons and other entities involved, either directly or indirectly, in contract work (e.g., translators and interpreters whose work is reviewed under contract).
5. Continue the duty of confidentiality after completion of contract assignments.
6. Avoid conflicts of interest by refusing assignments in which the translator or interpreter is personally concerned or may be affected directly by the matters involved.
7. Disclose to a client any such conflicts discovered during an assignment.
8. Take no personal advantage of information learned in course of an assignment.
9. Neither solicit nor accept personal rewards or benefits not specified by contract.
10. Comply with all client requests regarding changes, additions, or deletions to completed work that do not contravene any of the foregoing ethical principles and practices.
11. Seek first to resolve disputes through good faith negotiations based on the assignment contract. Then, if such negotiations fail, agree upon a professional third-party mediator or arbitrator to resolve the dispute.
III. Professional Development
1. Make reasonable efforts, such as attendance at NETA-sponsored meetings and conferences, to maintain and continually improve one's own interpreting and translating skills and knowledge of relevant technical vocabulary.
2. Support and encourage the professional development of other translators and interpreters through response to professional requests, and through active participation in professional forums and events.
NETA documents: Code of Professional Conduct, Model/Sample Contract, Conflict Resolution, Anti-Torture Resolution www.netaweb.org
NAJIT Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibilities
State of California "Contract Interpreter and Translation Services Code of Ethics, Professional Conduct and Confidentiality Statements"
The Code of Ethics for Interpreters and Translators Employed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.