Ethic Issues of Translation

Like any other job translation has its own professional ethics, which includes the elements of business and common ethics, adopted by any civilized society. However, translation activity has its specific rules, which any respecting oneself professional must follow. Translator’s activity is based on interpersonal communication between a translator and a customer, translator and colleagues. That is why it is so important to fulfill all ethic standards existing in this sphere.

At first, ethics is oriented on giving a client a positive impression of a translator. If an employer remembers an employee from the good sides, there is a big possibility that the next time he will go to that particular firm. That way not only the reputation of any single worker, but also the reputation of a whole company is being formed.

Translation ethics is not so different from interpersonal ethic standards. The main rules that a person working in this sphere have to know are to keep confidential, respect towards a customer and his wishes, obligations. It doesn’t mean that you need to agree with a customer in all the questions, but if you have your own vision of a work it is necessary to defend it in a polite and correct way, not hurting customer’s feelings.


Proper attitude to a customer, showing good manners and friendliness are mostly universal ethics, which you need to follow not only in work, but also in life. However, if speaks about written translation, do not use this rule when you, for example, change a quote so that not to offend somebody. In this case you need to remember another rule of professional activity-information reliability.

Talking about confidentiality, this quality is used not only by translators, but also by doctors, psychiatrist and some other professionals. The matter is that information provided by a customer should not be disclosed to third persons without client’s permission. This can be applied to both written translations and interpreting. In some cases, a translator can be invited to business negotiations. Everything that translator heard there couldn’t not only be divulged to anybody, but even be discussed. Breaking this rule may lead to a lot of negative consequences, including blacklisting that translator after which he won’t find a job in this sphere.

It is necessary to mention, that it is hard to foresee the situation a translator may face with in his activity. That is why any rule is theoretical and common in fact. So, you should orient on universal communication standards in your work, following which you can attract a lot of regular customers and form the reputation. Any matter of argument in working process must be resolved looking back to them, and that will save you from guilty conscience.

Translators often work with people of other nationalities and the impression left by one person can be spread all over the whole nation, which is another reason to show oneself good. Not only professional qualities of a translator (though they are very important), but also personal ones affect relations between him and a client. But don’t be too courteous, as you need to maintain your dignity while contacting with the customer.

Following ethic standards will help you to reach success in translator’s career, leave a positive impression on people you work with, which is so important.

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