There are codes of ethics in different professions such as doctors, lawyers, etc.; and in some fields they are more standardized than in others.
All translators also abide by the code of ethics, but there is no one standard code of ethics in the translation industry.
Code of ethics for translators can be defined as a set of moral principles and rules that guide the professional conduct of translators. Translators may abide by different codes of ethics, which are created by the organizations where translators’ services are needed or by professional associations. Each organization can develop their own code of ethics and ask translators to sign it.
Although there is no standard code of ethics for translators, the rules and principles of the codes of ethics from various organizations are very similar, and they all come down to the following fundamental principles:
Translators should accurately and completely transmit the meaning of a message without omitting, deleting or editing, without embellishments or explanations, and with awareness of any cultural differences that might exist between the parties.
Translators must protect the privacy of all knowledge and information gained during their course of duty. They should protect the interest of the clients as their own, and they shall not divulge any private information. Translators also should not derive personal profit or advantage from any private information that they gained while acting in a professional capacity.
Translators should remain a neutral third party and should not be on one side or the other.
Translators should excel in the target language to be able to recreate the message with its original style and meaning, and should have an excellent knowledge of the source language and the subject area, as well as the culture of both worlds. Translators must not accept a job for which they are poorly qualified.
Translators should continuously improve their professional skills and expand their knowledge of both languages including learning any special terminology necessary to perform the assignments.
Translators should behave and present themselves in a professional manner at all times regardless of the familiarity or unfamiliarity with the individuals involved. Translators should also not accept assignments for which a conflict of interest may arise.
Translators should make sound judgments in all situations so that no individual is put into jeopardy nor is the professional appropriateness of the translator is questioned. Translators must also not deceive a client by words, deeds or omissions.
Translators should treat all the parties in a respectful manner including other colleagues – translators.