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confidentiality in translation

Written by Javier Arizpe

April 1, 2022

Ethics in Translation

“I will maintain the utmost respect for human life“ is a phrase taken from the Declaration of Geneva, an intended revision of the Hippocratic Oath,which must be recited by medicine graduates as a symbol that they are willing to respect the ethics of their profession. Just like in medicine and other professions, in translation there are ethical principles that try to upraise the profession and protect the clients. It is essential to offer the client the best treatment possible, so in this article I will talk about ethics in translation. That way, when you look for our services, you will be more comfortable knowing that your documents and projects are safe with us.

But, before starting, check out these tips to distinguish a professional translator and take them into account the next time you hire professional translation services.

Now, let’s start.


Professional Ethics

According to the Oxford Dictionary, ethics reffers to the moral principles that control or influence a person’s behaviour. At the same time, professional ethics is the group of ethical behaviors applied to a work activity. Although these guidelines tend to include the necessary professional skills they also contain standards for the indivuals who hire services, as in the case of translation.


Ethics in Translation

Among the most important parts of ethics in translation, translators are ruled by the following:

  • Protecting the client’s confidential information

One of the main principles of a translator starts with understanding that the information provided by the clients is very valuable and therefore, confidential. That is the reason why it must never be shared. This is applied to the original documents as well as their translation. In any way, translators may take advantage of the client’s information for personal use or a third party.

  • Making sure there are no actions or omissions that may affect the translation quality

Another essential aspect in the life of a translator is making sure that the translation is true to the original text and that there is no addition or modification of the information. On the other hand, omission of information might be a problem for clients as well as for translators, since such information might be essential for the meaning of the text.

  • Acknowledging professional self-limits

In several occasions, this profession is depreciated by people who accept projects despite not having the academic training or the ability to perform the tasks successfully. Professional translators will reject projects for which they are not well prepared, either for lack of training or because the projects are not within their specialty.

  • Always looking for competencies improvement

Even though a professional translator normally tends to find a way on how to be a good translator and tries to be in constant training, it cannot be overemphasized that such formation is in benefit of our clients.

  • Honesty principle with clients

The translator’s compensation must be equal to the service provided. Same way, translators must know the value for their work, so they will consider fair prices for the clients and themselves.

All of this ethical principles are followed by professional translators who care for their clients, their profession, and themselves. So, if your translator follows these principles, don’t let it go!

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