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Interpreter Code of Conduct

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Erin Glenna Johnson

on 20 September 2014

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Transcript of Interpreter Code of Conduct


Confidentiality is highly valued by our clients, and
mandated by federal and California state law
Interpreters are expected to present themselves appropriately in behavior and appearance. They avoid situations that result in conflicting roles or perceived or actual conflicts of interest
Interpreters possess knowledge of various norms, values, and cultures of all parties involved
Respect for Clients
Interpreters are expected to honor client preferences in selection of interpreters and interpreting dynamics, while recognizing the realities of qualifications, availability, and situation
7 Interpreting
Codes of Conduct
Respect for Colleagues
Interpreters demonstrate respect for colleagues, interns, staff at Catholic Charities, and other vendors with which Catholic Charities works
Business Practices
Interpreters are expected to conduct their business in an ethical and professional manner.
Professional Development
Interpreters are expected to maintain interpreting skills and understanding through ongoing development and practice
Interpreters hold a position of trust in their role.
Federal and state laws requiring mandatory reporting threats of suicide
Interpreters are expected to maintain linguistic skills and stay aware of evolving language
Interpreters accept assignments using discretion with regard to skill, setting, and client needs
Examples of Professionalism
Assessing client needs and the interpreting situation before and during the assignment and make adjustments as needed
Interpreting the message faithfully by conveying the content and spirit of what is being communicated, using language best understood by the client, and correcting errors quickly
Requesting support when needed to fully convey the message or address difficult communication challenges such as disabilities or lack of formal instruction of language

Refraining from counsel, advice, or personal opinions
Providing interpreting services regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender expression or any other factor
Examples of Conduct
Set boundaries with the youth to prevent any conflict of interest.

You may
be both a mentor and a professional interpreter
Decline assignments when not able due to physical, mental, or emotional factors
Refrain from the use of mind-altering substances before or during the performance of duties
Disclose, or avoid all together, actual or perceived conflicts of interest that might cause harm or interfere with the effectiveness of interpreting
Refrain from using confidential interpreted information for personal, monetary, or professional gain
Examples of Respect for Clients

Consider client requests or needs regarding language preferences, and render the message accordingly
Approach clients with a professional demeanor at all times
Facilitate communication access and equality and support the full interaction and independence of clients
Maintain civility toward colleagues, interns, students, and outside vendors with which Catholic Charities Refugee Foster Care program works
Work cooperatively with team members through consultation before assignments
Examples of Confidentiality
Managing data, invoices, records, or other information in a manner consistent with protecting client information
Shredding Documents
Locking Files
Using a youth's initials when communicating through email
Not attaching documents with client names to emails

Exceptions to the Rule:
Responding to court orders
Federal and state laws requiring mandatory reporting of abuse
Examples of Professional Development
Pursuing higher education
Attending workshops and conferences
Seeking mentoring and supervision opportunities
Participating in community events
Examples of Business Practices
Accurately represent qualifications, such as certification, educational background, and experience, and provide documentation when requested
Honor professional commitments and terminate assignments only when fair and justifiable grounds exist. Furthermore, inform appropriate parities in a timely manner when delayed or unable to fulfill assignments
Reserve the option to decline or discontinue assignments if working conditions are note safe, healthy, and conducive to interpreting
Refrain from harassment or coercion before, during, or after interpreting
Examples of Respect for Colleagues
Inform appropriate parties in a timely manner when delayed or unable to fulfill assignments
Promote conditions that are conducive to effective communications
Roles, Responsibilities, and Code of Ethics
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
Refugee Foster Care
Interpreter and Translator Training

What's the difference?
Translating vs. Interpreting:
There is a major difference between Interpreting and Translation. Even though often the terms “interpreting” and “translation” are used interchangeably, these two terms refer to two completely different services.
refers to the written conversion of a document from one language to another and does not involve live conversation. It is often a service that is used in business, government, and the legal system to convert documents to another language.

refers to the spoken conversion of a language. Interpretation often involves a conversation being held between two parties with an interpreter verbally interpreting what is being said and relaying information between the two parties.
What is my role as an interpreter?
The role of an interpreter goes much further than simply converting one language into another. The role of an interpreter is to bridge the gap between cultures to create a mutual understanding of facts and what is being communicated between two parties. An interpreter must understand much more than just a second language. An interpreter must understand the cultural, economical, and political differences between two cultures in order to create seamless communication between individuals from vastly different cultures.
What is the process of interpreting?
attentively in one language
the original message
accurately and completely
in another language without adding, omitting, or changing key information or the intended meaning
the ethical obligation to repeat everything

, when appropriate
position yourself
in an optimal location
as though you are the youth's voice, not as though you are speaking on behalf of the youth
Most importantly, remember:
You are in a position of power. If you interpret a message faithfully, you are empowering our youth and giving them a voice. If you change the message, you are stripping the youth of their right to be heard, and their right to have effect advocates.
What is an "optimal location?"
Refugee Foster Care Program
Every year, thousands of children and youth around the world are separated from their families because of war, persecution, and trafficking. These refugee and immigrant children & youth have nowhere to go, are left unaccompanied, and in need of protection, support, and a family. Our Refugee Foster Care program places these unaccompanied refugee and immigrant minors into loving homes all over the Bay Area, and provides support and advocacy for the youth in school, mental and physical health, the legal system, acculturation, staying connected with their own culture, and independent living skills, among many other areas.
Catholic Charities'
Background and Mission
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County serves and advocates for families in need, especially those living in poverty. Rooted in gospel values, we work to create a just and compassionate community in which all cultures and beliefs can participate.
What is not optimal?
Any positioning that inhibits access to communication, and encourages the breakdown of free communication between any parties involved
Standing next to and
slightly behind the youth
The youth faces both
interpreter and staff
Interpreter stands equally
between youth and staff
What are some examples of interpreting assignments?
Home Studies
Staff Phone Calls to Youth's Family
Administrative Reviews
Initial Refugee Arrivals
Family Reunification Interviews
School Meetings
Immigration Meetings
Medical Screenings
Mental Health Assessments
Therapy Sessions
Independent Living Classes
Potential Foster Care Interviews
Rights you have as interpreter
You have the right to ask for a pause after each sentence
Inexperienced interpreters sometimes allow individuals to go on speaking for several minutes. It is impossible for them to remember everything said, so the best they can do is give a summary of what was said, which results in valuable information being missed. You have the right to ask each party to speak in shorter increments.
You have the right to ask for clarification
If it is clear that for cultural reasons, something said by one individual will not be understood by the other individuals, and there is need to supply background information, you have the right to give a culturally appropriate explanation. Do be mindful to not just go into a long explanation, however, and leave the other party wondering why there is a side conversation going on - keep all parties informed.
You have the right to initiate your own pause
You have the right to ask for clarification when you do not understand. Typically there will be some vocabulary specific to the work that you are interpreting for. If you do not know what “Section 8” is, you should not pretend that you understand everything.
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