Online course on ethics for translators and interpreters

February 1, 2013 by
Online course on ethics for translators and interpreters

Rodin: The Thinker. Attribution: This photo belongs to wallyg's photostream.

Have you ever been given a document to translate and found that it contains material that you find offensive?

Have you ever been asked to “certify” someone else’s translation?

As translators and interpreters, we’re regularly faced with ethical issues and it can sometimes be hard to decide what action to take. Should we aim for the most beneficial outcome? Or should we ensure that our actions will not impact the outcome of a situation?

To help answer these questions, I’ve just started the online course for translators on “Behaving Ethically”, run by NAATI, the Australian National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters. This is an 18-hour online course which can be completed at any time over a two-month period, with a new course starting every month.

The course is based on the AUSIT Code of Ethics, which is used in Australia. It’s very much geared towards translators and interpreters in Australia and New Zealand, but may also be of interest to professionals based in other countries who are interested in ethical questions.

It’s interesting that accreditation tests for translators and interpreters in Australia and New Zealand include questions on ethics, as well as translation and interpreting tasks. The online course is not part of the local accreditation testing, but can be used to help prepare for it.

I’m enjoying the course and am finding the background information on morals and ethics both useful and interesting. As well as covering ethical decision-making for translators and interpreters in general, the course also looks at how cultural aspects can affect this, and gives good advice on what to do if you can’t accept or complete a job due to ethical reasons.

How about you? Have you had any training in the ethics of the profession? Did you find it helpful?

By Jayne Fox, freelance German to English translator.

About the author: Jayne Fox BSc MITI is a German-to-English translator and native speaker of British English, specialising in medicine, technology, and corporate communications. Jayne is a qualified translator with first-hand experience of writing for major corporations.

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  1. Marta (@mstelmaszak)

    It's a great idea for an online course. Well done, NAATI. And good luck, Jayne!

    • Jayne Fox

      Thanks Marta! I finished the course today and am waiting for the results of the last assessment. I'm glad I did the course, it's given me a better understanding of the reasoning behind the principles in our codes of ethics.

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  3. rose

    hello everybody, i have diploma in translation but this for along time. now i feel forget everything, can you help me how can i develope the language.

    • Jayne Fox

      Hi Rose, joining your local professional translation association is a very good place to start.

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German-to-English translator specialising in medicine, technology and corporate communications
Welcome to my blog, Between Translations! I am Jayne Fox BSc MITI, German-to-English translator and native speaker of British English, specialist in medicine, technology and corporate communications.
I work with clients from around the world. From my location in New Zealand, I translate overnight for European customers.
Email me: jayne(at) More info:  
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