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Code of Practice for Interpreter

Professional Linguists Ltd
Tel: 0121 4714510 / 07900 343 628 Fax: 08717145788 E-mail: anylanguage@yahoo.com
Code of Professional Conduct
(Based on the Institute of Linguists’ code of conduct[1])
As an interpreting and translation company that aims to achieving the highest quality of work and the highest levels of professionalism in work, Professional Linguists adopts Institute of linguists’ code of conduct as a code of the conduct of all interpreters and translators employed by or working for or on behalf of the company.
Several of our interpreters and translators are already members of the IoL and therefore are familiar with its code of conduct. However, all interpreters and translators are required to adhere to this code of conduct regardless of whether or not they are members of the IoL.
Professional Linguists aims to be a member of the IoL in the near future. It is absolutely important for us that all interpreters and translators working with us comply strictly wit the code as a condition of work for Professional Linguists. Any misconduct to be evidenced will be dealt with with utmost strictness.
Institute of Linguists
1. Applicability
This code shall apply to all individuals and corporate bodies admitted to
membership of the Institute of Linguists (hereinafter: the Institute),
regardless of membership category. It shall furthermore apply to all aspects
of their conduct not of a linguistic nature which may affect the standing of
the Institute and/or of the profession.
2. Definitions
2.1 For the purpose of this Code, a Linguistic Practitioner (hereinafter:
Practitioner) is any person admitted to any category of membership of the
Institute in accordance with its Articles or Bye-laws.
2.2 A Principal shall be any person or body from whom the Practitioner accepts
2.3 The term "work" includes translation, interpreting, teaching, using languages
in promoting a business and any other activity requiring linguistic skills.
2.4 A professional body of equivalent standing is any organisation, in the United
Kingdom or abroad, which applies a code of professional conduct to its
members which the Institute holds to be equivalent to its own.
3. Overriding Principle
Members shall always act in accordance with the high standards appropriate
to a professional body and shall not knowingly take action detrimental to the
Institute, its members and/or the profession; in particular by showing
religious, racial, political or sexual prejudice. They shall at all times seek to
promote and enhance the reputation of professional language work.
4. Scope of work which Practitioners may undertake
4.1 Practitioners who act as translators shall work only into the language
registered with the Institute as their mother tongue or language of habitual
use. They shall translate only from those languages in which they can
demonstrate that they have the requisite up-to-date linguistic skills.
Practitioners who act as interpreters shall have an appropriate command of
the spoken languages between which they interpret, including dialects and
current idioms and cultural background. All Practitioners shall have a sound
mastery of their target language(s).
4.2 Practitioners shall refuse any work which they know to be beyond their
competence, either linguistically or because of lack of appropriate specialist
knowledge, unless the work is to be subcontracted to, or revised by another
Practitioner with the necessary competence and providing such
subcontracting or revision is agreed with the Principal.
4.3 Nevertheless, if a Principal requests that a Practitioner carry out work which
is beyond the Practitioner's linguistic or specialist competence, the
Practitioner shall
a) ensure that the Principal is fully aware of the risks involved,
b) ensure that the Principal fully accepts the risks, and
c) wherever possible, state the risks in writing to the Principal.
5. Obligations of Practitioners to Principals
5.1 Practitioners shall carry out all work entrusted to them with complete
impartiality. They shall also immediately disclose to the Principal any interest
on their part which might jeopardise impartiality. Interpreters shall normally
intervene only for the purpose of clarification, for instance to prevent
misunderstanding and incorrect cultural inference.
5.2 Practitioners shall disclose to Principals any financial, business or other
interest they may have in the work entrusted to them.
5.3 When Practitioners accept work from Principals, the outcome is their sole
responsibility, whether the work is performed by the Practitioners themselves
or delegated/subcontracted to another Practitioner or Practitioners, unless it
is carried out under the terms of 4.3.
5.4 Practitioners shall at all times strive to provide work of high quality and
maintain such high quality in all their work.
5.5 Practitioners shall not disclose any privileged knowledge they acquire of a
Principal's business to any third party. Such knowledge may include working
procedure, lists of clients, specialist terminology, commercial secrets and
manufacturing procedures.
5.6 Practitioners shall treat all work entrusted to them with complete
confidentiality. They shall use their best endeavours to ensure that this is
also observed by practitioners, checkers, revisors, editors or other individuals
sub-contracted or employed by the Practitioner on a permanent or free-lance
Confidentiality shall also be observed by colleagues whom the Practitioner
may consult on linguistic or terminological difficulties. The duty of
confidentiality shall normally extend beyond the completion of a particular
task or the cessation of the employment of the Practitioner by a particular
company or other body.
5.7 Practitioners who act as translators or interpreters shall translate or interpret
faithfully. Fidelity shall be observed in both meaning and register, except
where a literal rendering or a summary is specifically required by the
5.8 Practitioners shall use their best endeavours to draw the attention of their
Principal to any significant ambiguities, errors or imprecise terminology in the
source texts.
5.9 When Practitioners receive work from a Principal, they shall not make any
direct contact with the Principal's client without the Principal’s express
agreement. If such agreement is given, they shall not make any statements
which may be detrimental to their Principal's business.
5.10 A Practitioner working on a freelance basis or a Corporate Member shall
proceed in accordance with their Standard Terms of Business, which shall
preferably be based on the Institute’s Model Terms of Business. Practitioners
shall make every endeavour to complete work by agreed target dates and
shall not unilaterally cancel any assignment without valid reason and due
notice to the Principal.
5.11 Practitioners shall not accept any work which would involve an infringement
of this Code, nor shall they knowingly agree to mistranslate or misinterpret if
instructed to do so by a Principal. They shall not accept any work which they
believe might result in their being prosecuted for criminal behaviour.
5.12 Practitioners shall not subcontract work without their Principal's knowledge
and agreement or unless recipients are known to the Principal in the capacity
of an agency or company. Similarly, Practitioners acting as an agency or
company shall disclose this fact to anyone to whom they subcontract work.
6. Employed Practitioners
Practitioners who are employees shall
a) give their employers loyal, willing and diligent service;
b) deal honestly with their employer's property;
c) not undertake any other work, paid or unpaid, which might be detrimental to
their employer in any way, but this need not prevent them from working for
more than one Principal; and
d) not accept any bribe, secret commission or corrupt inducement.
7. Practitioners, including Corporate Members, acting as employers
7.1 Practitioners acting as employers shall
a) as far as possible, employ only individuals who are members of the Institute or
of professional bodies of equivalent standing;
b) where individuals are employed who are not members of the Institute or of a
professional body of equivalent professional standing, the employing
Practitioners shall ensure that such individuals have the requisite skills or
shall train them to acquire such skills and encourage them to qualify for
membership of the Institute;
c) observe all the applicable clauses of this Code and ensure that they are
observed by all subordinates.
8. Practitioners, including Corporate Members, acting as agents
Practitioners who act as agents shall seek to ensure
a) that, as far as possible, they subcontract work only to members of the
Institute or of a professional body of equivalent standing,
b) that all written work is rigorously checked by the Practitioners themselves, by
checkers/revisors employed by themselves on a permanent or freelance basis
or by checkers/revisors employed by the agent, unless otherwise agreed with
the Principal. If Practitioners elect to carry out self-checking or to arrange for
independent checking themselves, the agents shall perform random checks at
regular intervals to ensure that the quality of work is adequate.
9. Relations with other Practitioners including members of other
professional bodies deemed to have equivalent standing
9.1 Practitioners shall endeavour to assist each other in every reasonable way,
e.g. in over-coming terminological or other linguistic difficulties, or by
suggesting references etc.
9.2 If they are unable to accept a particular assignment for any reason,
Practitioners shall endeavour to introduce Principals to other Practitioners,
preferably members of the Institute who have the relevant competence and
are in a position to accept the work.
9.3 Practitioners shall refrain from public attacks on the competence, reputation
and honour of other Practitioners who are members of the Institute or of a
professional body of equivalent standing. Practitioners shall be objective in
assessing the work of other Practitioners who are members of the Institute or
of a professional body of equivalent standing.
9.4 In contact with the media and in public statements, Practitioners shall bear in
mind that, if they have been identified as members of the Institute, their
statements may be interpreted as representing the view of the Institute or of
Practitioners in general and shall respond accordingly with dignity and
9.5 Practitioners shall not disclose any details relating to other members of the
Institute other than those details published in the Institute's Directory
without first obtaining the permission of those members.
10. Advertising
Practitioners shall not infringe any accepted advertising standards or make
claims which they cannot substantiate.
11. Implementation and enforcement
11.1 The Code shall form the basis for judging all complaints against members. A
member found to have infringed the Code in any respect may, subject to
appeal, be admonished, suspended or excluded from membership.
Complaints are heard by the Disciplinary Committee and appeals by the
Disciplinary Appeals Committee.
11.2 The disciplinary committees shall have absolute discretion in the
interpretation of this Code. Where appropriate, they may have regard also to
the codes of conduct of other professional bodies.
11.2 The Institute reserves the right to vary any provisions of this Code.
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