Ethics in every sector of society are defined as the moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity. In other words, Ethics can also be described as the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles. While in many instances these ethics are not written in black and white, they assist society and organisations in defining what’s morally good or bad. In South Africa, the Interpretation and Translation Industry operates within the confines of the written constitutional law of the land. It is, however, important to note that ethics have a crucial role to play in the healthy management of the industry as well as the effective delivery of services.
The Interpretation and Translation Industry in South Africa is governed under the umbrella body of the South African Translators Institute. This body has drawn the code of ethics for individual members which they are expected to abide by and undertake. Some of these ethics guiding the industry include:
Members should uphold the highest ethical and moral standards in their dealings with their clients/employers and in the practice of their occupation.
To respect all rights of the author and the client/employer and specifically copyright.
To be guided in negotiating remuneration by the principle of equitability and in particular refrain from charging excessive rates.
To take part in the activities of the institute and always to conduct themselves in such a way that their conduct and the quality of their work will be to the credit of the Institute and translation as an occupation.
Not to accept any work that, in their opinion, is intended for unlawful or dishonest purposes or is contrary to the public interest.
To share their professional knowledge with other members, but to maintain a relationship of trust with their clients/employers and to treat all information that comes to their attention in the course of their work as confidential.
To constantly pursue self-improvement in order to improve the quality of their work.
To accept no work that is beyond them (with regard to deadline and knowledge of source language, target language and subject) except with the knowledge of their clients/employers and to keep to agreed deadlines and forms of delivery.
To accept full responsibility for their translations and to bring unresolved problems to the attention of their clients/employers.
To endeavour constantly to achieve the highest possible quality in respect of accuracy of rendering, terminological correctness, language and style. With such a comprehensive list of ethics, the Translation and Interpretation industry in South Africa can conduct business and exude moral uprightness in the eyes of clients.