Violations of Interpreter Ethics

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Consequences of violating the code of ethics as it applies to interpreters can be grave. Nonetheless, and unfortunately, the fact is ethical violations do occur in the language industry. These instances raise concerns about the rigidity of qualifications for becoming an interpreter and perhaps point to certification as a requirement in the future. Here are some examples of interpreters that have committed ethical violations within the past few years:

– Last month, a Spanish-language interpreter was accused of soliciting bribes from the people she was interpreting for, allegedly claiming she would use the money to bribe immigration officials. If convicted, she could see up to 20 years in prison.

– Also in July, an interpreter was accused of stealing the identity of the elderly woman she was interpreting for and charging around $1600 to her credit card.

– In 2011, a refugee living in Canada was nearly deported back to her native Kenya because of interpreter inaccuracy.

– A trial in the Cayman Islands was delayed twice because the first interpreter was unable to remain impartial and the second admitted to inaccuracy of interpretation.

– A man incapable of signing pretended to know sign language and interpret for Nelson Mandela’s Memorial Service.

Want to avoid making mistakes such as these? Sign up for our ethics courses for legal, medical or educational interpreters.

Know of any other examples of violations to the interpreter code of ethics? Feel free to share in the comments!

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