Ethical practices: The importance of honesty and quality in the translation industry

Posted by Josh Kroman on Dec 9, 2011 Dec 9, 2011

ethical practices

You may remember my blog post on ethical practices in the interpreting field. Well, I promised you that I’d be back with another installment on ethics, so today’s focus will be on translation.

Unlike interpreters, who work side by side with their subjects, translators have a much more behind-the-scenes occupation. But that doesn’t mean they can slack on the moral obligations of their job. The nature of a translator’s work is just as sensitive as an interpreter’s.

The following are ways in which a translator is and must be kept accountable.

Confidentiality agreements: Most translators (and every translator who works with Dynamic Language, in fact) must sign confidentiality agreements before working for a client. On a daily basis, our team handles sensitive content, which could have very serious ramifications if it were to be made public.

Acceptance of projects: Humans can only work so fast. Translators should never accept a project unless they know they will have the time to complete it—within the deadline and with accuracy. Clients deserve better than hurried translations, so projects should never be rushed (unless documents are time-sensitive and the client requests a short turnaround time).

Accuracy: All assignments, no matter the client or industry, should be treated with equal care. We can’t pick and choose which projects are more important than others, because for clients, there is no distinction. Their project is important to them and that’s all that matters.

Additionally, translators, unlike interpreters, have the ability to review their work before it is delivered to the client, since they work with longer deadlines. Translators should be able to proudly stand by their work, knowing it is the best it can be.

Quality checks: To ensure the quality of the translation, many language services providers will include one or more review step(s) in their process. As I’ve read and been taught many times, a translation’s quality is measured against the client’s expectations. When a project is delivered to the client, there should be no question that the documents are of the highest quality. And clients demand high quality as a minimum expectation - they do not expect quality steps to be skipped because of a lack of time.

The points above are just a few best practices in the translation industry. Are you a translator? Tell us what your best practices are!

Topics: Translation