Did you know that when an interpreter is sworn in, he or she gains the responsibility of not only interpreting between English and the specific language but also following a specific code that guides their performance? The interpreters’ Code of Ethics addresses issues related to accuracy and completeness, confidentiality, impartiality, conflict of interest, professional demeanor, and qualifications, among others.
An interpreter’s violation of this code can result in serious consequences, nonetheless, they are more common than one would expect. Some real-life examples of situations where interpreters have faced questions about their knowledge of the interpreters’ code of ethics include:
- In January of 2021, a Pentagon interpreter was sentenced to 23 years in prison for passing the names of Unites States informants in Iraq to Lebanon’s Hezbollah terrorist group.
- Also, earlier this year President Joe Biden’s sign language interpreter gained national attention as she had previous experience interpreting in far-right videos rife with misinformation. Although the accuracy of her interpretation during the press conference was not questioned, it did however raise questions about what could have happened if she misinterpreted official information or inserted her own bias while interpreting.
- In 2018, Marina Gross, a State Department Russian interpreter, was the only person present during President Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s meeting in Helsinki. She faced increasing calls from Congress to testify what was said during that meeting, putting the ethics code of confidentiality at the forefront of the debate.
- And who could forget Nelson Mandela’s 2013 memorial service where a fake sign language interpreter stood next to President Barack Obama and interpreted unintelligible gestures.
These are just some examples that highlight the importance of having qualified and certified interpreters that abide by a code of ethics regardless of whether they are in the Pentagon, the White House, the courtroom, or the classroom. At CCI Group we make sure that all our interpreters abide by and follow a strong code of ethics so that you as a client never have to deal with problems like these.
To find out more about the interpreters’ Code of Ethics followed by Court Certified Interpreters in the Southern District of Florida click HERE. If you have any type of multilingual service, check out our linguistic solutions here.
Do you know of any other examples of violations of the interpreters’ code of ethics? Share them in the comments section!