In this essay I would like to explain how professional skilled interpreters can build bridges over language, cultural, racial and national differences. At the beginning I will describe the requirements of the professional code of ethics for interpreters. Later I will explain the meaning of confidentiality and impartiality. I will also evaluate the techniques for revision of word-banks and glossaries, as well as the sources of information for regular and reliable professional development. The essential role of Community Interpreter is to enable direct communication for two or more individuals who do not share a common language.
It could be compared to building a bridge over the language barrier. The bridge would be weak if the interpreter will be not familiar with culture, religion and social status of the client. The interpreting bridge should contain good understanding of the background mentioned above and this will help to pass correct information between client and professional. The real bridge should be build according to good knowledge of Bridge Engineering Principles, and then it will be reliable way on other side.
The interpreting bridge should be build according to the Professional Code of Ethics for Interpreters, and then it will become a reliable way of communication. The objective of the Code of Ethic is to make sure that communication across language and culture is carried out accurately, competently, confidentially and impartially, and that all those involved in the process are clear on what may be expected from them. The Code of Ethic enables to regulate professional conduct of interpreters and to reflect the way services are provided, and also cover any issues of potential misunderstanding concerned with your interpreting.
It states interpreter’s position on the issues listed above. Knowledge and appliance of a Code of Ethic is important in order to establish a clear common understanding of expectations and deliverables between interpreter and client. Interpreters show accuracy when “transmit the message in thorough and faithful message in a thorough and faithful manner, giving consideration to linguistic variations in both languages and conveying and conveying the tone and spirit of the original message.
A word for word interpretation may not convey the intended idea. The interpreter must determine the relevant concept and say it in language that is readily understandable and culturally appropriate to the listener. In addition the interpreter will make every effort to assure that the client has understood questions, instructions and other information transmitted by the service provider. ” ? Some ethical dilemmas might arise regarding accuracy.
I would like to consider a situation that might have take place during a meeting with immigration officer: the client say something that reveal information that will cause serious problem for him, so he ask the interpreter do not interpret this correctly – what should the interpreter do? According to the Code of Ethic interpreter must interpret everything accurately. To avoid this situation like this, interpreter should informs the client, before start, that everything said during the meeting will be interpreted, and ask do not tell anything, that he do not want the immigration officer to know.
I had a similar dilemma in one situation when a client was applying for housing benefit. The client provided details that according to my knowledge would disqualify the client from the right to receive such support. As an interpreter who acts according to the Code of Ethic I was obligated to interpret accurately everything that was said by the client. Interpreters act competently when “before accepting assignments, interpreters determine whether they are qualified, assessing their current skill level, ability to remain impartial, knowledge of the subject and the clients involved. ? Competency requires from Interpreters to “decline or withdraws from an assignment when they are unable to provide the requisite level of professional services. ” ? The example below shows the importance of competency during interpreting and the results of not refusing assignments that are in accordance with the interpreter experience and abilities. Recently I had a conversation with my colleague who works in a Health Care Centre. Unfortunately she was complaining about the quality of interpreting given through a telephone interpreting line.
The interpreter misinterpreted the test results to the client. My colleague was telling the client that she does not have diabetes and her urine and blood test results are clear. After the interpreting has finished and the phone was turned off, the client did not want to leave the room. Using her body language she was trying to say that she has diabetes and asking what to do next. A few days later my colleague received an e-mail from a doctor holding her responsible that the client was given wrong information about her health.
When the situation was resolved both my colleague and the doctor decided that they are going to keep record of what has been translated to avoid this kind of situations. According to the Code of Ethic maintaining confidentiality is essential to protect all those involved in interpreting exchanges. “Interpreters should keep all assignment-related information strictly confidential, except when it is, required by law, complying with a court order, complying with subpoena or testifying in a civil, criminal, or disciplinary action arising from the interpreted situation.
Interpreters may disclose confidential information to team interpreters, supervisors, and medical and mental health personnel to ensure consistent quality of service, and share only information that is essential to do so. Interpreters keep abreast of applicable laws, policies, and rules that may affect confidentiality. They determine their ability to maintain confidentiality and may inform clients of any possible exceptions to confidentiality, as outlined in this Code of Conduct, before providing services.
Interpreters take reasonable steps to ensure that client records, data or information are preserved or transferred to the next service provider in a confidential manner consistent with this Code of Conduct, and arrange for the confidentiality of these records to be protected in the event of the interpreter’s death, incapacity or withdrawn from the position or practice. ” ? To be impartial is the last, but very important quality from the main objectives of the Code of Ethic that I will analyse in this essay.
Impartiality in interpreting services means that interpreters will “provide the quality service regardless of client’s education, ethnicity, religion, age, sex, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status. Interpreters remain neutral while providing interpreting services and refrain from providing counsel, advice, personal opinions or promoting religious or spiritual faith while performing professional duties. Interpreters remain impartial and unbiased and refrain from conduct that may give an appearance of bias.
Interpreters also disclose any real or perceived conflict of interest. ’’ ? The meaning of confidentiality illustrate the below situation I faced in my practice. I changed some facts to avoid any possibilities to link the situation with the person I will talk about. During an assignment I recognised that information that was provided is relevant to the people that I know and it may change a lot in their lives if I will pass it to them. It was not the kind of information that I could disclose according to the Code of Ethic. I could not share the information with anybody.
This example shows that confidentiality required more than just keep in personal details in secret, it also means to not share any information that others my use or associate with the client. The experience below explains the need for confidentiality in interpreting service. The patient of Mental Health Centre was very afraid that his problem will become known to others. He was especially concern about me. In his understanding I have more possibilities to share information about him with others, because I speak the same language as his friends.
Only after I explained in details the Ethical Code for interpreters regarding confidentiality, the patient calmed down and allowed me and the other professional to continue the session. Our role as interpreters is to show to the clients that the bridge we provide is reliable, and they will happy to use it as a result. “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. ” The above
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights highlights why we should act impartially when providing our services. As I mentioned before, impartiality according to the Code of Ethic in interpreting services means that interpreters provide the quality service regardless of client’s background, but it also means that interpreters should remain neutral. During an assignment a few months ago one of the clients used verbal abuse towards my religious feelings. He did not attack me personally, he was not aware about my religion.
So being impartial in this case meant me not changing my approach to the client and the assignment. I did not defend my beliefs and did not share my personal opinion. I remained neutral and unbiased. To show the need for impartiality I will provide one more example. I was on my assignment regarding pre-operative assessment and planning (pre-operative assessment and planning carried out prior to treatment, ensures that the patient is fully informed about the procedure and the post operative recovery, is in optimum health and has made arrangements for admission, discharge and post operative care at home).
The patient was asking me what I will do if I was in his place. According to the Code of Ethic, I as an interpreter should refrain from providing counsel, advice, or personal opinions. I explained to the patient in which way I should provide my service, following the Code of Ethic. We cannot take responsibility for decisions of the patients. We as interpreters provide bridges, but we do not carry people on the other side. Continuing the metaphor with the bridge in the last part of this essay, I will describe materials we can use in our construction work.
Words are basic elements of our bridges. These materials we keep in word-banks. Word-bank is a storage place for interpreters to keep written words that they have learned so that they can refer to them as needed. I found that Excel computer programme is an excellent tool to storage words. We can easily add words and keep them in alphabetical order. But what benefits we have with stored materials if we don’t know how to use them? Glossaries give us this kind of practical information. I created the base of online glossaries.
It helps me with easy access to the following different word list: Anatomy, Physiology, Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Gynaecology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Psychiatry and British Law. I regularly review these glossaries when going to the different assignments. Most effective method to improve my vocabulary and interpreting skills that I found is to create personal glossaries with English definition and explanation in other languages I use. These glossaries included both the technical and colloquial terms.
I started creating a picture storage relating to these glossaries, as for me personally pictures associated with words help my memory to work much better. I am aware of the continuous professional development. I use different methods to develop my professionalism in interpreting. I read books regarding the subjects connected to my assignments and I meditate and evaluate my service delivery after each assignment, going through things that went good and went wrong in order for me to improve my services in following assignments.
I also communicate with other interpreters to share experiences and ideas that help to look at mine and other people’s service delivery from a different angle. Although I have been volunteering with my interpreting skills for a couple of years, I came to a conclusion to undertake a professional training. The Community Interpreting course that I do now has enhanced my knowledge and skills in the assignments I do.
I plan to continue to gain higher level qualification in interpreting and to register with the Institute for Linguists, which states their objectives as follow: • promote the learning and use of modern languages • improve the status of all professional linguists • establish and maintain high standards of work • serve the interests of all linguists • ensure professional standards amongst language practitioners through its Code of Conduct The Institute for Linguists provides the Linguist Magazine six times a year with articles useful in both academic and practical knowledge.
I plan to register with The Institute for Linguists in order to become chartered member to apply for Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) at Level 6 which is one of the highest level public service interpreting qualifications in this country. Interpreting job is not the easiest one, but is fulfilling. Accuracy will help to determine relevant concept and say it in language that is understandable and culturally appropriate to the listener, and will enable me to make every effort to assure that the client has understood questions, instructions and other information transmitted by the service provider.
Competency will help interpreters determine whether they are qualified, assessing their current skill level, ability to remain impartial, knowledge of the subject and the clients involved before undertaking any assignments. Confidentiality will enable to keep all assignment-related information strictly confidential, except when it is, required by law inform clients of any possible exceptions to confidentiality before providing services, ensuring that client records, data or information are preserved or transferred to the next service provider in a confidential manner.
Impartiality to help to provide services to all people giving everyone equal opportunity and services regardless to their sex, religion, cultural, ethnic and national backgrounds and remain neutral while providing interpreting services and refrain from providing counsel, advice, personal opinions or promoting religious or spiritual faith while performing professional duties.
Continuous Professional Development will help with the responsibility to keep skills and knowledge up to date and to give positive opportunity to identify and achieve career objectives and to invest in one self as a professional. I am sure if assignments are carried in according to the Ethic Code mentioned in this essay accurately, competently, confidentially and impartially, and keep improving skills then interpreters will be able to build bridges over barriers that divide people, and view people walking on the other side will be a good reward.