Code of Conduct and Good Practice

for all members of the ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY INTERPRETERS (ACIS)

No Code of Conduct can ever be so extensive as to include every conceivable scenario and foresee every situation in which ethical advice is sought. However, if interpreters are to be regarded as professionals and linguistic experts, then interpreters should make their priority to learn about their role in whatever situation they are called to interpret.

Associate Members who do not hold any qualification are encouraged to seek a qualification within the first 2 years of joining the association.

All Members of the Association are expected to abide by this good practice:

  • Never give advice or voice your opinions.
  • Maintain confidentiality at all times, and avoid discussing the case with family or friends, or anyone else, unless appropriate for the safety of the persons concerned.
  • Remain totally impartial and behave in a professional way, without discriminating against either party on grounds of race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexuality or disability.
  • Interpret everything faithfully and accurately, without adding, omitting or summarising information.
  • Always introduce yourself and explain your role to both parties (in both languages).
  • Intervene if:

you do not fully understand the client or practitioner,

– you misunderstood something,

– you are asked to say or do something outside your remit,

– you need repetition or clarification, 

–  to briefly explain cultural differences or practices to providers and/or clients only when appropriate,

– there are interferences to the interpreting process e.g. external noise, need for a break, etc.

  • Always interpret in the first person, unless there is a need to select a different mode of interpretation to accurately convey the content and spirit of the message of the speaker.
  • Disclose conflict of interests, if parties are family members or close friends.
  • Keep up-to-date of evolving languages and relevant terminology, by participating in continuing education programs.
  • Ask for a briefing from the provider.
  • Share professional knowledge with colleagues to improve the profession and your work.
  • Decline assignments that violate your personal morals or religious beliefs.
  • Decline assignments for which you know you are unqualified or insufficiently prepared (whether for language reasons or due to the complexity of the subject matter).
  • Refrain from delegating work, this means sending someone in your name, recommend a colleague instead. The provider will decide if they wish to call them or not.
  • Refrain from actions that will discredit the interpreter profession. Show respect for all parties involved, addressing them in a professional manner.
  • Refrain from being critical of other interpreters to third parties or make disparaging remarks about providers to clients.
  • Refrain from accepting donations or gifts from clients, or take advantage of privileged information for personal gains.
  • Do not make recommendations of friends or someone you know if the client asks for a referral to a doctor, solicitor, nurse or plumber. Assist them together with the practitioner within your interpreting assignment.
  • Dress appropriately to your assignment.