METM21 Online presentation 

Translator ethics: a spotlight on professional codes of conduct

Phillippa May Bennett, Coimbra, Portugal

Translator ethics is a topic of interest to translation professionals and scholars alike. The academic world has seen the interest in and understanding of ethics change dramatically in the 20 years since the publication of Andrew Chesterman’s proposal for a Hieronymic Oath*. We have seen a move from early definitions of ethics based on equivalence, faithfulness, loyalty, understanding and trust to more recent notions of translator ethics grounded in accountability and social responsibility. But what does this all mean to practising translators, particularly those who are members of professional translator associations, abide by their codes of ethics/conduct and are bound by principles of honesty, integrity, linguistic competence, confidentiality and trust?

The purpose of this presentation is to look at translator ethics from a theoretical and practical perspective, drawing on examples of real-life situations faced by language professionals, reflecting on them in light of the professional codes of conduct of four of the main international associations of translators and interpreters (Australian Institute of Translators and Interpreters, Institute of Translators and Interpreters, Chartered Institute of Linguists and the American Translators Association). Attendees will be encouraged to interact with the presenter and to think about what they would have done in the same situations. This will culminate in a reflection on the relevance of professional codes of conduct in translation practice. The presentation will end with recommendations for possible adaptations to codes of conduct to make them more relevant to practising translators.

This presentation is aimed at all attendees of METM21 Online, from beginners to more seasoned translators, editors and other language professionals, as it seeks to promote discussions on a topic that is set to dominate academic and professional agendas for the foreseeable future.

*Chesterman, A., 2001. A proposal for a Hieronymic Oath. The Translator, 7(2), pp. 139–154.

About the presenter

Phillippa May Bennett is a professional Portuguese-English translator specialising in medical translation, a lecturer in translation on the Masters in Translation at the University of Coimbra and most recently a student on the Aveiro/Nova PhD programme in Translation and Terminology. Her research interests lie in SciTech, back-translation and translator training. She is also a Chartered Linguist (Translator) and member of the Trémedica, MET and Aptrad associations.