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Code of Ethics

This Code is based extensively on the Code of Ethics for the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters, and also draws on that of the Sign Language Interpreters Association of New Zealand.  The fundamental principles of each are the same.





Interpreters act at all times in accordance with the standards of conduct and decorum appropriate to the aims of Interpreting New Zealand.

Explanation: Interpreters take responsibility for their work and conduct; they are committed to providing quality service in a respectful and culturally sensitive manner.  They are reliable, and deal honestly and fairly with other parties and colleagues. They disclose any conflict of interest or any matter that may compromise their impartiality. They observe common professional ethics of diligence and responsiveness to the needs of other participants in their work.



Interpreters maintain confidentiality and do not disclose information acquired in the course of their work, or details about specific assignments.

Explanation: Because interpreters hold a position of trust and deal with personal information, they are bound by strict rules of confidentiality, as are the persons they work with in professional or business fields.



Interpreters only undertake work they are competent to perform in the languages for which they are professionally qualified through training and credentials.

Explanation: In order to practise, interpreters need to have particular levels of expertise for particular types of work. Those who work with interpreters are entitled to expect that interpreters are appropriately qualified. Interpreters always represent their credentials honestly. Where formal training or accreditation is not available (e.g. in less frequently used language combinations and new and emerging languages), interpreters have an obligation to increase and maintain skills through their own professional development (see Principle 7 below) or request employers, agencies or institutions to provide it.



Interpreters observe impartiality throughout the communication exchanged between the participants in any interpreted encounter.

Explanation: Interpreters play an important role in facilitating parties who do not share a common language to communicate effectively with each other. They aim to ensure that the full intent of the communication is conveyed. Interpreters are not responsible for what the parties communicate, only for complete and accurate transfer of the message. They do not allow bias to influence their performance; likewise they do not soften, strengthen or alter the messages being conveyed.



Interpreters remain faithful to the meaning of the message at all times and, to the best of their ability, interpret the message in the manner in which it was intended.

Explanation: Accuracy for the purpose of this Code means optimal and complete message transfer into the target language preserving the content and intent of the source message or text without omission or distortion.



Interpreters maintain clear boundaries between their task as facilitators of communication through message transfer and any tasks that may be undertaken by other parties involved in the assignment.

Explanation: The focus of interpreters is on message transfer. Interpreters do not, in the course of their interpreting duties, engage in other tasks such as advocacy, guidance or advice. Where interpreters are also employed to undertake other tasks, they will not engage in these tasks while interpreting.  Interpreters employed to undertake multiple tasks will clearly indicate when they move between interpreting and their other role(s).  Interpreters should explain their role to consumers in line with this Code.



Interpreters continue to develop their professional knowledge and skills.

Explanation: Practitioners commit themselves to lifelong learning, recognising that individuals, services and practices evolve and change over time. They continually upgrade their language and interpreting skills and their contextual and cultural understanding. Participating in professional development helps interpreters to develop and maintain a critical perspective on their professional competence and practice.



Interpreters respect and support their fellow professionals, and they uphold the reputation and trustworthiness of the profession of interpreting.

Explanation: Practitioners have a loyalty to the profession that extends beyond their individual interest. They support and further the interests of the profession and their colleagues and offer each other assistance.

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