The Code of Ethics and Aboriginal Interpreters

By Olive Knight, an interpreter since 1982 who has worked in the fields of health, language and native title. She lives in the Fitzroy Valley in the Kimberley. A code of ethics for interpreters is promoted as a guarantee of professional integrity for users of interpreters and as a guideline for professional practice by interpreters themselves. The code of ethics is meant to provide interpreters with a base from which to work through ethical and moral issues that arise during their interpreting practice. A code of ethics guarantees consistency across the profession. However, as it stands now, the code of ethics does not provide this consistency or support for Aboriginal language interpreters. In many cases the code of ethics can make a situation more problematic. There are many situations where the code of ethics infringes on the Aboriginal interpreter’s ability to operate as an effective interpreter within their own society.

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