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What You Need to Know about an Interpreter’s Code of Ethics

With the recent events at the presidential summit in Helsinki and the request for the Trump/Putin interpreter to be subpoenaed to testify about what was discussed during this meeting, many have started to wonder and ask about the interpreter codes of ethics.

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As with many different types of professionals, interpreters abide by a strict code of ethics for the assignments they handle. Although each type of interpreting professional (medical, community, court, etc.) could have a different code of ethics, the basic components remain the same across the board.

· Accuracy. An interpreter cannot embellish, omit, or change anything that is said. He or she must interpret only what is said, exactly as it is said. This remains true for the usage of slang, obscenities, inflections of tone, etc.

· Impartiality. The interpreter must remain impartial and neutral during the assignment. He or she should not reveal his/her opinion about the discussion, nor attempt to sway anyone listening, with word choices or emotion.

· Proficiency and accurate representation of credentials. That is to say, the interpreter must be qualified for the assignment he or she accepts, and should be willing to continuously improve his or her skill set via workshops, conferences, trainings or other classes.

· Confidentiality. Unless otherwise authorized, an interpreter must not discuss what he or she has heard while on an assignment. This is often likened to attorney/client or doctor/patient privileges.

If you do decide to contract an interpreter for a hearing, deposition, or meeting, you can rest assured that a professional will adhere to these core components of their code of ethics. Breaching the tenant of confidentiality (or any other) could easily ruin an interpreter’s career or have other serious repercussions.

What information does ATS consider when providing my free quote?

For each project that ATS handles, we consider several different factors when it comes to providing your free quote. We will consider the project type or service you request, the source and target languages of your project, and the timeline in which the project needs to be completed. No matter what project you need handled, ATS will be sure to offer you the most competitive rates possible while taking these items into consideration.

A legal document should be handled differently than a technical operating manual and ATS takes project type into account. Since these two areas are so distinct, we have teams of different linguists who work on each one. It is important that our linguists be highly specialized in the content area you request. We have a wide array of linguists with many specialties, so doing so is usually not a problem. If we do not have a specialist in your project’s subject area, ATS will work to recruit someone who is able to handle your project type.

We also take source and target languages into consideration. Language combinations that are more rare sometimes require us to charge higher rates than some of the more common language combinations, for example.

ATS also takes your desired/needed timeline into consideration when providing your free quote. A job that does not need to be returned immediately, and will not rush the linguists who are working on the project for you, will not require any additional fees. However, if the project turnaround time will require our linguists to work overtime-type hours to finish it within the desired timeline, we may need to add rush fees to the quote. You will have the chance to accept the fees or change the timeline of the project.

Interpreting is quoted differently than document translation, since the services require a different set of skills. Similar to translation, however, the type of interpreting service needed will also be something ATS considers when providing your quote. Interpreting for a surgery is handled differently than interpreting for a legal deposition, for example. ATS offers varying types of interpreting services, such as in-person or over-the-phone interpreting. We also take source and target languages into account, just as we do for document translation, as well as the time required for our interpreter to be available. If an interpreter needs to be available for longer than a normal working period, we may need to charge additional fees.

No matter what project or service you need, ATS will be happy to answer any questions you may have and will always provide you with the most competitive rates possible. Please don’t hesitate to email us at freequote@accessibletranslations.com so that one or our Project Managers can assist you at every step along the way – we are happy to help!

So, what languages can you handle?

Accessible Translation Solutions (ATS) handles a wide array of languages, and this selection of languages is ever-growing. For our most current and up-to-date list of offered languages, please see our List of Languages. If the language you are looking for is not listed here, that does not mean we are unable to provide the service, however. This list of languages is constantly growing depending on our clients’ needs, so we recommend contacting us even if you don’t see the language you need listed.

Our list of languages that we currently offer displays all languages for which we already have a team (or several teams) of linguists we’ve assessed, worked with, and approved to offer quality translation and/or interpreting services for you. Although we have linguists already approved for these language pairs, we will ensure that the best linguists we can provide are assigned to your project. If our current available linguists do not have experience working in the field your project falls into, we will be glad to use our available resources to recruit a team who will be best-suited to perform the work on your project, whenever possible. For example, if your document is a rental agreement, and our linguists with expertise in legal documents are unavailable, we will then recruit another team to ensure the best possible translation.

This is also true for the languages not currently listed on our page. If the language you are working from or into is not listed on our page, please contact us and let us know the details of your project. We will then be able to begin recruiting a team for your project type. We do all of the recruitment and assessment of linguists so that you don’t have to, and so that you can feel comfortable knowing that the right team of linguists is working to provide you with the best service possible. Our Project Management Team will also oversee the project from start to finish, handling all linguist communication, file passes, and quality control. This way, by the time you receive the translated files, you can be sure they have been handled not only a professional team of linguists, but also a quality control check to ensure your files are ready for use in your target language. No matter which language your document would need to be translated from or into, Accessible Translation Solutions is willing and glad to assist with the best team of linguists for your project.

Translation vs. Interpreting

When it comes to the language industry, it is important to know if you will be need translation services, interpreting services, or both. The key difference between the two lies within the channel of communication you require. Translation deals with written communication whereas interpreting is a form of oral communication. You will need a translator if you are looking to have written communication such as legal contracts, medical records, website verbiage, newsletters, articles, or books in another language. Conversely, interpreters work in real time. If you need to ensure someone who speaks another language understands what is being said at a conference or meeting, or during a court proceeding for example, you will need to seek an interpreter.

Since translation focuses on the written word, a good translator will ensure the entire meaning of a text is rendered correctly when written in the target language. Translators must be extremely well versed in the grammatical and linguistic rules of both languages to ensure the message is transmitted appropriately for the target audience. Although the message will often not be transmitted word-for-word because of stylistic and lexical differences between the two languages, the meaning will always remain the same. A professional interpreter will also ensure the original meaning is captured when speaking the message into the target language, so he or she will also have an excellent grasp of both languages, just like a translator. However, since interpreting is carried out in real time, the interpreter must also have the ability to listen to the source message, and simultaneously or consecutively transmit the same message in the target language accurately.

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A translator has the ability to research unfamiliar terms or ask the client questions, whenever possible, to ensure the most correct term is used during the process. An interpreter serves as a facilitator between the speaker and listener, and cannot pause to look up terms or interject his or her own understanding of the conversation during the event. It is often said that the speaker and listener will forget the interpreter is present during a conversation or event, since the interpreter will have been able to maintain the flow of the conversation/announcement without interruption or issue. A professional interpreter will interpret the message in first person, i.e. he or she will not say things like “He said…” or “She wants to know…” Instead, a professional interpreter will maintain the conversation by using the speakers’ statements, e.g. “I want to know…” or “Can you tell me…”

If you would like to receive a free quote for either your translation or interpreting needs, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to provide a free quote for you.

Why do I need to provide language access to patients, clients and customers?

Being able to communicate effectively in the language of your patients, clients, or customers is extremely important for your relationship and essential to your brand's success. If you receive federal funding, providing adequate language access options also protects you from violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. This includes providing language access to individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEPs). Your company's customers will also feel more attracted to your brand if advertising and customer service options are provided in the language in which they are most comfortable.

A hospital, for example, should always have on-site or on-call interpreters available for LEP individuals. This will help eliminate medical emergencies or poor care caused by the individual's inability to communicate effectively with health care providers. It is extremely important that both doctor and patient understand each other completely to avoid these potentially grave errors. The same holds true in legal settings. Miscommunication between parties can be the difference between improper sentencing and an innocent person being set free. Communication in their native language also ensures that each party understands all legal implications associated with an action, protecting everyone involved.

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Not only does closing the language barrier protect you from violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it also goes a long way in improving your brand image. If you are able to provide advertisements in the native language of your intended audience, these customers will be more likely to feel appreciated and attracted to your company. If you provide customer service options in other languages (either via a live bilingual operator or telephonic interpretation option), these customers will continue to feel appreciated and are more likely to interact with you if needed. This communication can help ensure their needs are met so they remain loyal customers for you.

If you find that you would like to provide language access for any target demographic, we will be glad to assist with the steps along the way. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or for a free quote.

The Importance of Language Services during Disaster Relief Efforts

When a city or country is hit by a natural disaster, such as the recent earthquakes in Nepal, many volunteer agencies send people and groups to assist with providing aid and relief to those who are coping with the aftermath. These groups are instrumental in providing food, water, shelter, clothing, and other basic necessities for those affected by the disaster. However, they are not always equipped with the basic language skills to communicate effectively with these individuals, which could hinder the relief efforts immensely in certain cases. For that reason, volunteers assisting with language translation and interpretation can be just as important as any other volunteers assisting in providing aid. Communication in the native language of those suffering from a disaster is crucial. Many victims could already be disoriented and panicked during the aftermath, and trying to understand instructions, documents or alerts in the language of first responders could prove either extremely taxing if the person has a limited grasp of that language, or completely impossible if not. On-site or even remote video or telephonic interpretation can help tremendously if someone is available.

Every interpreter is extremely important in these situations. It could truly be a matter of life and death, and the difference between someone being administered emergency medication that he is allergic to versus one that is safe for him. It could also have an impact on whether doctors are treating the correct symptoms, as an interpreter will be able to correctly convey what the person is experiencing instead of relying on limited communication capabilities between patient and doctor.

However, in the wake of a disaster, especially one of a large scale, it may not always be possible for an interpreter to be available for everyone’s needs. Translators can also step in to ensure proper translation of alerts and emergency documents for those in the disaster area. Translators Without Borders (TWB) is one example of a nonprofit organization capable of providing such linguistic support during a disaster. After receiving word of the recent earthquake in Nepal, for example, TWB immediately requested volunteer translators to help assist with things such as translating documents issued by the first response teams, as well as first aid documents. They have also provided translation services for the Red Cross to assist with their missing persons program, translated Twitter messages with crucial information and updates, and have even created a text-to-speech tool that the first responders have been able to use to communicate with those they are aiding.

Because of the critical nature of native-language communication during disaster relief efforts, providing language services during these times is just as important as providing many other types of aid during this time, to ensure the aid is provided correctly and efficiently.