Every trade has its own codeofconduct, rulesandethics. For interpreters, business ethics includes interaction with their clients, other participants of the process and colleagues. Ethical norms in this area are designed to build up the reputation of an interpreter and rely on three main principles: delicacy, responsibility and confidentiality.
Interpreting is always badly needed at international meetings, and business negotiations are simply impossible without this kind of service. An interpreter has a twofold role here: a mandatory participant of an event, but also an invisible instrument that sees to the effectiveness of business meetings, without drawing too much attention.
While an interpreter is working on the translation of a certain phrase, speakers can think through what they’re going to say next. An interpreter is a middle man that is not allowed to express personal opinions. The main purpose is to convey the meaning with the corresponding emotional coloring, as well as the speaker’s pace of speech and intonation.
In essence, a translator has to ‘feel’ the manner of speaking and the image of the person talking.
The simplest phrases are used in the course of interpreting – no metaphors, proverbs or idioms are acceptable. Many expressions might have several equivalents in the target language, and only a professional interpreter can choose the right one within seconds. For instance, the English saying ‘The pot calls the kettle black’ cannot be translated literally and requires an equivalent, which, in Russian, includes a reference to a ‘mooing cow’.
As you can see, literal translation is unacceptable in this case; (target) language norms must always be respected.
In some cases, an interpreter needs to ask a few follow-up questions. If this happens, a speaker shouldn’t carp, as it can influence the quality of translation and confuse and annoy the other party of negotiations.
An interpreter’s work should be almost invisible, yet its quality defines the success of economic and cultural negotiations, as well as other contacts of varied nature. A highly qualified and experienced interpreter will provide adequate translation, making all members feel as if they were using their native languages.
The etiquette dictates that an interpreter should be positioned to the left of the speaker; at dinner meetings, the place is behind and a little off the speaker.
A manager inviting an interpreter to work at negotiations is required to express gratitude for the communication assistanceprovided.