Code of Ethics


Excerpt from the BYLAWS



This Code of Ethics sets out ethical principles and standards of professional conduct, the purpose of which is to ensure professional accountability and quality of service, protect members of the public, promote the profession and foster a spirit of solidarity and co-operation among members of the Society. All members of the Society are required to abide by this Code of Ethics.


  1. Translation is a professional activity which has as its aim the written transposition of text from one language into another and which requires, among other things, excellent knowledge of the source language and mastery of the target language.
  2. Interpretation is a professional activity, the purpose of which is to convey, in a given language and for a given audience, the content of oral messages produced in another language. Interpretation may be simultaneous or consecutive. It requires, among other things, excellent knowledge of both the source language and the target language.
  3. Terminology is a sphere of professional activity, the purpose of which is the systematic study, in one or more languages, of terms used to designate concepts. It requires mastery of the working languages and a good knowledge of the field under study, as well as terminological research methods and reference sources.
  4. In this code, unless otherwise stated, "member" shall refer to translators, interpreters and terminologists belonging to the Society, whatever their form of membership in the Society.

Professional conduct

  1. (1) Members shall abide by this Code of Ethics and shall be answerable to the Society for any breach thereof.

(2) Members shall conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner at all times. They shall not knowingly take any action that is detrimental to the Society, its members and/or the profession.

  1. When interpreting in the courts of British Columbia, members shall abide by any professional code or standard of conduct required of court interpreters by the Ministry of Attorney General.

Scope of practice

  1. (1) Members shall strive to conduct their business in accordance with Competency Charts approved by the Directors.

(2) Members shall accept an assignment only if they are well qualified with respect to knowledge of both languages involved and the skills required, and only if the subject matter is within their competence.

(3) Members will remove themselves from work when they realise that they are unable to provide quality service and shall refer the client to a qualified member of the Society.

(4) A member is responsible for all aspects of that member's work and shall not contract out of that responsibility by asking a client to agree to an unconditional waiver of liability.

(5) In the event that any person makes any claims against the Society in connection with a member's work for any damages, costs and expenses, the member responsible will fully indemnify and hold harmless the Society from any such claims and all associated legal costs.  

(6) Members shall not use their professional role to perform functions that lie beyond the scope of a language professional, such as advocacy, counselling or improper disclosure of information.

Use of reserved titles

  1. (1) No member shall hold himself or herself out as a certified member of the Society unless he or she has been duly certified by the Society.

(2) Members shall not use a reserved title that has not been conferred upon them by the Society, whether in correspondence, advertising of their services or otherwise.  Nor shall members use a reserved title in association with a language combination in which they are not certified.

Conflict of interest

  1. (1) Members shall make every effort to avoid situations that constitute a real or perceived conflict of interest or situations in which their professional independence could be questioned.

(2) Members shall ensure that there is full disclosure to clients should their personal interests constitute a real or perceived conflict of interest.

Professional competence

  1. Members must provide the highest quality service in all aspects of their professional practice

Faithfulness and accuracy

  1. Members shall faithfully and accurately reproduce in the target language the closest natural equivalent of the source language without embellishment, omission or explanation.


  1. (1) Members shall accept full responsibility for the quality of their own work.

(2) Members who use the services of other language practitioners shall call on professionals with equivalent qualification in the required category.


  1. (1) Members shall approach professional services with respect and cultural sensitivity towards their clients.

(2) Members shall not discriminate in the services which they provide on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or disability.


  1. (1) Members shall practice their profession with honesty and integrity, respecting the rights and interest of their clients and/or employers.

(2) Members shall respect the difference between professional and social interactions.  They shall establish and maintain boundaries between themselves and their clients.


  1. (1) Members shall act with integrity in advertising their services and qualifications. They shall refrain from making misleading statements regarding their level of competence, education, experience or their certification.

(2) Members shall clearly indicate their certification in terms of language pairs/directions and membership class (translator, conference interpreter, terminologist, court interpreter, community interpreter and medical interpreter).


  1. (1) Members shall not divulge privileged information.                                                                                               (2) Where applicable, members shall respect all copyrights and other intellectual property rights.

Fees for services

  1. (1) Members shall set fair and reasonable fees for their services. They shall inform the client in advance of the approximate foreseeable cost of their services, including copyright fees, unless they have reason to believe that the client has already been informed of these fees.

(2) Members shall bill clients only for services provided unless otherwise stipulated between the parties.


  1. (1) Members shall promote a positive image of their profession and endeavor to make it more widely known, through their actions and the quality of the services they provide.

(2) Members shall refrain from any activity that could tarnish the image of their profession or the Society.

Professional relationships

  1. (1) Members shall refrain from unfair tactics in the practice of their profession.

(2) Members shall act towards colleagues in a spirit of mutual cooperation, as well as assist and encourage beginners in the profession.

Professional Seal

  1. (1) In this Bylaw, "Professional Seal" means an embossing seal or similar instrument that sets out the member's affiliation with the Society by use of the registered name of the Society and includes the member's registration number.

(2) Only a Certified Translator may apply to the Society to obtain a Professional Seal.

(3) Only a Certified Translator in good standing may use a Professional Seal issued by the Society to him/her. The Professional Seal may ONLY be used to certify a translation in the language pairs/directions in which the Translator is certified.

(4) The production cost of the seal and a handling fee shall be paid by the member.

(5) The seal remains the property of the Society.

(6) If a member who has been issued a Professional Seal

(a) ceases to be a member in accordance with Bylaw 6,

(b) is expelled or suspended in accordance with Bylaw 7, or

(c) is no longer in good standing in accordance with Bylaw 8,

that member is no longer entitled to use the seal and must return it to the Society without delay and at his or her cost.

Professional misconduct 

  1. Any breach of this Code of Ethics will constitute an act of professional misconduct and members may be subject to discipline by the Disciplinary Panel of the Society. 
  1. Complaints with respect to members who contravene this Code of Ethics or in any way damage the reputation of language professionals may be submitted to the Ethics Committee of the Society, which will deal with complaints in accordance with Part 15 of these Bylaws.

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