Code of Practice For Interpreters and Translators

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1.1 When accepting work the interpreter must ensure that s/he is satisfied that s/he will be available on the specified date and time at the required location and that they have made appropriate travel arrangements.

1.2 The interpreter needs to be competent in the language/dialect of the service user. In exceptional circumstances, when there is any doubt about which minority language/dialect is used, the interpreter must telephone the service provider to ensure full competence in the required language/dialect.

1.3 Interpreters need to maintain a professional standard. When more than three people will be present in the assignment, the interpreter must contact the service provider to ensure any issues are talked through before the meeting.

1.4 The service provider requesting the services of an interpreter will be asked to supply any relevant information. NTIS UK will forward this to the interpreter.

1.5 The interpreter has to be neutral. Therefore, interpreters must not accept assignments involving relatives or people with whom they are closely involved at work or home.

1.6 Arriving at the appointments on time is essential. Interpreters need to anticipate any problem that may delay their arrival. It is the interpreter’s responsibility to anticipate traffic problems or rush hours and to make sure their vehicle is in working order.

1.7 Interpreters should arrive at the assignment 10 minutes early. If in exceptional circumstances the interpreter is delayed, the interpreter must phone NTIS UK at least 15 minutes before the assignment is due to begin and give an estimated time of arrival. Interpreters should ensure that they use the cheapest mode of transport to attend to assignments. The use of taxis is not permitted for interpreting assignments. This is a costly means of business travel that customers are unwilling to fund. The use of taxis must first be approved by one of the NTIS UK Coordinators or the NTIS UK Manager.

1.8 Sanctions will be taken against interpreters who arrive late.

1.9 If interpreters are more than 10 minutes late, we will deduct an hour’s pay from interpreters.

1.10 If an interpreter is late more than 3 times in six months, s/he will be called in to meet the NTIS UK Manager and may face a forfeit.

1.11 If interpreters are late more than six times their names will be removed from the register.


2.1 Appropriate seating shall be discussed and advice taken from the interpreter before the assignment commences. Everyone needs to check they can hear well and that there is no undue noise from outside the meeting place.

2.2 The interpreter shall explain to both the service provider and the service user that:

2.3 The interpreters will communicate all that is spoken and all that is said. Whatever is not to be interpreted must not be said.

2.4 Everyone needs to speak for a short time allowing for regular interpreting.

2.5 The service provider is responsible for making sure that only one person speaks at a time.

2.6 An interpreted interview takes twice as long as one in the same language.

2.7 The service provider is responsible for making sure the work gets done in the arranged meeting time or arranging extended meeting time or arranging to meet again.

2.8 The interpreter may intervene/interrupt only in the following situations:

2.8.1 To ask for clarification if s/he does not fully understand the concept s/he is being asked to interpret.

2.8.2 To point out if a service user has not fully understood the concept although the interpretation was correct.

2.8.3 To alert the parties to a possible missed cultural inference, i.e. information, which has not been, stated but knowledge of which might have been assumed.

2.8.4 To ask a service provider to modify his/her delivery to accommodate the interpreting process, e.g. if the client is speaking too quickly or for too long.

2.9 The interpreter shall inform both clients of the reason for the interruption and interpret the explanation.

2.10 The interpreter shall only be the medium through which the dialogue takes place. Both the service providers and service users should address each other directly.

2.11 The interpreter should not be alone with the client.

2.12 The interpreter must abide by the Code of Ethics or be liable for disciplinary procedures.

2.13 The interpreter shall not give out his/her details.

2.14 If for any reason the interpreter’s impartiality is being jeopardized, s/he should withdraw.


3.1 At the end of the assignment, the interpreters should stay with the service provider to discuss the quality of the interpreting assignment and to review the management of the meeting.

3.2 The interpreter must ensure that the Officer concerned with the meeting has to confirm that the interpreting has been done and that the Officer is satisfied.

NTIS UK – National Translator Interpreter Service is committed to providing a professional translation and interpreting service. As an employee, you are expected to abide by its Code of Practice and Code of Ethics, together known as the CODE OF CONDUCT.

1. Interpreters and translators shall treat any information that may come to them in the course of their work as confidential. Exceptionally, an interpreter may be required by law to divulge information held. S/he should seek advice beforehand from the line management, to whom they are accountable, and legal advice should be obtained before responding.

2. Interpreters shall interpret truly and faithfully to the best of their ability between the parties without anything being added or omitted.

3. Interpreters and translators shall only undertake an assignment that they are competent to accomplish satisfactorily in their approved language(s). In rare cases and emergencies, they may accept an assignment in their second-best language, with the consent of both parties, only if no other interpreter/translator approved in the required language is available.

4. Interpreters shall observe impartiality while interpreting.

5. Interpreters and translators shall not take personal advantage of any information obtained in the course of their work.

6. Interpreters and translators shall not accept any form of reward for interpreting work other than payment from NTIS UK.

7. Interpreters and translators shall not delegate work to another interpreter/translator, nor may they accept delegated work without the consent of both the client and the Translation and Interpreting officer.

8. Interpreters and translators shall take every reasonable opportunity of training to sustain and improve their knowledge and competence as it relates to the fulfillment of their work.

9. Interpreters and translators shall promote and safeguard the well-being of service users and ensure that by no action or omission on their part is the safety of the service user put at risk.

10. Interpreters and translators shall have due regard to the customs, values, and spiritual beliefs of the clients, as well as comply with the laws of the country and, have due regard for the customs, practices, and policies of NTIS UK.

11. They shall be responsible to the NTIS UK officer(s) for their work and refer to them any difficulties that may arise.

12. The members of the NTIS UK register of translators and interpreters shall always safeguard the professional standards of the NTIS UK in every practical way, and shall offer each other any reasonable assistance.

13. Any member of the register who brings the NTIS UK into disrepute shall be subject to disciplinary measures, following a full investigation of any complaints and/or practices that may not be by published Codes of Good Practice.