Volume 66, Issue 4-5
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
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As early as 1963, the FIT adopted the Translator’s Charter during the Congress at Dubrovnik, stipulating the rights, obligations, and social responsibilities of translators. The document inspired many professional translator associations to draft their own codes. These codes share a common goal: to inform the ethical decision-making of translators. However, some practitioners as well as scholars have questioned their value, pointing to the inconsistencies within or between codes and the difficulty of applying them to real-life situations. They view the codes as declarative documents that lay down the most basic ethical principles. Why does this gap exist between codes and practice? What should be addressed first to answer this question? We believe that these codes tend to overlook a fundamental aspect of translation. Their focus is on the relationship between translators and clients. In other words, gaining the confidence and meeting the expectations of clients are often treated as the most important elements of a code. However, the act of translation, like any human act, is a social one that impacts the community the translator belongs to. Therefore, a translator is a social agent who supports the ethical goal of living better together in a community. How can these codes be improved? To explore this question, we review the discussions of authors who have emphasized the social role of translators and interpreters, including Chesterman, Baker, and Inghilleri. We finally suggest community-related ethical principles and virtues for translator codes of ethics.


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