Ethical guidelines for interpreters


§ 1. The interpreter shall not undertake assignments without having the necessary qualifications.

Accuracy in the interpretation is of paramount importance, especially in terms legal certainty. Before the interpreter accepts an assignment, he/she must therefore examine the academic content for the assignment to assess whether one is competent.
Faithfully translated interpretation requires proper preparation in advance of each assignment, as well as keeping the language proficiency with consistent practice and further development.

If, after reasonable preparation, the interpreter does not consider themselves qualified linguistically, interpretation technically or otherwise, he or she may refrain from the assignment. The interpreter is also under obligation to inform the parties if the assignment exceeds his/her competence, and he/she must then withdraw from the assignment.


§ 2. The interpreter shall not undertake assignments where he/she is recused.

The interpreter must, as far as possible, be provided with the names of the clients already in advance to assess the question of recusal. The interpreter is required to inform the parties when he/she is recused,

that is, for example,
– party to the case
– related to any of the parties
– married or engaged with any of the parties
– guardian or curator of a party
– if he/she has acted on behalf of one of the parties
– if the outcome of the case may have practical or economic impact on him/her.

The interpreter is therefore obliged to report if he/she will come in a recusal condition covered by first and second paragraphs of the Public Administration Act. It will then be up to the parties if they still want to use the interpreter for the assignment.


§ 3. The interpreter must be impartial and not allow his or her opinions or opinions to influence the work.

An interpreter shall not engage in favour of one or the other party in the conversation. The interpreter must deal with the matter in which the interpretation is concerned, and do not let his perceptions of or opinions on the parties or what is being said, appear or influence the interpretation.

The interpreter is not responsible for the content of what is to be interpreted. That responsibility belongs to the speaker. The interpreter’s task consists only of interpreting what is said by the conversers without considering or judging the moral or truth of the message. The interpreter shall not draw attention to contradictions or inaccuracies that are expressed, but interpret them.


§ 4. The interpreter shall interpret the contents of all that is said, not conceal, not add, nor change.

What is said is to be interpreted accurately, and without any kind of change. This means that the interpreter does not omit professional or style aspects and does not add own additions, but does the as the person, in terms of information and expression.

When words and expressions appear impossible or difficult to transfer, the interpreter must ask the person who uses the phrase to rephrase it or provide a more detailed explanation of the content.

If the interpreter later finds that something is interpreted incorrectly or omitted during the interpretation – and this is of even minor importance – the parties should be informed immediately.


§ 5. The interpreter has confidentiality.

Read the “Non-disclosure agreement


§ 6. The interpreter may not misuse information for gain or otherwise for which he or she has been acquainted with through interpreting.

Working as an interpreter implies potential for power and influence. The interpreter must never exploit his or her position or information that he/she acquires knowledge of through interpreting, to obtain personal benefit or financial gain.


§ 7. The interpreter shall not perform any duties other than the interpretation of the interpreter assignment.

The interpreter´s neutral position means that he/she cannot perform other tasks under the interpretation assignment than to interpret. The interpreter shall not answer questions about any of the circumstances of the parties, or speak the matter of any party, nor act as a proxy. The interpreter shall not draw attention to matters that he/she believes should be elaborated for the sake of the matter, or the matter in question.

Because the interpretation situation itself requires a high degree of concentration, the interpreter cannot, for example, be a secretary or chairman in a meeting, fill out forms etc.

The interpreter has no function as cultural informant or cultural facilitator during the interpretation, and thus does not have to come with “expert statements” about relationships that the interpreter may expect to have knowledge about, for example, relations in another country. If the conversers ask the interpreter questions about this or other matters, the interpreter must interpret the questions to the converser so that the party can respond. An answer from the interpreter can be perceived as if the interpreter participates in the matter, thus weakening the trust of the interpreter. In addition, incorrect information from the interpreter may cause unfortunate consequences for the matter.


§ 8. The interpreter shall say when interpretation cannot be done in a proper manner.

The interpreter is responsible for ensuring that the academic and practical aspects of the assignment makes it possible for interpreting to be conducted in a proper manner. There should be, for example, satisfactory sound quality, good session lengths, appropriate placement, enough interpreters for the assignment etc.


§ 9. A state-authorized interpreter who conducts written translations is not allowed to use the term in connection with the confirmation of the correctness of a translation of a document, either on the translation itself or in a document referring to the translation.

The difference between an interpreter and a translator is not always clear to the public. The use of the term state-authorized interpreter about written translations may be misunderstood so that clients and others believe that the written translation has been carried out by someone whose competence in this area has been tested by the public. The risk of misunderstanding becomes even greater if the term is translated into another language.
A state-authorized interpreter shall not use the term in such a way as to provide the impression of a documented translator competence. In case of written assignment, he or she should inform the contracting authorities that the authorization as an interpreter applies only to oral communication.


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