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Authors: Семигінівська, Тетяна Григорівна
Єнчева, Галина Григорівна
Keywords: ethical values, aviation industry translator, code of ethics
Issue Date: 23-Sep-2014
Publisher: National Aviation University, Ukraine
Citation: The present article addresses the role of a translator and his professional ethics as the aviation industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the world. From flight safety and avionic engineering, to airport security and flight data analysis, the global nature of the aviation sector means that translation and international communication is common.
Abstract: UDC 81’255.2:6:629.7.067(045) G. Encheva, PhD, Assoc. Prof. T. Semyhinivska, Senior lecturer (National Aviation University, Ukraine) PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF AN AVIATION INDUSTRY TRANSLATOR The present article addresses the role of a translator and his professional ethics as the aviation industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the world. From flight safety and avionic engineering, to airport security and flight data analysis, the global nature of the aviation sector means that translation and international communication is common. The aviation industry aspects like: airline advertisement, Internet promotion campaigns, e ticketing, airline magazines provided on board for customers, audio-visual-printed instructions given to the customers on board, crew training, aircraft drawings, cabin training, freight, entertainment, websites and various aviation business documents need translation of information from one language to the desired target language. The Aviation industry always has been a multinational type of industry and hence aviation translation has been in existence almost from the times when international airlines services were introduced in the global market. There is a high requirement for technically specific translations in this industrial sector and it also requires efficient strategies and solutions for the translation process. For modern translators, there also has to be a corpus or body of ethical or moral principles which apply daily to the work of translation. If a significant number of private moral or ethical values were not transposed into public affairs, then that particular nation would soon slip into decline. Those nations which have had important and meritorious principles of ethical conduct have always attracted attention and support. In modern times, professional groupings take unto themselves a code of conduct which they call ‘ethics’. It is not that they have invented the principles of the code, but rather they have taken many, but at times not all, of the principles and applied them to their profession. Hence, we talk, for example, of ‘translator’s ethics’ or the ‘ethics’ of a specific industry or sphere translator. At the worst, such ethics are an external system of rules and regulations for which some members of that profession may have little regard. If that happens, it is not the fault of the system or of the principles, but rather of the individual who may have less sensitivity for the values which the principles offer. Nowadays, the translator very often uses his professionalism to ‘type over’ an electronic text, or using optical character recognition (OCR) software will extract a text for processing with ease from a document. The translator is using another set of skills, but the underlying ethical principles must still apply. The principles of ethics governing a translator’s work are application s of the great moral principles, based not on the quicksand of relativism, but solidly founded on the absolute foundation of what is good in itself, to the avoidance of what is wrong, for the pure, simple and unadulterated reason, that good is right, and that bad is wrong. A professional translator or interpreter does not simply translate words from one language into another. His duty is to interpret and connect ideas from one culture to another. Faithfully conveying ideas requires translators and interpreters to express appropriate intonation and inflection and to properly transmit the concepts and inferences of the speaker to the listener (interpreter) or the writer to the reader (translator). Typically, translators render in one direction while interpreters alternate between two languages. Professional translators and interpreters need comprehensive mastery of grammar, syntax and vocabulary of both the source and target languages, and in-depth understanding of cultural norms. Additionally, extensive diverse general knowledge increases the translator's or interpreter's understanding and skill. The American Translators Association (ATA) suggests successful interpreter and translators be “avid readers of a wide variety of material” and participate in ongoing discussion, training and educational opportunities. This is about people, not texts – a translator ethics seeks to embrace the intercultural identity of the translatory subject, in its full array of possible actions [1]. He introduces a strong principle of interculturality and describes it as follows: translators in any industry or sphere tend to be intercultural in the sense that they mostly work in the intersections woven between two or more cultures, rather than wholly within any single primary culture. This is, of course, no more than a working hypothesis, a model, a set of questions that arise from observations. Nothing guarantees that all translators belong entirely to an intercultural space, just as no one can affirm that all translators work as messengers sent by Single cultures. As a working hypothesis, the principle of interculturality demands empirical testing; it presupposes socio-historical research that should eventually be able to provide a whole gamut of better grounded models. It is required that certified interpreters and translators in the aviation industry should operate within their scope of practice. That means they should not offer advice, express personal opinions or other services to their clients. Effective, professional interpreters and translators maintain cultural sensitivity, respect and a professional demeanor, including dressing appropriately for the situation so as not to be a distraction. The translator should defer to the client's instructions. As well as interpreters and translators in other industries and spheres, aviation industry translator/interpreter should disclose any perceived lack of objectivity or conflict of interest, including personal relationship with one party or the other. Providing services for acquaintances or family members may violate the individual's right to privacy. A translator may experience unresolved textual difficulties that create conflict, including unclear source text, unconfirmed terminology or a personal bias that he must disclose to his client. A faithful interpretation or translation conveys the message the speaker or writer intends. A thorough rendering of the source language message considers linguistic variations, tone and the spirit of the message without omitting or altering statements or adding unsolicited explanations. A transliteration (literal word-for-word translation), however, may not convey the message or make sense, particularly in the use of idioms. In that case, substitute an appropriate, equivalent cultural idiom to maintain the spirit of the message. Aviation industry translators should act in accordance with Language Interpreter and Translator Code of Professional Conduct, which emphasizes the following regulations: 1) Confidentiality; An interpreter or translator must not divulge any information obtained during the performance of his services, including access to documentation or reports. He should not disclose, discuss or offer opinions on any information accessed through the course of work unless required to by law. Furthermore, he must not use information obtained in the course of his work for personal, professional or financial advantage. 2) Impartiality; A translator or interpreter should remain neutral, unbiased and impartial with regard to either party's gender, disability, race, ethnicity or national origin, age, educational level, socioeconomic status, religious or political beliefs. She should refrain from offering unsolicited comments or recommendations except to assist communication. 3) Accuracy; Interpreters/translators shall always thoroughly and faithfully render the source language message, omitting or adding nothing, giving consideration to linguistic variations in both source and target languages, conserving the tone and spirit of the source language message. 4) Cultural Sensitivity – Courtesy; Interpreters/translators shall be culturally competent, sensitive, and respectful of the individual(s) they serve. 5) Disclosure; Interpreters/translators shall not publicly discuss, report, or offer an opinion concerning matters in which they are or have been engaged, even when that information is not privileged by law to be confidential. 6) Proficiency; Interpreters/translators shall meet the minimum proficiency standard set by DSHS by passing the required certification examination or screening evaluation. 7) Compensation; The fee schedule agreed to between the contracted language service providers and the department shall be the maximum compensation accepted. Interpreters/translators shall not accept additional money, compensation, or favor for services reimbursed by the department. Interpreters/translators shall not use for private or others gain or advantage, the department's time, facilities, equipment, or supplies, nor shall they use or attempt to use their position to secure privileges or exemptions. 8) Nondiscrimination; Interpreters/translators shall always be neutral, impartial, and unbiased. Interpreters/translators shall not discriminate on the basis of gender, disability, race, color, national origin, age, socioeconomic or educational status, or religious or political beliefs. 9) Self-evaluation; Interpreters/translators shall accurately and completely represent their certifications, training, and experience. 10) Professional Demeanor; Interpreters and translators shall be punctual, prepared, and dressed in a manner appropriate and not distracting for the situation. 11) Scope of Practice; Interpreters/translators shall not counsel, refer, give advice, or express personal opinions to individuals for whom they are interpreting/translating, or engage in any other activities that may be construed to constitute a service other than interpreting/translating. Interpreters are prohibited from having unsupervised access to clients, including but not limited to phoning clients directly unless requested by DSHS staff. 12) Reporting Obstacles to Practice; Interpreters/translators shall assess at all times their ability to interpret/translate. Should interpreters/translators have any reservations about their competency, they must immediately notify the parties and offer to withdraw without threat of retaliation. Interpreter/translator may remain until more appropriate interpreters/translators can be secured. 13) Ethical Violations; Interpreters/translators shall immediately withdraw from encounters they perceive as violations of this Code. Any violation of the Code of Professional Conduct may cause termination of the contract. 14) Professional Development; Interpreters/translators shall develop their skills and knowledge through professional training, continuing education, and interaction with colleagues and specialists in related fields. This concludes our overview of ethics, translation and communication in aviation. We could only touch on some of the relevant issues here, partly due to reasons of space, partly because still so little is known in this field. We believe that, this review will make it possible to study more objectively and rigorously these linguistic approaches, which are highly relevant for the study of communication within aviation industry. Communication processes in aviation is a subject worth studying in detail: it poses serious challenges for theoretical notions and forces researchers to considerable refinements of their theories. And sometimes it can save lives. References 1. Anthony Pym. On Translator Ethics. Principles for mediation between cultures. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2012. Online access: 2. Boschen, A. C., & Jones, R. K. (2004, 29 September – 1 October). Aviation language problem: Improving pilot-controller communication. Paper presented at the Professional Communication Conference, IPCC 2004. Proceedings. International. 3. Philips, D. (1991). Linguistics security in the syntactic structures of air traffic control English. English Word-Wide, 12(1), 103-124. 4. Rifkind, L. (1996b). Communication. Human Factors Guide for Aviation Maintenance (Federal Aviation Administration/Office of Aviation Medicine). Washington, DC, pp 13/1-13/54. Online access:
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