Exploring the Code of Professional Conduct

Nov 15, 2021 | Interpreter Education

by: Brooke LaTurno EIPA 3.8 – Interpreter Coordinator

As interpreters, the Code of Professional Conduct (CPC) is an important part of our work. The CPC guides our professional decision-making. It is for this reason that the exam for National Interpreter Certification (NIC) requires intimate knowledge of each Tenet in the CPC, its Guiding Principles, and its Illustrative Behaviors.

This is the start of a series of blog posts exploring each Tenet individually. The goal is not to provide an exhaustive summary of every facet of the CPC (this can be found at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-_HBAap35D1R1MwYk9hTUpuc3M/view?resourcekey=0-iOY8FKhinQcukf4Uv8wNjA), but rather to discuss informally some of its big ideas and applications, while providing some study tips for interpreters preparing for the NIC.

The current CPC was adopted by members in good standing of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) on July 5, 2005. It has seven Tenets, which uphold standards of:

  1. Confidentiality
  2. Professional Skills and Knowledge
  3. Appropriate Conduct
  4. Respect for Consumer
  5. Respect for Colleagues, Interns, and Students
  6. Ethical Business Practices, and
  7. Professional Development

Note: the above descriptions of each Tenet were found on the following National Association of the Deaf (NAD) webpage: https://www.nad.org/2018/06/22/updating-the-cpc/

Study Tip #1 for the NIC

Notice how you could imagine the seven tenets chronologically walking through the work process of interpreters.

When interpreters accept assignments, they are provided with the personal details of consumers that will be necessary for their work: they must keep this information confidential.

Before reporting to the job, interpreters must ascertain that they have the professional skills and knowledge to complete it.

Upon arrival at the assignment, interpreters must consider the conduct appropriate to the specific assignment.

During the assignment, interpreters must show unwavering respect for the consumer as well as respect for colleagues, interns, and students involved.

Upon completing the assignment, invoicing and all other business practices relating to the assignment must be ethical.

Finally, interpreters should professionally develop outside of their work in order to improve their knowledge and skills for future assignments.

Note: all seven tenets must be kept in mind at every moment of work, and this chronological arrangement is meant only as a memory aid for those studying for the NIC.

Study Tip #2 for the NIC

Below are a few tips to remember which number is associated with each Tenet:

Confidentiality is the only Tenet with 1 word.

Skills and Knowledge are 2 distinct things.

Appropriate (as in Appropriate Conduct) has 3 p’s.

Everything is done for (4) the consumer: they deserve our respect.

Imagine the best high five (5) a colleague has given you, or how much one would have meant to you as an intern or a student: colleagues, interns, and students deserve our respect.

Many ethical business practices were first instituted in the ‘60’s during the Civil Rights Movement.

Seven (7) and Development both have "eve" in them.

Each Tenet has several Illustrative Behaviors that include examples of how the Tenet applies to the profession. This series will explore each Tenet along with its specific Illustrative Behaviors in future blog posts. For now, here are the Tenets listed next to the number of Illustrative Behaviors it has:

Tenet # of Illustrative Behaviors
1. Confidentiality 3
2. Professional Skills and Knowledge 6
3. Appropriate Conduct 10
4. Respect for Consumer 4
5. Respect for Colleagues, Interns, and Students 5
6. Ethical Business Practices 8
7. Professional Development 2

Stay tuned for the next post in this series for tips on how to remember these corresponding numbers and for a discussion of the Tenets, beginning with Confidentiality.

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