Code of Ethics

Registry Of Interpreters For The Deaf

(This is the old set of RID ethical principles.  The revised “Code of Professional Conduct” is found Here.  This information is provided for your information.  SWM does not endorse organizations or agencies.  Common sense should always be use when applying the principles discussed on this page.)

Preamble: Recognizing the unique position of an interpreter In the life of a deaf person, the registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) sets forth the following principles of ethical behavior which will protect both the deaf person and the interpreter in a profession that exists to serve those with a communication handicap. In the pursuit of this profession in a democratic society, it is recognized that through the medium of interpreters, deaf persons can be granted equality with hearing persons in the matter of their right of communication. It is further recognized that the basic system for self-regulation governing the professional conduct of the interpreter is the same as that governing the ethical conduct of any business or profession with the addition of stronger emphasis on the high ethical characteristics of the interpreter’s role in helping an often times misunderstood group of people. The standards of ethical practice encourage the highest standards of conduct and outline basic principles for the guidance of the interpreter.

Code Of Ethics

Keep all assignment-related information strictly confidential.

  1. Render messages faithfully, always conveying the content and spirit of the speaker, using language most readily understood by the person(s) whom they serve.
  2. Not counsel, advise, or interject personal opinions.
  3. Accept assignments using discretion with regard to skill, setting, and consumers involved.
  4. Request compensation for services in a professional and judicious manner.
  5. Function in a manner appropriate to the situation.
  6. Strive to further knowledge and skills through participation in workshops, professional meetings,interaction with professional colleagues, and reading of current literature in the field.
  7. Strive to maintain high professional standards in compliance with the Code of Ethics.


  1. The interpreter shall be a person of high moral character, honest, conscientious, trustworthy and of emotional maturity. He shall guard confidential information and not betray confidences which have been entrusted to him.
  2. The interpreter shall maintain an impartial attitude during the course of his interpreting, avoiding interjecting his own views unless he is asked to do so by a party involved.
  3. The interpreter shall interpret faithfully and to the best of his ability, always conveying the thought, intent and spirit of the speaker. He shall remember the limits of his particular function and not go beyond his responsibility.
  4. The interpreter shall adopt a conservative manner of dress, upholding the dignity of the profession and not drawing undue attention to himself.
  5. The interpreter shall recognize his own level of proficiency and use discretion in accepting assignments, seeking for the assistance of other interpreters when necessary.
  6. The interpreter shall use discretion in the matter of accepting compensation for services and be willing to provide services in situations where funds are not available. Arrangements should be made on a professional basis for adequate remuneration in court cases comparable to that provided for interpreters of foreign languages.
  7. The interpreter shall never encourage deaf persons to seek legal or other decisions in their favor merely because the interpreter is sympathetic to the handicap of deafness.
  8. In the case of legal interpreting, the interpreter shall inform the court when the level of literacy of the deaf person involved is such that literal interpretation is not possible and the interpreter is having to grossly paraphrase and restate both what is said to the deaf person and what he is saying to the court.
  9. The interpreter shall attempt to recognize the various types of assistance needed by the deaf and do his best to meet the particular need. Those who do not understand the language of signs may require assistance through written communication. Those who understand manual communication may be assisted by means of translating, or interpreting.
  10. Recognizing his need for professional improvement, the interpreter will join with professional colleagues for the purpose of sharing new knowledge and developments, to seek to understand the implications of deafness and the deaf person’s particular needs, broaden his education and knowledge of life, and develop both his expressive and his receptive shills in interpreting and translating.
  11. The interpreter shall seek to uphold the dignity and purity of the language of signs. He shall also maintain a readiness to learn and to accept new signs, if these are necessary to understanding.
  12. The interpreter shall take the responsibility of educating the public regarding the deaf whenever possible, recognizing that many misunderstandings arise because of the general lack of public knowledge in the area of deafness and communication with the deaf.

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