Interpreter Core Values
All qualified professional interpreting work is grounded in the core values of beneficence, fidelity and respect for the importance of culture (National Code of Ethics for Interpreters in Health Care: www.ncihc.org). The core duty of the interpreters is to make possible communication between two parties that do not speak the same language and frequently have very different personal and cultural backgrounds.
In real time, the interpreter must help these two parties navigate these differences in pursuit of the whole purpose of the encounter: the well-being of the person seeking or receiving the service. This puts tremendous ethical responsibility on the interpreter—they are frequently the only person present that understands completely what is transpiring in the encounter. As such, “Both the patient and the provider have to be able to trust that the interpreter will not abuse this power. They need to trust that the interpreter will transmit faithfully what it is they have to say to each other” (MMIA and EDC, 1996). They have to believe this will be done with complete confidentiality and with no interference whatsoever, regardless of beliefs. (National Code of Ethics for Interpreters in Health Care)