Course Title: Ethics and Professional Practice

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2010

Course Code: LANG5398

Course Title: Ethics and Professional Practice

School: 365T Global Studies, Soc Sci & Plng

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6067 - Advanced Diploma of Translating and Interpreting

Course Contact : Brad Paez

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 0362

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Mr Brad Paez

Nominal Hours: 170

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

The course provides students with an overview of the ethical and professional framework which affects interpreting and translation practice, and to provide a reflective approach to enhance their professional practice and development.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VBN934 Ethics and Professional Practice

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Outline the philosophical underpinnings of ethics in professional practice. 
  2. Examine and apply ethical frameworks of professional translating and interpreting practice.
  3. Identify potential conflict situations and apply appropriate resolution strategies, and reflect on professional and industrial issues in the translating and interpreting profession.
  4. Engage in reflective learning to further develop interpreting and translation practice.
  5. Explain the business frameworks under which interpreting and translating professionals are required to operate.

Details of Learning Activities

In classroom situations, involving lectures, tutorials, workshops, group work and guest lecturer presentations, you will develop a comprehensive understanding of the nature of professions and professional ethics in general, and the nature and professional ethics of the translating and interpreting profession in particular. You will develop an appreciation of the rationales, parameters and criteria used internationally to derive ethical professional frameworks, and will be introduced to appropriate methodologies to enable you to engage in ethical professional decision making and conduct.

In practicum activities or placements, you will observe or experience aspects of the profession and will have the opportunity to apply and test both your theoretical understanding and practical translating and interpreting skills developed in the classroom. You will be encouraged to engage in a critical analysis and evaluation of aspects of translating and interpreting professional practice in general, and your own individual translating and interpreting practice in particular. These activities will enable you to understand and apply:

  • The philosophical underpinnings of professional practice in general, and aspects of professional codes of practice ( also often referred to as ‘codes of conduct’).
  • Industry standards, Commonwealth and State/Territory regulations, and regulatory frameworks in whose context employing agencies and service providers operate.
  • The philosophical underpinnings of professional translating and interpreting practice in particular, the similarities or differences between the two, and the particular requirement for translators and interpreters to be strictly impartial in their dealings with their clients.
  • The professional role of the translator and interpreter and how it is distinguished form other types of language work roles, such as language aide, bilingual information officer, ethnic community or other advocate, tour guide etc.
  • Appropriate criteria and parameters to enable yourself to make informed professional decisions in situations of conflict between professional ethics and institutional ethics or imperatives.
  • Effective ways to engage in a range of professional translating and interpreting activities, or other appropriate activities as determined by the program.
  • Effective ways to maintain a record of all major professional activities engaged in on a daily basis during the practicum activities and to provide an immediate response to these activities.
  • Appropriate criteria used to reflect critically on professional behaviour and practice, and to discuss developmental aspects gained from the practicum activities, both linguistic and experiential.
  • A knowledge of small business operations, including invoicing and book keeping, associated regulatory requirements, eg tax and GST, tendering processes and responding to client requirements, and marketing techniques appropriate to the level of operation.

You will also need to devote at least 2 hours per week of your own time on assignments / tasks allocated by your teacher and bring them back to class for discussion and feedback.

Teaching Schedule

Week Number / Week StatringEthics and Professional Practice
Week 1 / 08 Feb

Course Introduction and Overview

Assessment expectations and criteria

Both interpreting and translating ethics
Objective: to provide frameworks and tools to use in order to decide what is the best and most appropriate practice and to equip students to be able give a rationale for their actions in practice.

Each session will include situations and probing questions to engage students in solving professional ethics issues.

Week 2 / 15 Feb Brief historical overview of the T & I profession in Australia and overseas
History of interpreting
Week 3 / 22 Feb Introduction to key concepts
Ethical principles incorporated into training of all professions - Concept of professional responsibility and accountability
Week 4 / 01 Mar Analysing the Interpreter’s Code of Ethics
Week 5 / 08 Mar

Understanding Pre-Existing Relationships
The Interpreted Interview

Week 6 / 15 Mar The Interpreted Interview in Police Interview Settings
Week 7 /22 Mar

Interpreting in Court Settings

Week 8 / 29, 30, 31 Mar LO 1 assistance in class
Feedback on practicum – progress, questions and ethical ssued raised in relation to practicum activity to date.
Semester Break  Semester Break
Week 9 / 12 Apr The Ideals of Objectivity and Accuracy
Conflict of interest and other related ethical dilemmas
Applying role parameters and hierarchy of ethical principles to resolve

Interpreter and translators working within other professions
Week 10 /19 Apr

Ethics for translators

Theory and Practice 
The difference between language skills and translation skills 
Ethical use of machine aided translation for editing vs efficiency enhancing translation memory tools

Week 11 / 26 Apr Notion of the Invisibility of the Translator/Interpreter: Business Interpreting and Literary Translation Case Studies
Week 12 / 03 May Professionalisation (part 1)
Week 13 / 10 May Professionalisation (part 2)
Week 14 / 17 May Knowledge Transfer
Week 15 / 24 May LO 2 Assessment assistance in class
Current Industry issues
Occupational Health and Safety for T&I practitioners
Week 16 / 31 May

Course review and evaluation
Formal and Informal

Week 17 / 07 June Exam Period Commences
Week 18 / 14 June Exam Period

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Reader  -  LANG5398 Ethics and Professional Practice


Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Two Learning Outcome tasks.

Assessment Tasks

Learning Outcome 1 (50%, conducted mid-semester or otherwise specified by teacher)

A written task, involving responding to a choice of two questions out of a number of questions, on the philosophical underpinnings of ethics in professional practice in general, and professional translating and interpreting practice in particular, potential situations of conflict and their resolution, and professional and industrial issues current in T & I.

Learning Outcome 2 (50%, due within a week of the completion of each student’s practicum activities)

A written task in two parts based on the practicum placement: 

  1. A journal of the main practicum activities engaged in, and
  2. A critical analysis and evaluation of the contents of the journal, focusing on what was learnt linguistically and experientially.


Assessment Matrix

Other Information


What do I do if I need help in this course?

You are advised to contact your teacher as soon as any difficulties arise. The Program Coordinator is available for academic advice and support. Once the issue has been identified, the Program Coordinator in consultation with your teacher and yourself, will put in place an individual study plan. This might include supplementary assessment, consultation during the conduct of assessment or granting an extension. Where these measures are inadequate, the Program Coordinator may refer you to University student support services such as student counselling or the Learning Skills Unit.

How can I have my relevant previous study or work/life experience assessed as a way of gaining credit in this course?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) means recognition of competencies currently held, regardless of how, when or where the learning occurred. This includes any combination of formal or informal training and education, work experience or general life experience.
For RPL to be granted, the applicant must provide evidence that he/she:
• has attained the competencies described in the modules that are being claimed
• possesses current competency in the modules that are being claimed, including underpinning skills and knowledge
• has applied the relevant modules in a context that is applicable to this qualification.
Contact the Program Coordinator for further advice about applying for RPL and suitable evidence requirements.

What are my responsibilities in undertaking this course?

All students are expected to attend classes regularly and complete all set learning and assessment tasks. You are encouraged to seek support in relation to any difficulties you may have at the program level via the Program Coordinator. Students are expected to act as professionals in the learning environment, a critical capability expected of graduates in their employment.

Special Consideration

You may apply for Special Consideration by using the RMIT Application Form for Special Consideration, which is available from RMIT website. The application, with relevant documentation, must be lodged with the Student Hub prior to or within 48 hours of the commencement of the assessment task in question. Applications for special consideration are considered by the expert panel convened by the Academic Registrar (or nominee).


You are reminded that cheating, whether by fabrication, falsification of data, or plagiarism, is an offence subject to University disciplinary procedures. Plagiarism in oral, written or visual presentations is the presentation of the work, idea, or creation of another person, without appropriate referencing as though it is one’s own. Plagiarism is not acceptable. The use of another person’s work or ideas must be acknowledged. Failure to do so may result in charges of academic misconduct, which carry a range of penalties including cancellation of results and exclusion from your course.
You are responsible for ensuring that your work is kept in a secure place. It is also a disciplinary offence for you to allow your work to be plagiarised by another student. You should be aware of all rights and responsibilities regarding the use of copyright material.


How can I let my teacher know about my experience of this course?

You may discuss this with your teacher at a mutually convenient time. The School distributes confidential course assessment forms at the end of each semester for students to complete. These are analysed and action is taken to remedy defects in teaching or course administration as required. The College also conducts student experience and satisfaction surveys during semester.

Course Overview: Access Course Overview