Ethical translation involves three elements: ethical individuals, ethical corporate leadership, and the relevant policies and structures to provide employees with the opportunity to make ethical choices. However, the mere availability of these three elements is not sufficient – undoubtedly they need to work in harmony. For example, if employees see that their immediate superiors make unethical decisions and contemptuously disregard the company rules, they might get tempted to follow suit. As one worker from a Dallas Certified Translation Agency simply formulated it: “If my boss doesn’t care, why should I?” A good leader is and should be trusted, and when we trust somebody we are apt to emulate their behavior. That is why we rightfully hold our leaders to high standards of ethics. Moreover, researchers believe, that ethical leaders foster ethical working environment and that there is a link between ethical organizational cultures and good profits. And to influence organizational ethics, leaders need to develop clear guidelines for what is considered right and what wrong behavior and for ethical business communication in particular.
Companies usually develop codes of ethics to enhance employees in determining what is the proper behavior. Such codes also guide employees when making their decisions. According to the documents they include, the workers from a French translation services company differentiate between: codes of business ethics, codes of employee conduct and codes of professional practice. Codes of business ethics are usually publicly available. They set out the basic principles and describe the obligation of a company to its stakeholders. A code of conduct, on its part, usually defines the restrictions on employee behavior and is intended only for the employees of a company. A code of professional practice is adopted by professional associations or organizations to regulate a given profession.
As an English to Spanish translator from the above agency adds, code is often part of an employee training program. It also provides for procedures that allow employees to ask questions and report cases of unethical behavior.