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I just declined an offer because of the client the translation would be for
Thread poster: Inez Ulrich

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:46
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Yes, I have refused jobs on ethical base Nov 14, 2017

I think every one of us have the right to accept or refuse jobs for whatever reason.
I have refused jobs (if my memory is right) 3 times based on ethical concerns. Two of them were for a large, well-known agricultural products company.
One of the two jobs was an interpretation job, through a travel agency, for an all-inclusive trip for overseas farmers coming to the US for sightseeing and such. These were high-volume users of said company's products, and the trip was an incentive (s
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I think every one of us have the right to accept or refuse jobs for whatever reason.
I have refused jobs (if my memory is right) 3 times based on ethical concerns. Two of them were for a large, well-known agricultural products company.
One of the two jobs was an interpretation job, through a travel agency, for an all-inclusive trip for overseas farmers coming to the US for sightseeing and such. These were high-volume users of said company's products, and the trip was an incentive (smelled like a well thought-out attempt to go around corruption laws). I told the travel agency why I cannot take this assignment, and the agent admitted that they themselves are not comfortable with the arrangement either.
The other job was a distribution contract for the same company, that looked like an attempt to go around the ban that certain countries enacted against the company and its products.
The third job was unrelated to this company, it was a translation job for documents for an immigration case where one of the documents was a forgery. Any native could see the forgery on the original document, but the translation would have not shown it. Since it was not for a court case where they were investigating fraud, I refused the translation and pointed out the reason.
I am not sure what happened to these jobs at the end, it is likely that someone did them anyway.
But I know I slept better for not doing them.
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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:46
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
There is no wrong or right Nov 14, 2017

A decision that is thought sensible and right for some is stupid or naïve for others. To me, any ideas and ideals that govern your own right/wrong are perfectly legitimate. Main thing is that you are confident that you are doing the best for the planet and any living things on it.

I think that the last time I rejected something it was about sex toys for sadist/masochist practices. I do not feel entitled to judge on other people's use of these products, but personally feel that they
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A decision that is thought sensible and right for some is stupid or naïve for others. To me, any ideas and ideals that govern your own right/wrong are perfectly legitimate. Main thing is that you are confident that you are doing the best for the planet and any living things on it.

I think that the last time I rejected something it was about sex toys for sadist/masochist practices. I do not feel entitled to judge on other people's use of these products, but personally feel that they do not favour healthy sex between equals.
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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:46
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
We are self-employed Nov 14, 2017

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
You have, of course, every right to refuse jobs when they are against your personal moral compass. But I believe that we as translators don't have the job to censor the content we translate.

Indeed we are not really entitled to chasing the customer to correct this or that statement we feel is not truthful and even less entitled to alter the message to bend it towards our own opinion. However, we are self-employed. Whenever we suspect that translating some material will leave a bad aftertaste or will trigger moral or ethical concerns, we are entitled to simply let the work go to another professional who is willing and happy to take care of the work with no remorse.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:46
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Also judgmental? Nov 14, 2017

Mario Chavez wrote:
After all, we are not talking about a tobacco products company, a company whose sole purpose is to make and sell tobacco products, which contribute to cancer, emphysema and other maladies.

Isn't this assessment as judgmental as one of those companies that have a huge negative impact on environment? Any assessment or proof of any kind is exposed to rebuttal by people who have a different opinion, look at data from a different point of view, or simply handle different data.

To me, the picture is quite clear: even an interpreter working at a court has the right to refuse to work for a customer that raises severe concerns for moral, ethical, or religious reasons. Lawyers can also refuse working for their clients whenever they wish.

(Of course, in-house translators are committed to translating whatever their employer asks them to, so it comes down to the employer being aware and sensitive to each translator's no-go fields and trying to assign such work carefully.)


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oh! Nov 14, 2017

Inez Ulrich wrote:

Michal Fabian wrote:

I mean: "It would appear that Mr Chavez just played himself." But he will tell us he did not.


thanks for the explanation


I wasn't aware that Mr. Fabian knew me so well personally to venture such explanation. People use online comments posted by a complete stranger as a yardstick to measure his/her intent these days.

Ms. Ulrich,

I welcome your disagreement with my opinion. I have no control over your reaction to it or how you interpret it. All I can do is communicate what I think the action of publicly announcing a personal dilemma (personal ethics in professional decision-making, not personal as in intimate matters) that, to me, is better left to a discussion with people who would know us personally and would interpret our intentions more accurately.

Sharing a subject like yours in a public way (this is a members-only forum, but it is still "public") opens the door to opinions for and against your position on that subject. I would call for equanimity and equal opportunity to agreement and dissent. Nobody is trying to wound your feelings or principles here.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:46
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Announcing your dislike of a company's business in a public forum like this Nov 14, 2017

is far from being ethical, according to my interpretation of the term.

 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Judgmental and opinionated Nov 14, 2017

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT wrote:

Mario Chavez wrote:
After all, we are not talking about a tobacco products company, a company whose sole purpose is to make and sell tobacco products, which contribute to cancer, emphysema and other maladies.

Isn't this assessment as judgmental as one of those companies that have a huge negative impact on environment? Any assessment or proof of any kind is exposed to rebuttal by people who have a different opinion, look at data from a different point of view, or simply handle different data.

To me, the picture is quite clear: even an interpreter working at a court has the right to refuse to work for a customer that raises severe concerns for moral, ethical, or religious reasons. Lawyers can also refuse working for their clients whenever they wish.

(Of course, in-house translators are committed to translating whatever their employer asks them to, so it comes down to the employer being aware and sensitive to each translator's no-go fields and trying to assign such work carefully.)


I'm a human being and, like other human beings, I share a degree of being judgmental and opinionated with the rest of humanity. We all have our principles but also our prejudices. We all have a set of personal rules and principles we like to abide by.

I can judge a book by its merits (is it well written or translated? Does it communicate the topic well? and so on) but I can also be judgmental in the sense of accepting or rejecting the value of certain products or philosophies. For instance, I dislike self-help books intensely. I hate conspiracy theories. Would I translate one or two books about those topics? You bet I would. I aim to judge in moderation and make well-informed decisions and, working as an independent translator, I have to create my own salary, pay my health insurance plan and face other obligations. I'm a realist.

My personal priorities are not universal, of course. That's why they're personal. To be truthful, I've never come across a document related to tobacco propaganda to translate.


 

Sora Nam
South Korea
Local time: 04:46
English to Korean
I'll do same things Nov 15, 2017

although i'm not faced that situation, I think that your choice is right.

 

linaliu2046
United Kingdom
Malay to English
+ ...
Challenges Nov 15, 2017

This is one of the challenges faced by interpreters. I find this interview very useful, even though a bit old.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCqDVJuLkz4

I have also posted on the blog of my website:
www.asiantranslations.co.uk


 

Michal Fabian  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:46
Member (2012)
Dutch to Slovak
+ ...
. Nov 15, 2017

Attaboy! Kthxbye.

[Edited at 2017-11-15 01:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-11-15 01:01 GMT]


 

Seula Yun  Identity Verified
South Korea
Local time: 04:46
Member (2017)
English to Korean
+ ...
I agree Nov 15, 2017

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT wrote:

A decision that is thought sensible and right for some is stupid or naïve for others. To me, any ideas and ideals that govern your own right/wrong are perfectly legitimate. Main thing is that you are confident that you are doing the best for the planet and any living things on it.


 

Hyun Jae Jeoung  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 21:46
Korean to English
+ ...
Agreed Nov 15, 2017

Companies with exploitative nature should not be supported.
It is never to reject them fully but to guide them to a virtuous alternative.


 

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:46
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
... Nov 15, 2017

Mario Chavez wrote:

Inez Ulrich wrote:

Michal Fabian wrote:

I mean: "It would appear that Mr Chavez just played himself." But he will tell us he did not.


thanks for the explanation


I wasn't aware that Mr. Fabian knew me so well personally to venture such explanation. People use online comments posted by a complete stranger as a yardstick to measure his/her intent these days.

Ms. Ulrich,

I welcome your disagreement with my opinion. I have no control over your reaction to it or how you interpret it. All I can do is communicate what I think the action of publicly announcing a personal dilemma (personal ethics in professional decision-making, not personal as in intimate matters) that, to me, is better left to a discussion with people who would know us personally and would interpret our intentions more accurately.

Sharing a subject like yours in a public way (this is a members-only forum, but it is still "public") opens the door to opinions for and against your position on that subject. I would call for equanimity and equal opportunity to agreement and dissent. Nobody is trying to wound your feelings or principles here.


And again: I haven't asked for support for my "case", only how you handle such issues. You still insist on me trying to advertise my principles here on this board and I still don't know why you do, but as I cannot convince you of the opposite (as it is futile, obviously), you can think whatever you like


 

Inez Ulrich  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:46
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
.... Nov 15, 2017

jyuan_us wrote:

is far from being ethical, according to my interpretation of the term.


You might have noticed that I didn't mention the name of the company and the whole thread wasn't about denouncing that company but the general problem of how or if to handle such issues.

But then, what you say is, if something fishy is going on in the world, one has to keep one's mouth shut because it could offend the cause of that "fishiness"? At least that is how I interpret your answer. And if my interpretation is right, then I'll have so say, nope - wrong. But that is a completely different topic, as this wasn't about denouncing somebody, but I repeat myself and some people here prefer to not believe me anyway, so what?!


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Carousel Nov 15, 2017

[quote]
And again: I haven't asked for support for my "case", only how you handle such issues. You still insist on me trying to advertise my principles here on this board and I still don't know why you do, but as I cannot convince you of the opposite (as it is futile, obviously), you can think whatever you like
[end quote]

You may not be aware of this, but no one giving his/her free opinion in this or other forums needs someone else's permission to think what he/she likes. That kind of comment comes across as condescending.

You seem to operate under the impression that my disagreeing with you has the purpose of changing your mind or attaching particular objectives to your statements. That is, in itself, a failure of interpretation on your part. It may be necessary to remind you that agreement or disagreement with your positions doesn't have to meet your rules or expectations. Free speech, always expressed respectfully.


 
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