Codes of Ethics and Professionalisation of T&I: Japanese and Australian Cases

Previous studies on translation and interpreting (T&I) as a profession (e.g. Sela-Sheffy, 2010; Katan, 2011) postulate that the construction of social recognition and professional identities is an indispensable part of professionalising the field. Maintaining a Code of Ethics is therefore an essential step for professionalisation (Mizuno, 2005; Naito, 2015; Sugisawa, 2015). However, little is known about how different ways of implementing Codes of Ethics affect this professionalisation process.

Ongoing multiculturalisation in Japan requires T&I to be established as a profession (Naito, 2015). As a result of the development of new training programs and certification systems, a range of Codes of Ethics exist in parallel in Japan, maintained by a variety of institutions. By contrast, in Australia where the professionalisation of T&I has a history dating back to the 1970s (Hlavac et al., 2018), the Code of Ethics set out by the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators (AUSIT) is centrally applied to an array of specific T&I fields. Knowledge of this Code is assessed by the National Accreditation Authority of Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) and taught in NAATI-endorsed tertiary programs.

The objectives of this paper are twofold. First, it compares the macro-level configurations of T&I Codes of Ethics in Japan and Australia. Secondly, it compares the micro-level contents of selected Codes of Ethics: AUSIT Code of Ethics, RCCT Code of Ethics (Registration Centre of Certified Translators), JTA Code of Ethics (Japan Translation Association) and the Code of Ethics for Consultation Interpreting (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Community Interpreter Practical Research Partnership Program). Chesterman’s model of "norms" and "norm authorities" (1997) is applied to this comparative approach. I report on the findings from these analyses with a focus on their implications for professional practice and identity construction in respective local contexts.