Code of Ethics (extended)

International Christian Interpreter Association (ICIA)

Suggested Code of Ethics:

Ethics: The system of moral values. The principle of right or good conduct, set forth by a specific profession.

Accurate translation:

The interpreter will to the best of his ability, give an accurate translation of the message. The interpreter will convey the intent and the spirit of the message. The interpreter will not consider his or her own opinion while engaged in an interpreting assignment.

Honesty: To witness, testify. To give a good report. To say what you have heard.

o Have a good conscience in all things, willing to live honestly. (Heb. 13:18)
o People who have an honest and good heart bring forth good fruit. (Luke 8:15)
o God will choose people who have an honest report and work through them and promote them. (Acts 6:3)
o Provide all things honest in the sight of all men. (Rom. 12:17)
o Provide for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. (2 Cor. 8:21)
o There is great responsibility being a Christian interpreter. We convey the most important message on earth! One wrong word can change the meaning of the message.
o We become accountable to God for our actions.
o To be able to convey the intent of the message, you need to know the meaning of the message.
o Get to know the heart of the minister and the heart of the message. (Preparation)


The interpreter will prepare himself for the interpreting assignment. If possible he will obtain information regarding the message, to preview. The interpreter will pray for the proper interpretation, for God's leading, and for the Holy Spirit to have free course.

Preparation: Readiness to adjust, to be ready.

* Always be prepared. (Eph. 6:15; Prov. 12:11; 18:9)
* What can you do to prepare for an interpreting assignment?
* Pray by yourself and with the speaker, if possible.
* Get sermon notes from the minister.
* Ask the minister questions and get to know him.
* Study for yourself.
* Know who the audience will be and how many will be there.
* Know what kind of clothing the minister will wear.
* Know if the minister will stand in one place or if he moves around.
* Know if he ministers to the people individually and if you should interpret everything he says.
* Know the surroundings where you will be interpreting and where to set your Bible .
* Know how long the service will last.
* Confirm the time and place of the church service.
* Ask what version of the English Bible he will be using.
* Ask the speaker if he will be using any jokes, cultural sayings or idioms.
* Being prepared will reduce nervousness.


Interpreters must hold the highest of standards in their representation of the ministry and of the Lord Jesus Christ. This will not only apply in the workplace, but also in daily affairs. The interpreter will be prompt for all assignments and expected to remain engaged until released by the one who commissioned him. The interpreter will be neatly groomed and have proper attire for the interpreting assignment.

Behavior: Modest, orderly.

* Have your conversation (behavior) honest among the Gentiles. (1 Peter 2:12)
* Be holy in all your conduct and manner of living. (1 Peter 1:15)
* Be sensible and well behaved, dignified and lead an orderly (disciplined) life. (1 Timothy 3:2)
* Be an example to the believers, in word, conduct, love, faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
* Just like ministers, interpreters have many people watching them. We have a higher standard.
* Be on time and others will learn to respect you and trust you. Being prompt will build credibility. If you will be late, call and let them know. (Higher standard)
* Conduct yourself as a professional.
* Do your best to conform to the clothing of the speaker.


If the interpreter has a different opinion of the message being preached, he will discuss it before or after the presentation. He will respect the opinions of the one who has engaged him at all times during the messages. There should be communication between the interpreter and the one who has commissioned him as to what part or role he is to play in the conversations. If payment is to be made, it will be agreed upon before the interpreting assignment. If the interpreter feels he is not competent enough for the interpreting assignment requested, he is to convey that to the person who has commissioned him at the earliest possible moment.

Communication: The words you speak; the message you convey.

* Speak only things that are good and beneficial to others. (Eph. 4:29)
* Be submitted to others out of reverence for Christ. (Eph. 5:21)
* Be eager to please those you work for. Work as if you are working for the Lord. (Eph. 6:5-8)
* Whatever may be your work, do it heartily. (Col. 3:23)
* Let your speaking at all times be gracious and pleasant. (Col. 4:6)
* Christians are the salt of the earth. That means you are a good communicator. (Matt.5:13)

Continuing Education:

The interpreter will continue to improve his interpreting skills by: personal study, attending church services, Bible conferences, seminars and whatever opportunity that may be available to him. The interpreter will be a daily student of the Bible and become intimately familiar with the main themes of the Bible.

Study: To make effort, be prompt, earnest, endeavor, labor, eagerness and haste.

* Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved. (2 Timothy 2:15)
* Eagerly search and examine the Scriptures daily. (Acts 17:11)
* All Christian should have daily devotions.
* Get skillful and godly wisdom, get understanding, discernment, comprehension and interpretation. (Prov. 4:5-7)
* Do not be lazy or idle. (Prov. 10:4)
* Do not forsake or neglect to assemble together with believers. (Heb. 10:25)
* Set goals and make a plan. If you have a vision for nothing, that is what you will get. (Hab. 2:2)


In interpreting any private setting, such as a counseling session or upon request, the interpreter will keep the information that was interpreted and the assignment strictly confidential.

Confidential: To hold as a secret; having another's trusted confidence.

* Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to take offence and get angry. (James 1:19)
* A person who is trustworthy and faithful in spirit keeps the matter hidden. (Prov. 11.13)
* Discover not and disclose not another’s secret. (Prov. 25:9)


* God has made you an able minister of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. (2 Cor. 3:5, 6)
* Jesus Christ our Lord has enabled you, for He has counted you faithful, putting you into the ministry. (1 Timothy. 1:12)
* The Lord God has given you the tongue of the learned, that you should know how to speak a word in season, to him that is weary. (Isa. 50:4)

Areas of Consideration for the Interpreter

* Not confirming appointments
* Not showing up for an appointment
* Poor time management
* Criticizing other interpreters
* Not knowing how to receive criticism (don’t let it go to your heart)
* Not knowing how to receive praise (don’t let it go to your head)
* Complaining to others regarding wages
* Arguing with the minister while interpreting
* Standing in front of speaker
* Talking too much while with clients (when not in an interpreting role)
* Setting appointments without confirming with the minister
* Poor posture while interpreting
* Not repeating the minister when he is repetitious
* Not interpreting for the minister after the sermon
* Responding to the negative actions of the people
* Inserting names and places on your own
* Reading materials not intended for the interpreter to read
* Holding your Bible too much while interpreting
* Having a bad or negative attitude
* Continuously shaking your head to acknowledge that you understand
* Using incorrect selection of words for different types of audiences
* Telling the speaker that his speaking time is finished
* Your voice too low or soft so that others can’t hear you
* Trying to influence the speaker to speak slower
* Chewing gum while interpreting
* Telling the people when to laugh at the minister’s jokes
* Poor eye contact

Areas of Consideration for the Minister

* Working longer than what was agreed upon
* Speaking too fast
* Speaking too long at one time
* Speaking with too much slang or using difficult idioms
* Pressing the interpreter to give them private information
* Making mistakes while speaking
* Not giving the interpreter enough time to interpret
* Speaking sentences that are too short or too long
* Poor eye contact
* Poor posture
* Poor public speaking abilities