Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Ethics in Practice: Case Study no. 3 (gifts)

We know of an interpreter who once got offered cash by a client they were serving through another company, where they worked in the quality of contractor.

The client claimed having loved their services and wishing for rewarding them beyond the usual. The client then took a few 50-dollar notes out of her bag and started trying to force the interpreter to take them.

It is very hard for an interpreter, especially considering their usual salaries, to resist the temptation of accepting this sort of compliment.

It is perhaps beyond what is human, since they may be starving.

Ethics should be above almost all when we are working, however. 

We do have to refuse offers like this.

She did refuse.

The female client was very persistent however and tried to even throw the money into her cleavage, not seeing any other place where she could drop it.

This interpreter did resist to the end and did not take the extra money from this client.

She could not find an elegant way to get rid of the offer however: It was all very clear to those observing. 

We should try to be elegant at all times, so that the interpreter's actions were not totally perfect, ethically speaking, but, at least sometimes, it is simply impossible that they be perfect.

In Australia, this issue is mentioned as a token of gratitude (principle 6, Employment). This piece of the principle is not that rigid however.

What could be the implications involved?

The interpreter could be used to associate gifts with intimacy, for instance, so that the psychological impact of accepting that token is bigger than one can initially see (impartiality).

The client could feel obliged to reward to the interpreter with some extra in future instances of service provision, what creates inconvenience, to the least.

Someone may find out that the interpreter has accepted that sort of gratuity, what may make it look as if the interpreter is, for instance, asking the client to pay an extra fee each time they serve them, what may generate rumors (discrimination, scam, and things like that).

If the interpreter believes that they are not getting enough money for their work, then they will weaken their will of getting involved in class fights after accepting gratuities, what is then bad for the entire class. 

We must notice that ethics does go beyond the codes: It definitely has to do with elegance and keeping the professional class as a class. 

Please help the SPTIA help our professional class by doing one of its courses:

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