In recognition of language service providers´ great responsibility as mediators between peoples on the one hand and the economy, science, culture, politics and the public on the other hand, the Professional Group of Commercial Service Providers, being the lobby of language services of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, recommends compliance with the following ethics guidelines:
§ 1: The commercial service providers of language services, hereinafter referred to as “language service providers” shall practice their profession conscientiously and with due diligence. They shall be obliged to refrain from any professional misconduct.
§ 2: Misconduct shall be considered such conduct towards a client or another language service provider in relation to professional practice which is likely to damage the reputation of the profession or jeopardize common interests. The violation of the codes of conduct detailed in §§ 5, 6, 9, 10 and 11 shall definitely be deemed professional misconduct.
§ 3: Language service providers shall undertake only to accept orders which they are able and allowed to carry out on the basis of their qualifications and within the scope of legal provisions.
§ 4: Language service providers shall be held liable towards their clients not to cancel an order in an untimely manner unless due to compelling reasons or force majeure.
Duty of confidentiality
§ 5: The language service provider shall maintain the confidentiality of all facts and circumstances entrusted to the language service provider or which have become known in the course of professional activity, unless exceptions are allowed by law or the principles of jurisdiction or the client has expressly exempted the language service provider from confidentiality. This shall apply beyond order completion.
§ 6: The language service provider shall oblige all interpreters, translators, consultants, proofreaders, employees and other temporary staff to maintain confidentiality in line with the preceding paragraph. He/she shall only hand over documents or information entrusted to him/her to persons involved in translation insofar as this is necessary for the professional completion of the assignment.
§ 7: The language service provider shall guarantee the best possible service quality by thoroughly checking all assignments for accuracy, completeness and the execution of all ordered services before delivering them to the client.
§ 8: Language service providers shall assess their professional services based on the overall performance they render in a manner that is reasonable and that corresponds to the conditions of the assignment.
§ 9: Unfair competition shall be avoided. In particular, it is inadmissible
- to poach employees who are engaged in an employment relationship with another language service provider in an unfair way,
- to implement a cut-throat competition with unfair and distortive practices, and
- to transfer the basis of competition from quality to price.
Reputation of the profession
§ 10: Subjective or personally disparaging criticism of other language service providers, their agents or their agents´ performance whether orally or in writing is prohibited and shall be deemed a violation of professional ethics. Criticism is only admissible if it is factually justified and expressed in a way that can be evaluated objectively.
Conduct towards other translation companies
§ 11: Language service providers act contrary to professional ethics in their conduct towards and their business relations with other language service providers, especially if
- they offer their services free of charge, unless in connection with hardship cases or charitable activities, or
- they offer or provide their services on terms contrary to the principle of proper commercial management.
§ 12: Language service providers shall observe the principle of collegiality towards other language service providers. The language service provider shall be obliged to render collegial support, particularly in cases of emergency.
§ 13: Language service providers shall support their lobby (professional association/professional group/occupational group) in the acquisition of important sector data, shall show willingness to exchange experiences beyond their own business, shall visit meetings of professional and expert groups and shall take part in common activities and events.
Professional Ethics of Language Service Providers – Vienna Chamber of Commerce, last update: January 2015