Confidentiality versus disclosure in the translating profession: legal and ethical considerations

When:13 Sep 2016, 3pm - 4:30pm
Venue:Morven Brown 209 (map ref C20)
Who:Sarah Wentworth
Sarah Wentworth

Interpreting & Translation Seminar


A translator's legal and ethical obligations can be conflicting. For example, translators have a professional duty to treat information they receive from clients as confidential, but in certain circumstances they may also be subject to a duty to disclose that information. The starting point for this presentation is a case study that highlights precisely this conflict between confidentiality and disclosure obligations. In seeking to address the problems posed by the case, I firstly examine the legal and ethical bases of translators' duties of confidentiality and duties of disclosure, including a discussion of a potentially applicable and unique provision of NSW criminal law. With reference to further legal and ethical considerations, I then aim to explore some possible courses of action available to the translator in our case study in the quest for best practice.

About Sarah Wentworth

Sarah Wentworth is a freelance translator (German to English) specialising in legal and financial translations. She completed an Arts degree at the University of Queensland, majoring in Business German, and a Law degree at the University of Sydney. Following her studies, she worked at the Supreme Court of NSW and at Minter Ellison in Sydney before relocating to Germany to take up a position with a Frankfurt-based specialist legal translation firm, Legal Language Services. In addition to translating, Sarah was also responsible at LLS for compiling and delivering a legal English course for German lawyers. Since returning to Australia permanently 13 years ago, Sarah has continued translating on a freelance basis.

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