The Translator's Charter
(approved by the Congress at Dubrovnik in 1963,
and amended in Oslo on July 9, 1994)
General obligations of the translator
Rights of the translator
Economic and social position of the translator
Translators' societies and unions
National organizations and the International Federation of Translators
The International Federation of Translators
that translation has established itself as a permanent,universal
and necessary activity in the world of today; that by making intellectual
and material exchanges possible among nations it enriches their
life and contributes to a better understanding amongst men;
that in spite of the various circumstances under which it is practised
translation must now be recognized as a distinct and autonomous
to lay down, as a formal document, certain general principles inseparably
connected with the profession of translating, particularly for the
- stressing the social function of translation,
- laying down the rights and duties of translators,
- laying the basis of a translator's code of ethics,
- improving the economic conditions and social climate in which
the translator carries out his activity, and
- recommending certain lines of conduct for translators and their
professional organizations, and to contribute in this way to the
recognition of translation as a distinct and autonomous profession,
announces the text of a charter proposed to serve as guiding principles
for the exercise of the profession of translator.
GENERAL OBLIGATIONS OF THE TRANSLATOR
1. Translation, being an intellectual activity, the object of which
is the transfer of literary, scientific and technical texts from
one language into another, imposes on those who practise it specific
obligations inherent in its very nature.
2. A translation shall always be made on the sole responsibility
of the translator, whatever the character of the relationship of
contract which binds him/her to the user.
3. The translator shall refuse to give to a text an interpretation
of which he/she does not approve, or which would be contrary to
the obligations of his/her profession.
4. Every translation shall be faithful and render exactly the idea
and form of the original ?this fidelity constituting both a moral
and legal obligation for the translator.
5. A faithful translation, however, should not be confused with
a literal translation, the fidelity of a translation not excluding
an adaptation to make the form, the atmosphere and deeper meaning
of the work felt in another language and country.
6. The translator shall possess a sound knowledge of the language
from which he/she translates and should, in particular, be a master
of that into which he/she translates.
7. He/she must likewise have a broad general knowledge and know
sufficiently well the subject matter of the translation and refrain
from undertaking a translation in a field beyond his competence.
8. The translator shall refrain from any unfair competition in carrying
out his profession; in particular, he/she shall strive for equitable
remuneration and not accept any fee below that which may be fixed
by law and regulations.
9. In general, he/she shall neither seek nor accept work under conditions
humiliating to himself/herself or his/her profession.
10. The translator shall respect the legitimate interests of the
user by treating as a professional secret any information which
may come into his/her possession as a result of the translation
entrusted to him/her.
11. Being a "secondary" author, the translator is required
to accept special obligations with respect to the author of the
12. He/she must obtain from the author of the original work or from
the user authorization to translate a work, and must furthermore
respect all other rights vested in the author.
RIGHTS OF THE TRANSLATOR
13. Every translator shall enjoy all the rights with respect to
the translation he/she has made, which the country where he/she
exercises his/her activities grants to other intellectual workers.
14. A translation, being a creation of the intellect, shall enjoy
the legal protection accorded to such works.
15. The translator is therefore the holder of copyright in his/her
translation and consequently has the same privileges as the author
of the original work.
16. The translator shall thus enjoy, with respect to his/her translation,
all the moral rights of succession conferred by his/her authorship.
17. He/she shall consequently enjoy during his/her lifetime the
right to recognition of his/her authorship of the translation, from
which it follows, inter alia, that
(a) his/her name shall be mentioned clearly and unambiguously whenever
his/her translation is used publicly;
(b) he/she shall be entitled to oppose any distortion, mutilation
or other modification of his/her translation;
(c) publishers and other users of his/her translation shall not
make changes therein without the translator's prior consent;
(d) he/she shall be entitled to prohibit any improper use of his/her
translation and, in general, to resist any attack upon it that is
prejudicial to his/her honour or reputation.
18. Furthermore, the exclusive right to authorize the publication,
presentation, broadcasting, re-translation, adaptation, modification
or other rendering of his/her translation, and, in general, the
right to use his/her translation in any form shall remain with the
19. For every public use of his/her translation the translator shall
be entitled to remuneration at a rate fixed by contract or law.
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL POSITION OF THE TRANSLATOR
20. The translator must be assured of living conditions enabling
him/her to carry out with efficiency and dignity the social task
conferred on him/her.
21. The translator shall have a share in the success of his/her
work and shall, in particular, be entitled to remuneration proportional
to the commercial proceeds from the work he/she has translated.
22. It must be recognized that translation can also arise in the
form of commissioned work and acquire as such rights to remuneration
independent of commercial profits accruing from the work translated.
23. The translating profession, like other professions, shall enjoy
in every country a protection equal to that afforded to other professions
in that country, by collective agreements, standard contracts, etc.
24. Translators in every country shall enjoy the advantages granted
to intellectual workers, and particularly of all social insurance
schemes, such as old-age pensions, health insurance, unemployment
benefits and family allowances.
TRANSLATORS' SOCIETIES AND UNIONS
25. In common with members of other professions, translators shall
enjoy the right to form professional societies or unions.
26. In addition to defending the moral and material interests of
translators, these organizations shall have the task of ensuring
improvement in standards of translation and of dealing with all
other matters concerning translation.
27. They shall exert their influence on public authorities in the
preparation and introduction of legal measures and regulations concerning
28. They shall strive to maintain permanent relations with organizations
which are users of translations (publishers' associations, industrial
and commercial enterprises, public and private authorities, the
Press, etc.) for the purpose of studying and finding solutions to
their common problems.
29. In watching over the quality of all works translated in their
countries, they shall keep in touch with cultural organizations,
societies of authors, national sections of the Pen Club, literary
critics, learned societies, universities, and technical and scientific
30. They shall be competent to act as arbiters and experts in all
disputes arising between translators and users of translations.
31. They shall have the right to give advice on the training and
recruitment of translators, and to co-operate with specialized organizations
and universities in the pursuit of these aims.
32. They shall endeavour to collect information of interest to the
profession from all sources and to place it at the disposal of translators
in the form of libraries, files, journals and bulletins, for which
purpose they shall establish theoretical and practical information
services, and organize seminars and meetings.
NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF TRANSLATORS
33. Where several groups of translators exist in a country, organized
either on a regional basis or into different categories, it will
be desirable for these groups to co-ordinate their activities in
a central national organization, at the same time preserving their
34. In countries where societies or unions of translators are not
yet in existence, it is suggested that translators should join forces
to bring about the necessary establishment of such an organization,
in accordance with the relevant legal requirements of their country.
35. To ensure the attainment of their aims at world level by common
effort, national translators' organizations are called upon to unite
in the Fédération internationale des traducteurs (International
Federation of Translators [FIT]).
36. Translators shall join their national organizations of their
own free will and the same must apply to the societies with respect
to their association with the International Federation of Translators.
37. The International Federation of Translators shall defend the
material and moral rights of translators at the international level,
keep in touch with progress in theoretical and practical matters
relating to translation, and endeavour to contribute to the spread
of civilization throughout the world.
38. The International Federation of Translators shall attain these
objectives by representing translators at the international level,
particularly through relations with governmental, non-governmental
and supranational organizations, by taking part in meetings likely
to be of interest to translators and translation at the international
level, by publishing works, and by organizing or arranging for the
organization of congresses at which questions concerning translation
or translators may be examined.
39. In general the International Federation of Translators shall
extend the activities of the societies of every country at the international
level, co-ordinate their efforts and define its common policy.
40. The national societies and the International Federation of Translators,
their central organization, derive the strength necessary for the
pursuit of their professional objectives from the feeling of solidarity
existing among translators and from the dignity of translation which
contributes to better understanding among nations and to the spread
of culture throughout the world.