Not a perfect match, sorry! Is it ok to decline a job? A lot of translators may be afraid to decline a job, especially at the beginning of their careers. They think they will lose clients and people may see them as untrained or unqualified. That is not true at all and, in fact, it would be unprofessional to say yes in certain circumstances.
Code of Ethics
If you are affiliated with an Association, like myself, you will have to comply with their Code of Ethics. This not only sets out great standards in our industry but also helps us conduct our business in a professional and ethical manner.
I comply with the CIOL Code of Professional Conduct and the AUSIT Code of Ethics. In both Codes, professional competence is a rule, and both say that we should only carry out work that we are adequately trained and competent to do. So, in other words, if we accept work that we are not confident with or is out of our scope, we are in breach of the Code.
It’s ok to say no!
It is ok to say no and we may not lose the client. Professionalism, ethics and transparency are very important for any business, translation is no different. So being honest and explaining why you can’t take a particular project because is out of your scope, is seen a being professional. The client sees that and may come to you with a more suitable project. Even if they don’t have a project for you, they appreciate your honesty and professionalism.
Over more than 10 years working in this industry, I had to decline many projects, especially Certified Translation projects. I receive lots of emails from possible clients requesting a quote for Portuguese to English Certified Translation. I am not a Certified Translator in that direction and, therefore, I must decline the job. Asking questions is very important, and it is also part of our Code of Ethics. Because sometimes the client may just say they need translation, and you must ascertain what type of service they need. For example, I had this client sending me an email once, asking for a quote to translate a document from Portuguese to English. I asked the client if they needed the translation to be certified and they said no, it was just for an application. I was almost sure that if it was to be submitted with an application it had to be certified, so I asked the client if they could clarify it for me. I explained, that in Australia translated documents to be submitted with applications must be certified. I said I would be very happy to help, but I needed to make sure I was the right person for the job, so they wouldn’t end up having to pay for the same service twice. The client called the place he had to submit that document and he was told it had indeed to be certified. In the end, I may have not got that job, but I had the client thanking me for my honesty.
It is ok to decline if you can’t do it. Because if you say yes and you do a bad job, you not only breach of Code of Ethics but you will lose clients or even worse.