AFTN Professional Code of Conduct

AFTN Code of Professional Conduct

  1. Introduction 

1.1 The African Film Translation Network (the “Network”) is an organisation that aims to provide a platform for trained film subtitlers and film translators working with African languages, to enable them to coordinate among themselves as well as making them visible and contactable by clients through its online Directory. 

1.2 Adherence to the standards of conduct, competence and practice set out in this Code of Professional Conduct (“the Code”) are fundamental requirements of belonging to the Network. The Code sets high standards for the Network’s members. 

1.3 This Code was freely inspired by the UK’s Institute of Translation and Interpreting  (ITI) Code of Conduct, and adapted for the purposes of this Network. ITI shall not in any way be held responsible or liable for the final contents of this Code.

1.4 It is each member’s sole responsibility to abide by this Code. The Network does not take any responsibility for the behaviour of its members, whether in a professional context or otherwise. 

1.5 However, it is up to the Network Administrator to unilaterally decide whether a Member can or cannot be included in its online Directory, as reported breaches of this Code may lead to the exclusion of the member who carried out said breach from the online Directory.

2. The purpose of the Code 

2.1 Through this Code, the Network aims to ensure that high professional standards are consistently maintained amongst its members. The final goal of the Network is to ensure that the subtitling and film translation professions are suitably recognised and valued, especially in those languages and countries where their practice is not widespread.

2.2 To this aim, all members must commit themselves to uphold and maintain the standards set out in the Code, which includes the spirit of the Code as well as its express written terms. Members must act in good faith and take all reasonable steps to resolve any breaches of the Code before a complaint is made to the Network Administrator.

2.3 A breach of the Code that cannot be resolved satisfactorily by the member(s) acting in good faith under clause 2.2 above, which is brought to the Network’s attention, suggesting that a member’s conduct may not be compliant with the Code, will be reviewed by the Network Administrator.

2.4 Members must ensure that they comply with all relevant legal obligations. It is not the remit of the Code to set out all the legal obligations applicable to the Network’s members.

2.5 Any member found to be in breach of the Code may be subject to internal disciplinary action, up to and including cancellation of the member’s listing in the online Directory.

3. General professional values

3.1 Members are required to act in accordance with the following overarching professional values: 

a) To strive to convey the meaning between people and cultures faithfully, accurately and impartially.

b) To hold in confidence any privileged and/or confidential information entrusted to them in the course of their work.

c) To represent their qualifications, capabilities and responsibilities honestly and to always work within them. 

(d) To enhance those capabilities at every opportunity, through continuing education in language, subject field and professional practice.

(e) To act collegially by sharing knowledge and experience.

(f) To define in advance by mutual agreement and to abide by the terms of all business transactions among themselves and with others.

(g) To ask for and to offer due recognition of their work and compensation commensurate with their abilities (this does not exclude members providing pro bono work where appropriate).

(h) To endeavour in good faith to resolve amongst themselves any dispute that arises from their professional interactions. 

3. Principles of practice 

3.1 Members are required to act in accordance with the following principles: 

a) Principle 1 – Client confidentiality

b) Principle 2 – Professional competence 

c) Principle 3 – Honesty and integrity

d) Principle 4 – Solidarity with other members 


1. Confidentiality 

1.1 Members shall adhere to principles of confidentiality at all times, and especially when expressly required to do so by their clients. They shall also require all those assisting them in their work to be similarly bound. 

1.2 No member shall disclose privileged information about other members. 

1.3 Members shall keep all matters in relation to a complaint confidential, including the fact that a complaint has been made. This clause shall not apply to any information that is required to be disclosed pursuant to any applicable laws or the order of any competent court or other regulatory authority. 


1. Competence 

1.1 Subject to Principle 2 Clause 7 below, members shall refuse work that they know to be beyond their competence either linguistically or because of lack of specialised knowledge.

2. Translation 

2.1 Subject to Principle 2 Clauses 4 and 7 below, members shall translate only into a language that is either (i) their mother tongue or language of habitual use, or (ii) one in which they are satisfied that they have equal competence. They shall translate only from those languages in which they can demonstrate they have the requisite skills. 

2.2 Members shall at all times maintain high standards of work according to their abilities, ensuring fidelity of meaning and register, and according to the instructions given by their clients. 

2.3 Individual members shall have sole responsibility and liability for work that they accept from clients. 

2.4 Members shall draw the attention of their clients to any significant ambiguities, errors, omission or imprecise language in the material on which they work.

3. Continuing professional development 

3.1 For as long as they continue in practice, members should endeavour to undertake continuing professional development as appropriate, in order to continue to offer high standards of work by maintaining and updating their language skills, subject knowledge or any other skills or knowledge necessary for the work. This may include, and is not limited to, practicing their mother tongue, or the language they translate and subtitle into, on a regular basis.

4. Contractual arrangements 

4.1 The Network provides Model Terms and Conditions of business for its members’ perusal. Members may decide to adopt them in part or in full. 

4.2 We strongly recommend that our members communicate their applicable terms of work to their clients upon confirmation of the project, either by sending them a copy of their terms or by directing them to a webpage where these are published. However, where no such terms are agreed, the Network’s standard terms shall be deemed to apply by default in any dispute resolution. 

4.3 Any variation to the Terms and Conditions agreed with the clients must be communicated to them in writing in due course and be legally compliant.

4.4 Members shall not knowingly mistranslate, even if instructed so to do, and shall not accept work that they believe may further any illegal or criminal activity, concerning which they shall have a duty of disclosure to the proper authorities.

5. Sub-contracting 

5.1 If members sub-contract their agreed responsibilities, they must ensure that any sub-contractor adheres to any agreed terms and conditions in place and this Code. They should also ensure that when sub-contracting they are not in breach of any agreed terms and conditions or of this Code. 

5.2 Any individual member engaged by a client on the basis of that individual’s skills and expertise as a translator or subtitler must not transfer or sub-contract the agreed responsibilities, including providing a substitute to the client, without first disclosing this to the client at the earliest opportunity.

5.3 Where members receive work from a client who is acting as an intermediary, they shall not make any direct contact with the intermediary’s client without the intermediary’s and the client’s express agreement. If such agreement is given, they shall not make any statements that may be detrimental to their intermediary client’s business. This clause is subject to any terms of business that have been agreed between the member and the intermediary. If these terms of business conflict with this clause, then the terms of business shall prevail. 

5.4 Members acting as clients shall: 

a) wherever possible, give preference to members of the Network;

b) ensure that they (as well as any employees and subcontractors) observe all relevant clauses of this Code, and shall apply stated procedures to check work not carried out by themselves. 

6. Competition 

6.1 Where members are engaged in any form of competition to secure work, they must act fairly and ethically with potential clients and competitors, particularly where these are other members. 

6.2 Members should not enter into agreements with others to fix prices and control markets or otherwise distort competition. 

6.3 When competing for work, members must not seek to gain unfair advantage with the client to the detriment of other competitors (particularly members) nor attempt to influence the client to show favour or bias. 

6.4 Members must ensure that they have the appropriate skills and resources for the work they are tendering for and that any estimate provided is sufficient to complete the work to high standards. 

7. Exceptions 

7.1 Where a client requires a member to carry out work in circumstances that contravene the provisions of Principle 2 Clause 2 and 3 above, the member may, exceptionally, accept the work provided that: 

a) the member has taken appropriate steps, preferably putting his concerns in writing, to ensure that the client is fully aware of the risks involved. 

b) the member has satisfied himself that the client is genuinely aware of the risks involved. 

c) the client has expressly agreed, preferably in writing, to accept the risks involved.

d) the work carries a cautionary notice.


1. Advertising 

1.1 In advertising their services members must ensure that the information they include is factual and relevant, does not mislead and is not unfair to anyone else. All marketing and promotional material should: 

• Be legal, decent, honest and truthful 

          • Respect the principles of fair competition and should not:

a)  imply expertise or resources beyond those that can be provided

b)  unfairly discredit competitors either directly or by implication

c)  encourage or condone unacceptable behaviour

2. Conflicts of interest 

2.1 Members shall carry out all work entrusted to them with impartiality and shall disclose any business, financial or other interest that might affect this impartiality. 

2.2 Members’ personal, private, religious, political or financial interests should not conflict with their duties and obligations to their clients. Should such a conflict arise it should be declared to the client and if the conflict is unacceptable or cannot be resolved, the member should withdraw from the contract having regard to their contractual obligations. 

3. Integrity 

3.1 Members are expected to act with integrity in all their professional and business activities. This means acting with honesty, fairness and impartiality at all times and not allowing themselves to be improperly influenced either by self-interest or the interests of others. 

3.2 Members should avoid actions or situations that are inconsistent with their professional obligations. If members find themselves in such a situation, they should remove themselves from it as soon as possible. In the most serious circumstances, they should withdraw from the contract having regard to their contractual obligations.

3.3 Members should seek appropriate advice when faced with a situation that they recognise as being outside their own experience, knowledge or competence. 

4. Media and public statements 

4.1 In making public statements and in their contacts with the media, members must bear in mind that, if they have been identified as members of the Network, their statements may be interpreted as representing the view of the Network or of the profession; they shall therefore respond accordingly with dignity and professionalism.


1. Mutual assistance 

1.1 Members shall assist each other in every practical way and shall conduct themselves loyally towards their fellow members and the Network. 

2. Respect 

2.1 Members must be respectful to each other and shall not intentionally seek to damage another member’s reputation or business. 

2.2 Members must not deliberately approach another member’s client with a view to obtaining work from that client.

5. Amendments 

5.1 This Code may be amended from time to time by the Network Administrator. The Members will be notified whenever relevant and reasonably possible of such changes.