AHEAD Code of Ethics

The accessibility advisors adhere to the Association of Higher Education and Disability Code of Ethics:

We agree that these principles are the Code of Ethics for postsecondary disability service providers. As professionals, we are responsible for upholding, supporting, and advancing these ideas whenever possible. Members of AHEAD agree to monitor themselves and their peers in accordance with the spirit and provisions of this code, as delineated by the following principles:

  • Postsecondary disability service providers are committed to facilitating the highest levels of educational excellence and potential quality of life for postsecondary students with disabilities.
  • Postsecondary disability service providers strive to achieve and maintain the highest levels of competence and integrity in all areas of assistance to adult students with disabilities. This support is guided by the consistent use of objective, professional judgment in all areas, especially when addressing the confidential nature of the student’s disability.
  • Postsecondary disability service providers continually participate in professional activities and educational opportunities designed to strengthen the personal, educational, and vocational quality of life for students with disabilities. This includes the on-going development of strategies, skills, research, and knowledge pertinent to the highest quality of disability service delivery whenever and wherever it occurs.
  • Postsecondary disability service providers carry out their responsibilities in accordance with AHEAD professional standards and policy guidelines for adult students with disabilities. When certified, licensed, or affiliated with other professionals or organizations, they comply with those professional guidelines as well.

Postsecondary service providers are actively engaged in supporting and clarifying institutional, state, provincial, and federal laws, policies, and procedures applicable to the service delivery to students with disabilities. Compliance implies that professionals will not condone or participate in any unethical or illegal acts discussed within these guidelines.

NAD/RID Code of Professional Conduct


  • This Code of Professional Conduct applies to certified and associate members of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc., Certified members of the National Association of the Deaf, interns, and students of the profession.
  • Federal, state or other statutes or regulations may supersede this Code of Professional Conduct. When there is a conflict between this code and local, state, or federal laws and regulations, the interpreter obeys the rule of law.
  • This Code of Professional Conduct applies to interpreted situations that are performed either face-to-face or remotely.


For the purpose of this document, the following terms are used:

Colleagues: Other interpreters.

Conflict of Interest: A conflict between the private interests (personal, financial, or professional) and the official or professional responsibilities of an interpreter in a position of trust, whether actual or perceived, deriving from a specific interpreting situation.

Consumers: Individuals and entities who are part of the interpreted situation. This includes individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing, and hearing.

Tenet: Interpreters adhere to standards of confidential communication.

Guiding Principle: Interpreters hold a position of trust in their role as linguistic and cultural facilitators of communication. Confidentiality is highly valued by consumers and is essential to protecting all involved.

Each interpreting situation (e.g., elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education, legal, medical, mental health) has a standard of confidentiality. Under the reasonable interpreter standard, professional interpreters are expected to know the general requirements and applicability of various levels of confidentiality. Exceptions include, for example, federal and state laws requiring mandatory reporting of abuse or threats of suicide, or responding to subpoenas.

Illustrative Behavior – Interpreters:

  • Share assignment-related information only on a confidential and “as-needed” basis (e.g., supervisors, interpreter team members, members of the educational team, hiring entities).
  • Manage data, invoices, records, or other situational or consumer-specific information in a manner consistent with maintaining consumer confidentiality (e.g., shredding, locked files).
  • Inform consumers when federal or state mandates require disclosure of confidential information.

Tenet: Interpreters possess the professional skills and knowledge required for the specific interpreting situation.

Guiding Principle: Interpreters are expected to stay abreast of evolving language use and trends in the profession of interpreting as well as in the American Deaf community.

Interpreters accept assignments using discretion with regard to skill, communication mode, setting, and consumer needs. Interpreters possess knowledge of American Deaf culture and deafness-related resources.

Illustrative Behavior – Interpreters:

  • Provide service delivery regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any other factor.
  • Assess consumer needs and the interpreting situation before and during the assignment and make adjustments as needed.
  • Render the message faithfully by conveying the content and spirit of what is being communicated, using language most readily understood by consumers, and correcting errors discreetly and expeditiously.
  • Request support (e.g., certified deaf interpreters, team members, language facilitators) when needed to fully convey the message or to address exceptional communication challenges (e.g. cognitive disabilities, foreign sign language, emerging language ability, or lack of formal instruction or language).
  • Refrain from providing counsel, advice, or personal opinions.
  • Judiciously provide information or referral regarding available interpreting or community resources without infringing upon consumer’s rights.

Tenet: Interpreters conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the specific interpreting situation.

Guiding Principle: Interpreters are expected to present themselves appropriately in demeanor and appearance. They avoid situations that result in conflicting roles or perceived or actual conflicts of interest.

Illustrative Behavior – Interpreters:

  • Consult with appropriate persons regarding the interpreting situation to determine issues such as placement and adaptations necessary to interpret effectively.
  • Decline assignments or withdraw from the interpreting profession when not competent due to physical, mental, or emotional factors.
  • Avoid performing dual or conflicting roles in interdisciplinary (e.g. educational or mental health teams) or other settings.
  • Comply with established workplace codes of conduct, notify appropriate personnel if there is a conflict with this Code of Professional Conduct, and actively seek resolution where warranted.
  • Conduct and present themselves in an unobtrusive manner and exercise care in choice of attire.
  • Refrain from the use of mind-altering substances before or during the performance of duties.
  • Disclose to parties involved any actual or perceived conflicts of interest.
  • Avoid actual or perceived conflicts of interest that might cause harm or interfere with the effectiveness of interpreting services.
  • Refrain from using confidential interpreted information for personal, monetary, or professional gain.
  • Refrain from using confidential interpreted information for the benefit of personal or professional affiliations or entities.

Tenet: Interpreters demonstrate respect for consumers.

Guiding Principle: Interpreters are expected to honor consumer preferences in selection of interpreters and interpreting dynamics, while recognizing the realities of qualifications, availability, and situation.

Illustrative Behavior – Interpreters:

  • Consider consumer requests or needs regarding language preferences, and render the message accordingly (interpreted or transliterated).
  • Approach consumers with a professional demeanor at all times.
  • Obtain the consent of consumers before bringing an intern to an assignment.
  • Facilitate communication access and equality, and support the full interaction and independence of consumers.

Tenet: Interpreters demonstrate respect for colleagues, interns and students of the profession.

Guiding Principle: Interpreters are expected to collaborate with colleagues to foster the delivery of effective interpreting services. They also understand that the manner in which they relate to colleagues reflects upon the profession in general.

Illustrative Behavior – Interpreters:

  • Maintain civility toward colleagues, interns, and students.
  • Work cooperatively with team members through consultation before assignments regarding logistics, providing professional and courteous assistance when asked and monitoring the accuracy of the message while functioning in the role of the support interpreter.
  • Approach colleagues privately to discuss and resolve breaches of ethical or professional conduct through standard conflict resolution methods; file a formal grievance only after such attempts have been unsuccessful or the breaches are harmful or habitual.
  • Assist and encourage colleagues by sharing information and serving as mentors when appropriate.
  • Obtain the consent of colleagues before bringing an intern to an assignment.

Tenet: Interpreters maintain ethical business practices.

Guiding Principle: Interpreters are expected to conduct their business in a professional manner whether in private practice or in the employ of an agency or other entity. Professional interpreters are entitled to a living wage based on their qualifications and expertise.
Interpreters are also entitled to working conditions conducive to effective service delivery.

Illustrative Behavior – Interpreters:

  • Accurately represent qualifications, such as certification, educational background, and experience, and provide documentation when requested.
  • Honor professional commitments and terminate assignments only when fair and justifiable grounds exist.
  • Promote conditions that are conducive to effective communication, inform the parties involved if such conditions do not exist, and seek appropriate remedies.
  • Inform appropriate parties in a timely manner when delayed or unable to fulfill assignments.
  • Reserve the option to decline or discontinue assignments if working conditions are not safe, healthy, or conducive to interpreting.
  • Refrain from harassment or coercion before, during, or after the provision of interpreting services.
  • Render pro bono services in a fair and reasonable manner.
  • Charge fair and reasonable fees for the performance of interpreting services and arrange for payment in a professional and judicious manner.

Tenet: Interpreters engage in professional development.

Guiding Principle: Interpreters are expected to foster and maintain interpreting competence and the stature of the profession through ongoing development of knowledge and skills.

Illustrative Behavior – Interpreters:

Increase knowledge and strengthen skills through activities such as:

  • pursuing higher education;
  • attending workshops and conferences;
  • seeking mentoring and supervision opportunities;
  • participating in community events; and
  • engaging in independent studies.

Keep abreast of laws, policies, rules, and regulations that affect the profession.