The Couch

The Couch – Guidance required

The Couch is a learning place, not only for its contributors but also for our readers who engage in the ensuing discussions. What do you do when you witness something that does not seem kosher? Let’s help our colleague find some peace of mind.


This happened years ago, but I have not forgotten because my moral compass tells me I should have acted and I did not. Your guidance is required so I can find peace of mind. 

It was a busy day in the courthouse. I was waiting for a client to arrive and a colleague started chatting with me. She was a staff interpreter everyone liked to cozy up to because she could get you jobs by introducing or recommending you to people. She had connections.

In the beginning, it was a light chat, nothing to tell home about. Then she started confiding in me about stuff that still makes me uncomfortable: arranging to use specific words to create ambiguity, how she helped someone get off by omitting information, how to make some money on the side by being “especially” helpful to lawyers. I wanted out of there so badly.

What could I have done, really? If I raised any issues, it would be my word against hers, I had no proof, maybe she was trying to test me or trying to make herself sound more important. I do not know.

Would you have done something? What specifically?

I am just looking for some peace of mind. Thank you.


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3 Comments
  • Karyn Simmons
    Posted at 12:44h, 18 May Reply

    In Wisconsin, something like that could be mentioned to the head of the Court Interpreter Program (in fact, the Code of Ethics encourages that). I would mention any personal reservations about reporting, as well, clarifying that this was a private conversation. The integrity of our entire profession suffers when one member engages in unethical behaviors; plus, our clients’ freedom and the safety of our communities may be at stake.

  • Alfredo Babler
    Posted at 19:12h, 18 May Reply

    When you tattle on someone, you’re not just telling on someone, you’re telling on yourself. Then, by telling on someone you’re really just telling them, “I’m a tattletale.” Now, is that the tale you want to tell?

    • Gio Lester
      Posted at 20:48h, 18 May Reply

      Are we 5-year olds? “Tattletale,” really? Our colleague is talking about an ethical breach, Try again, Alfredo.

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