Translation and ethics, face to face

What to do when presented with questionable texts to translate? Arms trade literature, fundamental religious positions on personal freedoms, attacks on science and reason, etc. can all pose the translator a minor problem in making what is essentially a business decision - do I do it? <awfulanalogy>As translators, we drive vehicles filled with ideas. We transport them across borders. We discuss the potential problems of our loads over our cabin radios as we pass each other like ships in the mist. </awfulanalogy> We are not liable for originating the ideas, but we may be liable for propagating them. Therefore the choice is first and foremost legal - is it deemed by society to be non-criminal? The next question is personal; if I help spread this idea to a wider audience, would I encourage this ethically dubious behaviour, spark debate or is it of no consequence whether I do or do not translate this text? We also have a responsibility to our businesses, as separate entities, to ensure that they are as profitable as possible. If the price of spreading the ethically questionable text is high enough, we could offset our diminishing 'integrity footprint' by planting opposing ideas elsewhere. This way we may soothe our souls and our sales. Your thoughts, as ever, may be extracted and transported below.

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