Towards the Construction of Organisational Professionalism in Public Service Interpreting

2019-06-26T11:20:27Z (GMT) by Jiqing Dong Jemina Napier
As an exploratory step into a larger qualitative investigation of the changing role of agencies intersecting the professionalisation of public service interpreting, the case study undertaken in this paper aims to explore the interpreters’ expectation of agencies and how that contrasts with the viewpoints from organisational leadership. Fieldwork was conducted within an interpreting agency in the UK. Preliminary findings revealed that interpreters have relatively high expectations of their work organisation in the provision of screening, training, monitoring and other support. Managers, on the other hand, are keen on constructing organisational professionalism to inform practice. This implies that agencies might have gone far beyond the traditional role of information broker to become a crucial institutional gatekeeper and the centre of the occupational community. Unethically managed, it may exacerbate the fragmentation of the employment structure through encroaching professional autonomy, thus increasing the precariousness of the work relationship. Among other things, this paper highlights the lacuna in theorisations of commercial organisations in the professional project framework and the need for a more inclusive approach to understanding the factors that affect an occupation to professionalise, one that gives more weight to the social context and the key actors in shaping the change.