Article published in:History of Interpreting
Edited by Ingrid Kurz and Margareta Bowen
[Interpreting 4:1] 1999
► pp. 125–140
The Evolution of Community Interpreting
Based on a broad definition of the concept of community interpreting, the paper gives an overview of the development of community-based interpreting as a profession since the 1960s. Reviewing both the field of sign language interpreting and spoken-language community interpreting in the context of migration, major elements in the process of professionalization are described with reference to selected examples. The overall picture is one of great diversity of approaches, constraints and responses to the challenge of intra-social interpreting needs throughout the world, shaped by the variable interplay of factors like the existence of legal provisions, institutional arrangements for interpreter service delivery, an authority-driven or profession-based system of accreditation or certification more or less specifying standards of practice and professional ethics, training programs within (or outside) the established public system of higher education, and a professional organization more or less inclusive of various types of interpreting activity. Typically, interpreting services 'get organized' (by institutions or community agencies) before practitioners get organized to shape their professional terms of reference, and much progress in the evolution of community interpreting is still to be made.
Published online: 24 January 2001
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