Cognitive space: Exploring the situational interface
  • ISSN 2211-3711
  • E-ISSN: 2211-372X
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Interpreters are part of a complex system involving multiple human and technological agents, some of which are aggregated into the form of interpreting agencies. Interpreting is shaped by the ergonomics of the agency as well as by those of the courtroom, hospital or conference centre. The changing British economic climate and contractualism across the public services have brought the role of agencies to the fore. Drawing upon ethnographic data, the paper explicitly links the effect of agency management to practices on the ground and investigates the ergonomic barriers perceived by interpreters. We identify a set of organisational imperatives for recruitment, work allocation, professional ethics and collaborative working. As a key information interface, agencies do not always interact effectively with interpreters or consider their own ergonomic impact. We conclude that there is a need for more research on agencies as workplaces and employers of interpreters in the community.


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