Interpreting agencies have been identified as playing a crucial role in the professionalization process of community interpreting (Ozolins, 2007; Dong & Turner, 2016; Dong & Napier, 2016), but little research on agency influence has been undertaken. Ozolins (2007) claims that actual agency practices may be difficult to research due to agencies guarding proprietary information or avoiding judgment. Hence this study sought insight into the perceptions of British Sign Language (BSL)-English interpreters on the role of agencies in influencing market and professional standards and market disorder (Witter-Merithew & Johnson, 2004) in the U.K. interpreting industry. The study also explored opinions on the need for a Code of Industry Practice for agencies and agency accreditation (Ozolins, 2007; Feyne, 2012). Although U.K. centric, the findings may apply to other national contexts. Results indicate a mistrust of interpreting agencies, and survey respondents were strongly in favor of a Code of Industry Practice and agency accreditation. Results also indicated a perception amongst survey participants that agencies play a pivotal role in influencing market and professional standards including quality of services, job allocation, interpreter pay and working terms and conditions. Recommendations are offered for implementing a Code of Industry Practice and an instrument for agency accreditation.



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