Interpreting: Agencies

Sign language interpreting service agencies (ISAs) were a natural outgrowth of the move from informal, usually unpaid interpreting services primarily provided by family members, clergy, educators, and social service providers to the professionalization of interpreting that took place from the mid-1960s into the early 1970s.

As the industry progressed from ad hoc volunteerism to a legal mandate, Deaf people increasingly requested and came to expect professional interpreting services. Early on, for example, it was recognized that if Deaf people wanted to attend a local college or university and requested an interpreter under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the demand for professional interpreters would exceed the supply almost immediately. The college’s staff members without a connection to the Deaf community needed an efficient ...

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