Research & Scholarly Achievement
at Gallaudet University
Professional autonomy in video relay service interpreting: Perceptions of American Sign Language-English interpreters
American Sign Language (ASL)-English interpreters who work in the video relay service (VRS) industry are governed by rules and regulations established by the Federal Communications Commission and corporate VRS providers. The rules and regulations may restrict the autonomous decision-making of interpreters in this setting, thereby leading to a variety of outcomes in the work. This study investigates how interpreters exercise professional autonomy when working in the VRS setting. Using in-depth interviews following a grounded theory approach, the daily work of VRS interpreters will be investigated in relation to the various constraints that govern their actions. The plan is to interview approximately 30 ASL-English interpreters who are experienced in a VRS setting. The interview data will be analyzed for patterns (e.g. topic, vocabulary, interpreters' actions, and similar feelings) that lead toward an understanding of interpreters' potential use of professional autonomy in their daily work in VRS. Through investigating interpreters' daily decision-making in VRS settings, along with their reasoning for exercising their autonomy, the aim is to evaluate the efficacy of the rules under which VRS interpreters work and to better understand the daily experience of VRS interpreters.