Vicarious Trauma & Professional Interpreters



SKU MW-OT-0018 Categories , , , ,


Vicarious trauma has been identified as something that affects the performance and wellbeing of interpreters by experiencing or internalizing someone else’s trauma. Research has confirmed that interpreters are vulnerable to vicarious trauma, burnouts, compassion fatigue, or secondary stress as a result of repeatedly interpreting various traumatic information and experiences.
MasterWord is a trauma-informed organization following the principles and best practices for the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime.

Not only do interpreters witness the trauma, but channeling the trauma can also affect their perceptions of the world around them and result in anxiety, depression, and other serious mental health issues. First formally brought into the light during the 2001 International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), interpretation was subsequently placed in the category of high-stress professions, with consequences ranging from burnout to vicarious trauma, leading to significant performance impediments. The study that triggered this awareness investigated four sets of parameters: psychological, physiological, physical, and performance, as well as the interactions between them.

Target Audience

Language professionals working in healthcare, in court, in jail, with refugees, with child protective services, with victims of abuse, in war zones, or interpreting during an intense encounter most likely experienced high levels of stress, suffered vicarious trauma, or felt vulnerable during the course of their everyday work.

Learning Objectives

  • Define vicarious trauma and articulate why those working in healthcare and social services settings are at greater risk for vicarious trauma
  • Identify the potential impact of vicarious trauma on work performance and quality of life
  • Articulate the role of awareness, balance, and healthy coping strategies in effective self-care
  • Develop a network of support

Continuing Education

  • 1 CCHI
  • .1 IMIA CEUs