Tools for Interpreters

During the Encounter
Step 2

Remember that you are not your emotions. Prevent your emotions from escalating to a higher degree of intensity, shift your focus from the epicenter of stress using one of these techniques:

Taking Notes

In addition to improving your interpreting skills, note taking can serve another practical purpose during a tough encounter. It is a good excuse to break the eye contact with a person you are interpreting for and switch your visual focus from the source of intense emotions to a mechanical task without interrupting the encounter.

Rub your hands

Unlike mental grounding that requires you to shift mental activity, physical grounding allows you to keep your mind focused on the interpreting, but helps interrupt escalating emotional response with a mechanical monotonous action.

Focusing on the Big Toe

Gazing down and shifting your attention to your right or left toe is one of the ways you can focus on the “here and now”. You can also shift your gaze to any other still object, like a poster on the wall, or focus on a monotonous sound, like a ticking clock or a humming computer.