Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2542-5277
  • E-ISSN: 2542-5285
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Previous studies on affective dimensions of interpreting suggest that the emotionally-charged conversations or complex topics encountered by interpreters in community settings may be stressful and emotionally taxing, leaving interpreters prone to vicarious trauma and retraumatization. The assumed psychological risk associated with these conditions may point to the importance of self-care in community interpreting practice and its role in building interpreters’ resilience. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with 20 professional community interpreters, this article aims to identify self-care strategies adopted in community interpreting. By using Posluns & Gall’s (2020) framework, we focus on six main self-care domains, i.e., awareness, balance, flexibility, physical health, social support, and spirituality. The study documents how community interpreters utilize self-care practice to mitigate stress inherent in the profession.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Angelelli, Claudia V.
    2008 The role of the interpreter in the healthcare setting: A plea for a dialogue between research and practice. InCarmen Valero Garcés & Anne Martin, eds.Crossing borders in community interpreting: Definitions and dilemmas. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp.147–163. 10.1075/btl.76.08ang
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.76.08ang [Google Scholar]
  2. Ben-Zur, Hasida & Keren Michael
    2007 Burnout, social support, and coping at work among social workers, psychologists, and nurses: The role of challenge/control appraisals. Social Work in Health Care45 (14): 63–82. 10.1300/J010v45n04_04
    https://doi.org/10.1300/J010v45n04_04 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bontempo, Karen & Karen Malcolm
    2012 An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: Educating interpreters about the risk of vicarious trauma in healthcare settings. InLaurie Swabey & Karen Malcolm, eds.In our hands: Educating healthcare interpreters. Washington DC: Gallaudet University Press, pp.105–130. 10.2307/j.ctv2rcnmkt.9
    https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv2rcnmkt.9 [Google Scholar]
  4. Bontempo, Karen & Valerie van Loggerenberg
    2010 Managing occupational stress: Coping strategies for interpreters. Paper presented at theSDP Online Conference, February 3–6.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Chekroud, Sammi R.
    2018 Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1.2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: A cross-sectional study. The Lancet: Psychiatry5 (9): 739–746. 10.1016/S2215‑0366(18)30227‑X
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30227-X [Google Scholar]
  6. Costa, Beverley, Raquel Lázaro Gutiérrez & Tom Rausch
    2020 Self-care as an ethical responsibility. A pilot study on support provision for interpreters in human crises. Translation and Interpreting Studies15 (1): 36–56. 10.1075/tis.20004.cos
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tis.20004.cos [Google Scholar]
  7. Crandall, Rick & Pamela L. Perrewé
    eds. 1995Occupational stress: A handbook (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. 10.1201/9781003072430
    https://doi.org/10.1201/9781003072430 [Google Scholar]
  8. Crezee, Ineke
    2015 Teaching interpreters about self-care. International Journal of Interpreter Education7 (1): Article 7. https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/ijie/vol7/iss1/7
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Doherty, Sharon, Anna MacIntyre & Tara Wyne
    2010 How does it feel for you? The emotional impact and specific challenges of mental health interpreting. Mental Health Review Journal15 (3): 31–44. 10.5042/mhrj.2010.0657
    https://doi.org/10.5042/mhrj.2010.0657 [Google Scholar]
  10. Dorociak, Katherine E., Patricia A. Rupert, Fred B. Bryant & Evan Zahniser
    2017 Development of the Professional Self-Care Scale. Journal of Counseling Psychology64 (3): 325–334. 10.1037/cou0000206
    https://doi.org/10.1037/cou0000206 [Google Scholar]
  11. Fawcett, John
    ed. 2003Stress and trauma handbook: Strategies for flourishing in demanding environments. Monrovia, CA: World Vision International.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Hokkanen, Sari
    2017 Analyzing personal embodied experiences: Autoethnography, feelings, and fieldwork. Translation & Interpreting9 (1): 24–35. 10.12807/ti.109201.2017.a03
    https://doi.org/10.12807/ti.109201.2017.a03 [Google Scholar]
  13. Holmgren, Helle, Hanne Søndergaard & Ask Elklit
    2003 Stress and coping in traumatised interpreters: A pilot study of refugee interpreters working for a humanitarian organisation. Intervention1 (3): 22–27.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Hubscher-Davidson, Severine
    2021 Ethical stress in translation and interpreting. InKaisa Koskinen & Nike K. Pokorn, eds.The Routledge handbook of translation and ethics. London: Routledge, pp.415–430. 10.4324/9781003127970‑31
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003127970-31 [Google Scholar]
  15. Inghilleri, Moira
    2005 Mediating zones of uncertainty: Interpreter agency, the interpreting habitus and political asylum adjudication. The Translator11 (1): 69–85. 10.1080/13556509.2005.10799190
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13556509.2005.10799190 [Google Scholar]
  16. Johnson, Julie E.
    2016 Effect of mindfulness training on interpretation exam performance in graduate students in interpreting. Unpublished EdD dissertation, University of San Francisco. https://repository.usfca.edu/diss/305
  17. 2022 Mindfulness training for conference interpreters. InMichaela Albl-Mikasa & Elisabet Tiselius, eds.The Routledge handbook of conference interpreting, pp.564–580. 10.4324/9780429297878‑48
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429297878-48 [Google Scholar]
  18. Kashdan, Todd B. & Jonathan Rottenberg
    2010 Psychological flexibility as a fundamental aspect of health. Clinical Psychology Review30 (7): 865–878. 10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.001 [Google Scholar]
  19. Killian, Kyle D.
    2008 Helping till it hurts? A multimethod study of compassion fatigue, burnout, and self-care in clinicians working with trauma survivors. Traumatology: An International Journal14 (2): 32–44. 10.1177/1534765608319083
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1534765608319083 [Google Scholar]
  20. Knodel, Rebekah K.
    2018 Coping with vicarious trauma in mental health interpreting. Journal of Interpretation26 (1): 1–23.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Lai, Miranda & Georgina Heydon
    2015 Vicarious trauma among interpreters. International Journal of Interpreter Education7 (1): Article 3. https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/ijie/vol7/iss1/3
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Mahyub-Rayaa, Bachir & Moulay-Lahssan Baya-Essayahi
    2021 Linguistic–cultural mediation in asylum and refugee settings and its emotional impact on Arabic–Spanish interpreters. European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education11 (4): 1280–1291. 10.3390/ejihpe11040093
    https://doi.org/10.3390/ejihpe11040093 [Google Scholar]
  23. Maslach, Christina
    1982Burnout: The cost of caring. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. McDowell, Liz, DeAnne K. Hilfinger Messias & Robin Dawson Estrada
    2011 The work of language interpretation in health care: Complex, challenging, exhausting, and often invisible. Journal of Transcultural Nursing22 (2): 137–147. 10.1177/1043659610395773
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1043659610395773 [Google Scholar]
  25. Mehus, Christopher J. & Emily H. Becher
    2016 Secondary traumatic stress, burnout, and compassion satisfaction in a sample of spoken-language interpreters. Traumatology: An International Journal22 (4): 249–254. 10.1037/trm0000023
    https://doi.org/10.1037/trm0000023 [Google Scholar]
  26. Mellinger, Christopher D.
    2020 Positionality in public service interpreting research. FITISPos International Journal7 (1): 92–109. 10.37536/FITISPos‑IJ.2020.7.1.250
    https://doi.org/10.37536/FITISPos-IJ.2020.7.1.250 [Google Scholar]
  27. 2022 Preparing informed users of language services in public service interpreting courses: Differentiated learning outcomes for a diverse student population. InRicardo Moratto & Defeng Li, eds.Global insights into public service interpreting: Theory, practice and training. London: Routledge, pp.171–183. 10.4324/9781003197027‑14
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003197027-14 [Google Scholar]
  28. Miller, Kenneth E., Zoe L. Martell, Linda Pazdirek, Melissa Caruth & Diana Lopez
    2005 The role of interpreters in psychotherapy with refugees: An exploratory study. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry75 (1): 27–39. 10.1037/0002‑9432.75.1.27
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0002-9432.75.1.27 [Google Scholar]
  29. Mikkelson, Holly
    2008 Evolving views of the court interpreter’s role: Between Scylla and Charybdis. InCarmen Valero Garcés & Anne Martin, eds.Crossing borders in community interpreting: Definitions and dilemmas. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp.81–97. 10.1075/btl.76.05mik
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.76.05mik [Google Scholar]
  30. Myers, Shannon B., Alison C. Sweeney, Victoria Popick, Kimberly Wesley, Amanda Bordfeld & Randy Fingerhut
    2012 Self-care practices and perceived stress levels among psychology graduate students. Training and Education in Professional Psychology6 (1): 55–66. 10.1037/a0026534
    https://doi.org/10.1037/a0026534 [Google Scholar]
  31. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
    National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 2008 Self-care Inventory. (https://www.nami.org/NAMI/media/Extranet-Education/HF15AR6SelfCare.pdf)
  32. Ndongo-Keller, Justine
    2015 Vicarious trauma and stress management. InHolly Mikkelson & Renée Jourdenais, eds.The Routledge handbook of interpreting. London: Routledge, pp.337–351.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Posluns, Kirsten & Terry Lynn Gall
    2020 Dear mental health practitioners, take care of yourselves: A literature review on self-care. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling421: 1–20. 10.1007/s10447‑019‑09382‑w
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10447-019-09382-w [Google Scholar]
  34. Rostad, F. G. & B. C. Long
    1996 Exercise as a coping strategy for stress: A review. International Journal of Sport Psychology27 (2): 197–222.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Rupert, Patricia A. & Jamie Scaletta Kent
    2007 Gender and work setting differences in career-sustaining behaviors and burnout among professional psychologists. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice38 (1): 88–96. 10.1037/0735‑7028.38.1.88
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0735-7028.38.1.88 [Google Scholar]
  36. Rupert, Patricia. A., Alisha O. Miller & Katherine E. Dorociak
    2015 Preventing burnout: What does the research tell us?Professional Psychology: Research and Practice46 (3): 168–174. 10.1037/a0039297
    https://doi.org/10.1037/a0039297 [Google Scholar]
  37. Santana, Mercedes C. & Nadya A. Fouad
    2017 Development and validation of a Self-Care Behavior Inventory. Training and Education in Professional Psychology11 (3): 140–145. 10.1037/tep0000142
    https://doi.org/10.1037/tep0000142 [Google Scholar]
  38. Searight, H. Russell & Barbara K. Searight
    2009 Working with foreign language interpreters: Recommendations for psychological practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice40 (5): 444–451. 10.1037/a0016788
    https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016788 [Google Scholar]
  39. Sultanić, Indira
    2021 Interpreting traumatic narratives of unaccompanied child migrants in the United States: Effects, challenges and strategies. Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series: Themes in Translation Studies201: 227–247. 10.52034/lanstts.v20i.601
    https://doi.org/10.52034/lanstts.v20i.601 [Google Scholar]
  40. Takeda, Kayoko & Masaru Yamada
    2019 ‘TI literacy’ for general undergraduate education. InDavid B. Sawyer, Frank Austermühl & Vanessa Enríquez Raído, eds.The evolving curriculum in interpreter and translator education: Stakeholder perspectives and voices. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp.53–73. 10.1075/ata.xix.03tak
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ata.xix.03tak [Google Scholar]
  41. Zenizo, Amy Lyn
    2013 Self-care in the field of interpreting. Master’s Thesis, Western Oregon University, Monmouth, Oregon. WOU Digital Commons.
    [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): community interpreting; coping strategies; self-care; vicarious trauma
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error