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Abstract

This collected research and analysis will focus on vicarious trauma as applied to the experience of the professional Sign Language interpreter. Sign Language interpreters work in a vast scope of different settings where there can be a high risk of exposure to traumatic events or content and where the staffed professionals are equipped with training and support services. Sign Language interpreters do not have access to training or support services for managing vicarious trauma, though they are widely impacted by it. The extent of impact depends on the nature of the assignment as well as the susceptibility of the interpreter. Sign Language interpreters face a unique risk due to the nature of a dual-mode interpretation process, majority status struggle, and the required strict adherence to confidentiality through their Code of Professional Conduct. The lacking discussion of vicarious trauma to professional Sign Language interpreters has resulted in a dearth of effective preventative strategies and support systems within the field. This deficiency has resulted in positive and negative consequences of interpreters self-discovering active and inactive coping strategies. The overview of impact and current coping strategies will conclude that the addition of interpreter training and education on vicarious trauma, interpreter self-analysis, and colleague support groups would be valuable to the profession.

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