Vicarious Trauma as Applied to the Professional Sign Language Interpreter

Proposal Type


Presenter Information

Jami MacdonaldFollow


Jerry Falwell Library, Terrace Conference Room A

Start Date

11-4-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

11-4-2015 2:20 PM

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Apr 11th, 2:00 PM Apr 11th, 2:20 PM

Vicarious Trauma as Applied to the Professional Sign Language Interpreter

Jerry Falwell Library, Terrace Conference Room A

This collected research and analysis will focus on vicarious trauma as applied to the professional Sign Language interpreter. Research has been conducted on how vicarious trauma is absorbed by and manifested in professionals who recurrently encounter trauma and distress. Analysis and response have lead to the implementation of protective measures including expanded training as well as support systems within various fields. Professionals in medicine, mental health, psychology, and law enforcement have benefited from this applied research. However, there is a professional whose spectrum of job assignments includes each and every one of these categories, who has been no more than a shadow in the discussion of vicarious trauma: the professional interpreter.

Though trained toward neutrality, Sign Language interpreters are widely impacted by vicarious trauma, the extent to which depends on both the nature of the assignment and the susceptibility of the interpreter. The lacking application of this discussion of vicarious trauma to professional Sign Language interpreters has resulted in a dearth of effective preventative strategies and support systems within the field. Such is the motive of pursuit in this research application project. Giving voice to this discussion, including an overview of impact and current coping strategies, will conclude in practical application of protective measures and support strategies that can be implemented in the profession.