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Vicarious trauma is a phrase heard often in the victim service and medical professions. Crisis responders testify to the trauma their clients and patients experience and are routinely provided opportunities to release some of the emotional burden their work encompasses. - sprachenservice

Professional translators and interpreters act as language tools and so are expected to perform like machines. The very real nature from the interpreter's assignments has an physical and emotional impact that, if unaddressed, can significantly impair a person's ability to perform their job. Language professionals could find that they are completing their assignments on time, but that they are not able to leave behind the images of these client's experience. Whether transcribing a police interview, interpreting throughout a medical crisis, or translating a victim statement, language professionals are rarely given the opportunity to debrief after having a stressful event.

Research has revealed that when our brains are triggered by way of a dangerous event or trauma (either physical or emotional), the limbic system "hijacks" the brain temporarily. The left side from the brain shuts down and also the right side from the brain takes over. Unfortunately with an interpreter, language is controlled through the left brain. If an interpreter has enjoyed a similar event or feels empathy for that client, he or she may struggle with finding the appropriate words to interpret the client's experience. The interpreter may walk out of the appointment saying, "What just happened- I am normally so good at a few things i do?"

The outward symptoms of vicarious trauma, including anxiety, anger and self doubt, were relayed by interpreters and translators who were working on projects for the TI Center. Our translators reported feeling agitated and sad, reading their completed translations repeatedly, doubting themselves as well as their competency.

As a result, the TI Center staff, together with staff at the Denver Center for Crime Victims, began researching how they could help language professionals comprehend the impact of interpreting others' stress and trauma and recapture their energy for working with the public.

In response, the TI Center has launched a 6-hour workshop, entitled Health Enabling for Language Professionals (HELP). Participants will be taught how to cope with the emotional and physical challenges that you face being a language professional. Become familiar with how the brain and the entire body react to trauma then practice some proven stress management techniques. By the end of the workshop you'll be a stronger more positive person, both professionally and personally. - sprachenservice