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Translation & Interpreting Training Services

Dealing with Vicarious Trauma

Vicarious trauma refers to the emotional residue resulting from exposure to others’ traumatic experiences. It often affects those in helping professions, leading to profound psychological effects. Understanding and managing this phenomenon is critical for maintaining the well-being of professionals who routinely engage with trauma.


This course is intended for interpreters working in any field, including legal, medical, social services, and mental health, where they may be exposed to traumatic content. By equipping interpreters with the knowledge and skills to recognize and address vicarious trauma, this course aims to promote interpreter well-being, job satisfaction, and the quality of interpretation services provided.

Interpreters working in emotionally charged and high-stress environments, such as courtrooms, hospitals, and social service agencies, are often exposed to traumatic content through their work. Vicarious trauma, also known as secondary trauma, can have profound effects on interpreters’ mental and emotional well-being if not properly addressed. This course is designed to provide interpreters with the knowledge, skills, and resources to recognize, cope with, and mitigate the impacts of vicarious trauma in their professional lives.

Throughout this course, participants will explore the nature of vicarious trauma and its prevalence among interpreters. They will learn about the signs and symptoms of vicarious trauma, as well as its potential effects on physical health, mental health, and job performance. Participants will also examine strategies for self-care, boundary-setting, and seeking support to mitigate the negative effects of vicarious trauma.


  1. Understand the concept of vicarious trauma and its impact on interpreters’ well-being.
  2. Recognize the signs and symptoms of vicarious trauma in oneself and others.
  3. Explore the ethical and professional implications of vicarious trauma for interpreters.
  4. Develop coping strategies and self-care practices to prevent and address vicarious trauma.
  5. Learn techniques for setting boundaries and managing emotional triggers during interpretation assignments.
  6. Identify resources and support systems available for interpreters dealing with vicarious trauma.
  7. Reflect on personal experiences and challenges related to vicarious trauma through case studies and group discussions.


  • I. Understanding Vicarious Trauma
    • A. Definition and concept of vicarious trauma
    • B. Overview of how interpreters are exposed to traumatic content
    • C. Prevalence and impact of vicarious trauma on interpreters’ mental and emotional well-being
  • II. Signs and Symptoms of Vicarious Trauma
    • A. Recognizing common signs and symptoms of vicarious trauma
    • B. Understanding the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of vicarious trauma
    • C. Case studies and scenarios illustrating the manifestation of vicarious trauma in interpreters
  • III. Ethical and Professional Implications
    • A. Discussion on the ethical responsibility of interpreters to address vicarious trauma
    • B. Impact of vicarious trauma on interpreter performance and professional conduct
    • C. Strategies for maintaining professionalism and integrity while coping with vicarious trauma
  • IV. Coping Strategies and Self-Care Practices
    • A. Developing self-awareness and self-monitoring techniques to recognize vicarious trauma triggers
    • B. Exploring coping mechanisms and self-care practices to manage stress and mitigate the effects of vicarious trauma
    • C. Incorporating mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and stress management strategies into daily routines
  • V. Setting Boundaries and Managing Emotional Triggers
    • A. Techniques for setting boundaries in interpretation assignments to minimize exposure to traumatic content
    • B. Strategies for managing emotional triggers and maintaining emotional regulation during interpretation
    • C. Role-playing exercises and simulations to practice boundary-setting and emotional management techniques
  • VI. Seeking Support and Resources
    • A. Identifying support systems and resources available for interpreters dealing with vicarious trauma
    • B. Exploring peer support networks, supervision, counseling services, and professional development opportunities
    • C. Discussion on the importance of reaching out for help and seeking support when experiencing vicarious trauma

This course consists of a presentation, readings, and a quiz. Click on the title below to start the lesson: