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Trauma-informed interpreting

This needs assessment report was published by VOL itself in 2012. It represents the results of 15 focus groups held across the United States, two national surveys and relevant research.

VOL Needs Assessment Report final

The following bibliography is taken directly from the draft training manual for HEALING VOICES: Interpreting for Survivors of Torture, War Trauma and Sexual Violence. While some articles are related to torture and refugees, others address interpreting for mental health and major trauma.

Bibliography, Healing Voices

The following bibliography for mental health interpreting and sign language was compiled by Ginger Thompson, published by The College of St. Catherine, and funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services. Many thanks to Laurie Swabey for submitting!

The following bibliography below on vicarious trauma comes from the book referenced there. The book is:

Laurie Swabey and Karen Malcolm (2012). In Our Hands: Educating Healthcare Interpreters (The Interpreter Education Series, Vol. 5)


Akinsulure-Smith, A. M. (2007). The use of interpreters with survivors of torture, war, and refugee trauma. E. Smith, A. S. Keller, &amp D. W. Lhewa (Eds.), “…Like a Refugee Camp on First Avenue”: Insights and Experiences from the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture (pp.83-105), New York City: Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture.

Bambaren-Call, AnaMaria, Bancroft, Marjory, Goodfriend-Koven, Nora, Hanscom, Karen, Kelly, Nataly, Lewis, Virginia, Roat, Cynthia, Robinson, Liliya and Rubio-Fitzpatrick, Lourdes (2012). Interpreting Compassion: A Needs Assessment Report on Interpreting for Survivors of Torture, War Trauma and Sexual Violence. Columbia, MD: The Voice of Love.

Becker, Rise and Bowles, Robin (2001). Stuck in the middle: Debriefing for interpreters. NSW Australia: website of STARTTS (NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors). http://www.startts.org.au/default.aspx?id=292

Bontempo, K., & Napier, J. (2011). Evaluating emotional stability as a predictor of interpreter competence and aptitude for interpreting. In M. Shlesinger & F. Pochhacker (Eds.), Aptitude for Interpreting: Special Issue of Interpreting, 13(1), 85–105.

Bot, H. (2005). Dialogue interpreting in mental health care. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi.

Brune, F., Eiroá-Orosa, J., Fischer-Ortman, J., Delijaj B., and Haasen, C (2011). Intermediated communication by interpreters in psychotherapy with traumatized refugees. International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 1-8. Available at http://uab.academia.edu/FranciscoJos%C3%A9EiroaOrosa/Papers/869112/Intermediated_communication_by_interpreters_in_psychotherapy_with_traumatized_refugees

Figley CR (ed). Compassion fatigue: Coping with traumatic stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized. New York, NY: Bruner/Mazel; 1995.

Haenel, F. (1997). Aspects and problems associated with the use of interpreters in psychotherapy of victims of torture. Torture, 7 (3), 68–71.

Harvey, Michael A. (2001). The hazards of empathy: Vicarious trauma of interpreters for the Deaf. http://www.michaelharvey-phd.com/pages/hazards.htm.

Kurz, I. (2003). Physiological stress during simultaneous interpreting: A comparison of experts and novices. Interpreters’ Newsletter 12, 51–67. Edizioni Università di Trieste (EUT).

Loutan, L., Farinelli,T. and Pampallona, S. (1999). “Medical interpreters have feelings too.” Sozial und Präventivmedizin (44): 280-282.

McCann I, Pearlman L. (1990). Vicarious traumatization: A framework for understanding the psychological effects of working with victims. Journal of Traumatic Stress. 3(1):131-149.

Miller, K. E., Martell, Z. L., Pazdirek, L., Caruth, M., & Lopez, D. (2005). The role of interpreters in psychotherapy with refugees: An exploratory study. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 75, 27-39.

RCC, Dublin Rape Crisis Center (2008). Interpreting in Situations of Sexual Violence and Other Trauma: A Handbook for Community Interpreters. Dublin: RCC.

Schlesinger, Yael (2005). Vicarious traumatization among interpreters who work with torture survivors and their therapists. PhD dissertation published. Chicago: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Splevins, Katie A., Cohen, Keren, Joseph, Stephen, Murray, Craig, and Bowley, Jake (2012). Vicarious posttraumatic growth among interpreters. Qualitative Health Research, 22:250-262

STADV (2008). Good Practice Checklist for Interpreters Working with Domestic Violence Situations. London, UK: Standing Together Against Domestic Violence.

Tribe, Rachel (2007). Working with interpreters. The Psychologist, 20(3):159-61

Valero-Garcés, Carmen (2005). Emotional and psychological effects on interpreters in public services: A critical factor to keep in mind. Translation Journal, 9(3). http://translationjournal.net/journal//33ips.htm


Bot, H. (2005). Dialogue interpreting in mental health care. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi.

RCC, Dublin Rape Crisis Center (2008). Interpreting in Situations of Sexual Violence and Other Trauma: A Handbook for Community Interpreters. Dublin: RCC.


Torture treatment programs

The National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs offers a list of torture treatment programs in the U.S.: Go there now »

The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT): Go there now »

Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (ASTT), whose Executive Director, Karen Hanscom, PhD, is the co-founder of The Voice of Love: Go there now »

Vicarious trauma and interpreters

Effects of Client Trauma on Interpreters: An Exploratory Study of Vicarious Trauma


Emotional and Psychological Effects on Interpreters in Public Services

Vicarious Post-Traumatic Growth Among Interpreters

Vicarious Trauma and the Professional Interpreter

Peer Support and Consultation Project for Interpreters: A Model for Supporting the Well-Being of Interpreters who Practice in Mental Health Settings

Vicarious Trauma in Interpreting

Vicarious Trauma Among Sign Language Interpreters

Self-Care in the Field of Interpreting

Shielding Yourself From the Perils of Empathy: The Case of Sign Language Interpreters

Mental Health Settings: Are Sign Language Interpreters at Risk?

Vicarious Trauma Affecting Interpreters and Translators

Assorted training modules related to vicarious trauma

Other resources

Coming soon…