Alternative Title

Effects of vicarious traumatization on mental health interpreters who work with refugees

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


Secondary traumatic stress, Social work with immigrants-Psychological aspects, Psychotherapists-Mental health, Translators-Mental health, Refugees-Mental health services, Vicarious traumatization, Interpretation, Mental health care, Refugees, Interpreters


This study aimed to add to the available literature on vicarious traumatization among mental healthcare interpreters who work with refugees. I attempted to further this research by interviewing 12 mental health interpreters who work with refugee clients in order to ascertain their experiences with vicarious traumatization. All participants interviewed presented with physical and/or psychological symptoms associated with vicarious traumatization, although they were unfamiliar with the concept of vicarious traumatization itself. Participants’ reactions to working with traumatized clients manifested in various physical and psychological ways and ranged in severity. Previous literature suggests that symptoms of vicarious traumatization are exacerbated when interpreters use certain interpretation methods, are unable to debrief with supervisors or peers, and/or have difficulty separating their personal and professional lives. The interpreters surveyed expressed dissatisfaction in each of these areas. These findings have strong implications for the field of interpreter education and agency policies regarding supervision and support for interpreters.




ii, 55 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 39-44)

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