“It Breaks My Heart” - Interpreting for Trauma

Domestic violence… Sexual assault… Child abuse… Refugees… Every day interpreters witness suffering and interpret it. Who is preparing them to cope? Are medical and para-medical providers aware of what to expect when working with interpreters in these situations?

This one-day workshop focuses on specific techniques, strategies and self-care practices for interpreters who encounter trauma in any setting, and on cultural competence in victim services interpreting. The workshop will highlight mental health, medical and legal services; the techniques explored can easily be applied to schools and social service settings, including strategies for cultural mediation. This workshop is also geared to bilingual staff and providers working with trauma.

 Through discussion, film vignettes, activities and role plays, interpreters will plunge into the field of victim services. By exploring how they can interpret effectively without re-traumatizing the survivor, interpreters will learn the value of professional boundaries. The day will conclude with a spotlight on interpreter stress and vicarious trauma, with interpreters building their own self-care plan using "SMART" objectives.


Learning objectives

After completing this workshop, interpreters and bilingual staff will be able to:

  • Discuss how to interpret effectively for trauma survivors, with a special focus on domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
  • Practice techniques for interpreting traumatic content that promote accuracy, avoid re-traumatizing the survivor and respect survivor autonomy.
  • Develop a plan to address long-term wellness and self-care strategies to practice before, during and after the assignment.

Bilingual staff and providers will be able to:

  • Identify how interpreters contribute to the successful outcome of the encounters when trauma is present.
  • Recognize why setting time for briefing and debriefing with the interpreter is such a meaningful and essential component of the encounter.
  • Understand the elements of cultural competence and cultural mediation when working with LEP individuals needing interpreting.

Registration is final. No Refund.

Credit Hours for Continuing Education

The Colorado Judicial Department, Office of Language Access                     7 CE

Commission for the Certification of Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI)           7 CEAP                                                                                               

National Board for the Certification of Healthcare Interpreters (NBCMI)   in progress