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I am currently developing a proposal for a TV documentary on secondary/vicarious traumatisation of interpreters working in conflict-related settings. I would be keen to have as much input from practising interpreters as possible in developing the proposal. Can you contribute?

asked 17 Jul '12, 05:05

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Martyn Swain

edited 17 Jul '12, 05:19

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Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. I will follow up on all your suggestions. I hope to have a progress report for you soon.

(18 Jul '12, 06:55) Martyn Swain

You may be interested to contact David Bernet from Atmosfilm Berlin who filmed the Whisperers a few years ago. He had a long interview with Pat vander Elst, one of the Nuremberg interpreters who has since passed away.

I would also get in touch with colleagues who interpreted for the international criminal courts in recent years, but I'm sure you'll have thought of that.

Now, I have a hunch that conference interpreters working simultaneously, sheltered away in a sound-proof booth and listening to witnesses over headphones, may have a much lower risk of vicarious traumatisation than other interpreters who have to work in close physical proximity to victims or offenders.

Colleagues accompanying CPT missions on prison visits would be able to tell you more about that.

And of course, anyone with some experience as a community, public service, medical or military interpreter will generally be more exposed than conference interpreters who usually operate in very controlled environments.

I wish you every success with your documentary and hope that many interpreters reading this will contribute.

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answered 17 Jul '12, 08:17

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Vincent Buck

edited 17 Jul '12, 08:23

Dear Martyn,

Last Friday, Erika Levy, trained psychologist and conference interpreter, covered the topic of vicarious traumatisation in the "Interpreter for Interpreters" workshop in Berlin. You may want to contact her. I'm sure she can provide you further information.

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answered 17 Jul '12, 05:25

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edited 17 Jul '12, 05:36

Hi Martyn, you've probably contacted the psy who was at the Hague seminar with us a couple of years ago.

Our own project has had difficulty in contacting 'terps who worked for the military in Iraq or Afghanistan but The List Project in the States might help you contact some.

Trawling thru some of our articles on the FB page you'll also find the names of a few journalists who have managed to interview some of the former 'terps for the military who are now in Europe.

I hope some of them may read this page and get in touch with you. We can also put a message on our FB page for you.

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answered 17 Jul '12, 12:43

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answered 17 Jul '12, 19:55

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Sorry for the late answer, but in case you're still looking you may want to contact Lionel Dersot at He interpreted in the areas of Fukushima after the tsunami. Not sure about traumatisations, but from what I understand it was an overwhelming experience.

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answered 19 Oct '12, 17:09

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question asked: 17 Jul '12, 05:05

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