This site is no longer active. Looking for a conference interpreter? For news, events, contacts and any other information on conference interpreting, please visit us at


Or maybe they don't need to, and that's why they relish being conference interpreters?

asked 16 Oct '11, 20:19

silvia-c's gravatar image


edited 16 Oct '11, 23:28

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

I recently co-published a chapter on educating interpreters about the risk of vicarious traumatisation, and a key aspect of the chapter was a detailed description of the range of positive coping strategies that could be employed by interpreters. The image that appears in the chapter is a nice summary of some of the positive coping strategies, although they aren’t all interpreting-specific. There are some very practical interpreter-specific strategies outlined in the chapter that don’t appear in the image.

I’ve posted the image re: positive coping strategies to a temporary site here if interested in viewing:

Feel free to contact me on if you would like more information.

permanent link

answered 14 Apr '12, 01:58

KarenB's gravatar image


Interesting question! I just happened to read a blog post (in German) called Wie Runterkommen? by Dolmetscher-Berlin that looks at how interpreters deal with stress - and in particular, how they come down off of the adrenaline high that they require for their work. In the comments section, most gave the typical answers: hot baths, relaxing music, etc. - which shows that we interpreters are in some ways not very different from other mortals!

The Interpreting Journal Club, which is an online Twitter-based discussion group, looked at stress in one of its first sessions. They discussed an academic paper on interpreting and stress on the basis of a number of discussion points, and the transcripts of the discussion show, again, that interpreters use the same ways as most other people to deal with stress: yoga, breathing techniques, etc.

This whole idea that interpreters thrive on stress is also addressed briefly in the discussion, as you'll see if you read it.

As for how to recover from travel-related fatigue, there's only one way that works for me: staying home! I try to avoid back-to-back trips, since I always need a few days at home to rest and gather my strength for the next trip out. When I can't avoid it, and have to take two or three trips in quick succession, I find I am really run-down afterward and need extra time to recover (and I sometimes even fall ill).

Hope that helps!

permanent link

answered 18 Oct '11, 23:03

Michelle's gravatar image


Whilst still at uni a colleague of mine once said: "I want to have kids - all interpreters who don't have kids seem to get a bit whacky in the head sooner or later."

Which I find an utterly unscientific but interesting theory: having kids and/or a life outside of interpreting may help. (I don't have any children of my own but I find colleagues who do rather easy-going. Then again: In theory they should be exposed to more stress... interpreters seem to be strange beasts, indeed) oops - feeling slightly dizzy in the head:)


My apologies for the slightly long-winded comment. I guess the short answer to the question would be: My (second-hand) experience is that children appear to be one of the more "potent antidotes" to the fallout from stressful assignments.

permanent link

answered 14 Apr '12, 03:39

Tanja's gravatar image


I think it's a bit of both- there are certainly aspects to the job that I love which absolutely horrify my non-interpreting friends. The travel, the crazy schedules, never working in the same place, etc... I love all of that but recognize it's not for everyone. When we were in training they talked about this a lot, and there were several people who successfully completed our MA who turned around and found different jobs, because this life just wasn't what they wanted, after all. So yes, there's a bit of self-selection going on.

As far as the rest- yes, the same things that some of us love about the job are also very stressful, to say nothing of disturbing material, performance anxiety, etc. A lot of interpreters are anxious people. In training they'd always warn us about high levels of alcoholism- but among the younger generation, at least, I don't see this. Maybe all those anti-alcohol programs they gave us in school worked.

Once I figure out how we de-stress, I'll let you know.

permanent link

answered 07 Oct '17, 11:07

InesdC's gravatar image


Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 16 Oct '11, 20:19

question was seen: 8,834 times

last updated: 08 Nov '17, 00:27

powered by OSQA