Interpreting can be incredibly rewarding work, especially when aiding people at their most vulnerable or in considerably traumatic situations. However, just as the
work can be rewarding, it can also take a serious emotional and physiological toll on the interpreter. Because it is the interpreter’s duty to remain calm and neutral while working, it might be hard to believe that they can sometimes be seriously affected by what they are interpreting, but the truth is it’s perfectly normal.
Feelings of depression and/or anxiety brought on by working with traumatized people have been given the name vicarious trauma, or VT. People of varying
professions can experience VT, namely social workers, healthcare providers, and therapists, but interpreters are in a position unique to all the rest in that they not only may witness trauma, but also have information passed through them as they interpret for others.