The impact of emotional and psychological factors on public service interpreters: Preliminary studies


  • Carmen Valero Garcés Universidad de Alcalá de Henares


community interpreting, emotional impact, psychological impact, public service interpreting and translation, stress, training


The impact of psychological and emotional factors on public service interpreters is widely accepted by those working in the field, yet studies on the matter remain sparse. Drawing on research conducted in the early 21st century, this paper presents various preliminary studies (Master theses) by students of the European Masters in Intercultural Communication, Public Service Interpreting and Translation at the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares (Madrid, Spain). The main objective of the current review is to determine whether conclusions from previous research are reproducible in new contexts (in particular, the context explored is Spain in the second decade of the 21st century). The subject matter of the studies includes challenges facing non-professional interpreters in different settings; the influence of emotional and psychological factors on conference interpreters, public service interpreters and public service interpreting (PSI) students; interpreting in mental health; and burnout syndrome in PSI. Data for the research has been drawn from interviews and questionnaires. A review of past research on PSI illustrates that interpreters in public services perform their task in challenging settings that are fraught with delicate content, that they are exposed to significant psychological and emotional stress, are expected to perform numerous occupational tasks, and finally, that they are subjected to ever-changing physical, psychological and environmental conditions. The subsequent review of more recent research lends further credibility to past findings and furthermore highlights the need for training in coping with the situations and tensions that have been demonstrated to affect the PSI interpreter’s work.