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Abstract

Public service interpreters in Australia work in a range of areas including welfare, health, education and criminal justice. Some of their assignments contain traumatic client material, which may be confrontational, upsetting or off-putting for an interpreter, potentially impacting on their perceived cognitive processes and emotions during and after the interpreting assignment. Through a large-scale online survey of 271 practicing interpreters in Victoria, Australia, the authors explore the extent of exposure to traumatic client material, interpreters’ ways of coping with such material, and how institutional care and self-care are administered, if they are at all. The findings of the survey are presented in this article and the implications for public service interpreters are discussed from an occupational health and safety perspective. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future research are outlined.

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