Episode 2

Stress and Burnout


2 March 2016

52 mins 20 secs

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About this Episode

In the second instalment of our podcast, we talk about stress and burnout among interpreters.

Intro/outro music: "Quit Bitching" by Broke For Free (http://brokeforfree.com/)

Transcript to read and contribute to

Episode Links

  • The AIIC Workload Study - Executive Summary — AIIC commissioned a Workload Study on interpreter stress and burnout which was completed in December 2001. The study investigated four sets of parameters: psychological, physiological, physical and performance as well as the interaction between them. The psychological aspects were examined via a mail survey questionnaire addressed to a representative sample of freelancers and all permanent members (607 replies, 41% response rate) and a booth survey (all participants in the physiological study). The physiological data collected was blood pressure, heart rate and salivary cortisol levels in a sample of 48 interpreters who wore monitors over a 24 hour period. The physical data measured was booth size, CO2 and oxygen levels, relative humidity, temperature, lighting intensity, ventilation and fresh air flow, covering a sample of 47 booths (23 mobile, 24 permanent) in which the subjects in the physiological survey were working. The performance data was constituted by 6 segments of two minutes each, recorded at the beginning and end of an interpreter’s turns at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the working day. The physical measurements revealed that CO2 and temperature levels were nearly all above ISO standards and that humidity levels fell outside the ranges set by the standards. Fresh air throughput is insufficient.
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness | TED Talk | TED.com — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life worth living?" Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of "flow."
  • Vicarious traumatization - Wikipedia
  • What are Communities of Practice? — I seem to be going on and on about Communities of Practice (CoP). But I can already hear your questions. What are these so important-much-talked-about-in-your-blog communities of practice? Why do you spend so much energy on communities of practice? What difference do they make? A PhD about Communities of Practice for Interpreting? Are you sure?
  • The Pros and Cons of Dummy-boothing, or does your Brain need tricking? | Tatiana Kaplun
  • Robyn Dean on clinical supervision for interpreting (page 62)
  • Nachwuchsprogramm: Verband der Konferenzdolmetscher im BDÜ e.V.
  • Interpreters: We Need To Talk — There’s a silent contagion that threatens to kill my profession. It infects both new interpreters, who should be immune and more experienced interpreters, who should know better. It neuters conversation, strangles mental health and suffocates any hope of recognition. It goes by a camouflaged misnomer, “confidentiality.”
  • Self-Care and the Interpreter In-Training — So you’ve decided to be an interpreter. Chances are, if you are as detail-oriented and as much of a perfectionist as most of us are, this will be you at one point. Or maybe every single day for the first two weeks of your training programme. (Only on the inside, Paula! Conceal, don’t feel.) I’m here to say something that we’re all thinking: it’s not just you. It’s very likely that anyone who enters highly demanding training programmes like the European Master’s in Conference Interpreting (EMCI) will reach a state of utter despair. I say very likely, because I know there are people out there who study this programme with not an ounce of stress. (I will find you. I will shake your hands. I will steal your superpower.)
  • Code of professional ethics (2012 version)
  • Stress Busters for Interpreters (And Everyone Else) — If the first step in managing stress is to understand it, the second step is to give yourself permission to focus on yourself to deal with it

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