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Social work with trauma survivors: collaboration with interpreters

Original Publication Date: December 15, 2014
Last Updated: March 27, 2023
Estimated Read Time: < 1 minute

By Berthold SM, Fischman Y. In Soc Work. 2014 Apr;59(2):103-10.

Scant attention has been given to the emotional plight, lack of training, and stressful working conditions of interpreters serving survivors of severe human-perpetrated trauma from different parts of the world. This article addresses the critical need for effective collaboration between social workers and interpreters when the provider and survivor do not speak the same language. The careful selection of interpreters; the training, support, and promotion of self-care of interpreters; the training needs for social workers related to their work with interpreters; and the impact of secondary trauma and organizational support on the work of social workers and interpreters are explored. Proposed curriculum components for training interpreters and the importance of therapy and ongoing supervision for interpreters are highlighted. It is essential to prepare interpreters and social workers for the various challenges they will face in their collaborative efforts to serve survivors of severe human-perpetrated trauma, and organizational support is vital to the success of this work.

Link is to abstract; full article is available for purchase.

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