The Linguist

The Linguist 57,2 – April/May 2018

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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28 The Linguist Vol/57 No/2 2018 OPINION & COMMENT The stigma of burnout As a community and public services interpreter and translator, I often encounter people who are nervous and scared, lonesome and sad. The key priority for us, as professionals, is to stick to the conduct of our jobs – to be fully impartial, accurate and confidential. But is it possible, even for the most prepared and motivated individuals, to keep our minds unceasingly open, fresh and clear enough to apply our services properly? At the end of an assignment, we do not usually have any feedback, or find out what effectively. The linguistic aspect of an interpreter's work is widely understood, but it is also important to be emotionally balanced, patient, empathetic, communicative and social; to be thoroughly aware and aligned to the ethical and moral rules of the cultures we work with; and to convey a positive attitude and tolerance. When things go wrong A heavy workload with long hours can make it difficult for interpreters to realise when something is wrong. Exhaustion and stress can lead to apathy, a lack of motivation and negative feelings associated with each element of the work (colleagues, clients, location). This syndrome was first Is burnout the interpreter's curse? How to avoid, identify and cope with it when it happens GEORGE DIMITROV happens to the people we work with. Yet many cases stay with us: a family making the decision to withdraw life support from a man in his 50s who was hit by a car; a woman at a detention centre asking for asylum because she is a victim of religious persecution; a 5-year-old, held down by her mother (as instructed by medical staff) while being given an anaesthetic; a man detained in custody for ordering an item that he didn't know was illegal in the UK; a man in his 40s turning to humour as he dies of cancer. Psychologists tell us that self-reflection enables us to observe and control our own behaviour. The more we develop this facility, the more able we are to do our jobs

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