This article aims to see how traumatic reactions may influence public service interpreters in their interpreting performance. It looks at relevant research results and refers to reflective reports and written examinations about secondary traumatic stress and other psychological reactions written by interpreters that attended a one-semester study programme in public service interpreting at Telemark University College in 2004.
The article is divided into three parts starting with a definition of the key concept used to describe traumatic reactions that may arise when meeting traumatised people. Thereafter it briefly presents neurophysiologic research results that show a relation between emotional reactions and the interpreting process.
Part two describes the content of the above mentioned one semester programme in interpreting that included the topic of interpreting in emotional challenging situations and part three connects the students’ reflections to the key concepts around traumatic reactions and analyses how this topic may be integrated in interpreting studies.