It Breaks My Heart: Interpreting for Trauma

A Program of Cross-Cultural Communications, LLC


Every day interpreters witness terrible suffering in hospitals, schools and social services.

Who is preparing them to cope?

About It Breaks My Heart: Interpreting for Trauma

This two-day workshop focuses on specific techniques, strategies and self-care practices for interpreters who encounter trauma in any setting. The workshop will highlight mental health, medical and legal services. The techniques explored can be applied to healthcare, schools and social service settings.


Through discussion, film vignettes, activities and role plays, interpreters will plunge into the field of victim services. By exploring how they can interpret effectively without re-traumatizing the survivor, interpreters will learn the value of professional boundaries. The workshop concludes with a half-day module on interpreter stress, vicarious trauma and self care.  Read a detailed overview of the workshop here .


This program includes a certificate and is approved by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters for 14 CCHI CE hours, by the Washington State Dept. of Social and Health Services for 5 DSHS CECs, by the Maryland Court Interpreter Program for 14 CE credits, by the Pennsylvania Interpreter Certification Program (ICP) for 12 CEUs and by the American Translators Association for 10 ATA CEPs.

Our next session will be held Fall 2017, exact dates to be determined.

Find more information here.


After completing this workshop, interpreters will be able to:


    Define victim services, domestic violence, gender-based violence and sexual assault.

    Discuss how to interpret effectively for trauma survivors.

    Practice techniques for interpreting trauma that will promote accuracy, avoid re-traumatizing the survivor and respect survivor autonomy.

    Develop a plan to address long-term wellness and self-care.


Each participant will be provided with a print copy of the following materials, authored by national experts in the field with the contributions of more than 20 victim service providers in Washington, DC.


 -- Breaking Silence: Interpreting for Victim Services (training manual of 310 pp

 -- Breaking Silence: Interpreting for Victim Services—
       A Workbook of Role Plays and Exercises (96 pp)



Note: The development of this innovative program, created by Cross-Cultural Communications, was funded by the DC Office of Victim Services.


Cross-Cultural Communications

10015 Old Columbia Rd.,

Suite B-215

Columbia, MD



Phone: 410-312-5599


Email: Click here

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About Cross-Cultural Communications

Cross-Cultural Communications is the only national training agency in the U.S. devoted to community interpreting and cultural competence. It is also the only organization that licenses community interpreter trainers across the U.S. and in other countries. For more information about Cross-Cultural Communications please visit