When it comes to professional interpreting, specialization matters. You need someone who’s not only a trained interpreter, but has a deep knowledge of the field they work in. Just as you wouldn’t hire a lawyer to treat your illness, you wouldn’t bring a legal interpreter to a medical exam. So, what is a community interpreter and when would you need one?


Types of Community Interpreting   


Community interpreting is an umbrella term for interpreting services that are performed in community-based settings. It includes medical, legal, educational, and other types of social services interpreting.


Like most professional interpreters, community interpreters often have specialized training in one or more fields. For example, someone can be both a community interpreter and a certified medical interpreter or legal interpreter. However, there is a distinction between someone who has interpreter training in a given field and a community interpreter.


Community interpreters typically work with immigrants, migrants, and refugees who need assistance navigating public services. That means community interpreters must have a deep understanding of how a system works—in addition to their field of expertise. For example, a community medical interpreter may work with refugees who need to apply for free or low-cost medical care.


When Do You Need a Community Interpreter?


As noted above, you’ll typically need to hire a community interpreter when someone needs help navigating public services. Yet that’s not the only reason you may want to work with one. Community interpreters have an in-depth knowledge of the local culture, which can be a major advantage in certain scenarios.


Let’s use legal interpreting as an example. It’s unlikely that a legal interpreter in San Francisco will understand the relationship that a Los Angeles immigrant community has with local law enforcement. But a community interpreter may know that people in the area distrust the police, and can help improve cooperation during an investigation.


Whether or not you decide to work with a community interpreter will depend on your needs and how quickly you need access to one. When it’s an emergency or you need someone on short notice, it may be best to hire a remote interpreter, regardless of their location.


How Boostlingo Can Help


As you can see, finding the right interpreter can be a difficult task. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever with Boostlingo. When you use our interpretation platform, you can instantly connect with an interpreter over-the-phone, via video remote, or schedule an onsite appointment. Plus, you’ll gain access to the Boostlingo Professional Interpreter Network (BPIN) of interpreters who speak over 200 languages.


Think Boostlingo may be right for you? Start your free trial today!

With the recent explosion of podcasts, there’s something out there for everyone. So, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty to choose from when it comes to the language industry. The only trouble is finding ones you want to tune into week after week. That’s why we put together a round up to get you started.


Whether you’re an interpreter, industry professional, or an all-around language lover, here are seven podcasts that are worth a listen.


  1. The ATA Podcast


The American Translators Association’s official podcast offers an inside look at the organization’s events, professional development programs, and industry trends. Recent topics include court interpreting, socially distanced school outreach, and the ATA Honors and Awards program.


Where to Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Audible


  1. Brand the Interpreter


Hosted by Mireya Pérez, a community interpreter and brand enthusiast, this podcast features stories of language professionals from around the world. Recent topics include video game localization, self-imposed limitations, and tips for conference interpreting.


Where to Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Audible


  1. Globally Speaking


Created by localization professionals, this podcast explores how language, society, and business intersect. Recent topics include hyper-personalization in marketing, opening China to the global market, and the impact of Tinder on worldwide dating.


Where to Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts


  1. Lexicon Valley


Lexicon Valley is all about language. Hosted by linguist John McWhorter, it features everything from pet peeves to neurolinguistics. Recent topics include the complexities of translation, gendered languages, and the origin of English.


Where to Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Audible


  1. SlatorPod


Brought to you by Slator.com, this podcast covers news and trends in translation, localization, and language technology. Recent topics include localization at Canva, speech translation, and multilingual meetings.


Where to Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Audible


  1. Troublesome Terps


This roundtable-style podcast covers topics related to interpreting and the wider world of languages. Recent topics include how interpreters think, new ways of working, and interpreting in conflict zones.


Where to Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts


  1. A Way with Words


Hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, this global call-in podcast features conversations on linguistics, regional dialects, expressions, word origins, and so much more. Recent topics include the origin of the word “hipster”, conversational styles, and the history of human speech.


Where to Listen: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts



Have a favorite language podcast you’d like to recommend? Let us know in the comments!

Vicarious trauma, also known as secondary trauma, is a well-known occupational hazard among workers in helping professions. Although it’s typically associated with counselors and therapists, rescue workers, police officers, healthcare workers, and legal professionals are all considered at risk. Yet interpreters are often overlooked when it comes to evaluating the effects of vicarious trauma. That means they may have more trouble finding the support and resources they need to address it.


In this article, we delve into what causes vicarious trauma, why interpreters are at risk, and how to prevent it.


What Is Vicarious Trauma?


Vicarious trauma is a type of mental trauma that can occur when someone is indirectly exposed to a traumatic event through a first-hand account. A few common signs include:


  • Constant fatigue
  • Hypersensitivity to emotionally-charged material
  • Intrusive thoughts and imagery related to traumatic events
  • Engaging in behaviors to escape (overeating, drinking alcohol, shopping, etc.)


Anyone who has a close relationship with someone who has been traumatized can experience vicarious trauma. However, people who work in helping professions are at a greater risk due to their repeated exposure to traumatic stories.


Why Interpreters Are at Risk


Unlike other professionals, interpreters are tasked with restating the facts as closely as possible in another language. And that includes speaking in first person. For example, if someone is reporting a robbery, the interpreter would say, “I was robbed” instead of saying “She was robbed.” This can inadvertently put an interpreter into the mindset of the victim.


Legal and medical interpreters are at a higher risk of experiencing vicarious trauma because they need to recount stories from refugees, victims of crimes, and medical patients.


How to Prevent Vicarious Trauma


While it’s not always possible to prevent it, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. These include:


  • Scheduling time for regular self-care.
  • Balancing the types of assignments you take on to avoid burnout.
  • Speaking with a therapist


Undergoing training to learn interpreter-specific techniques can also be beneficial, which is why we’ve included a list of resources that may help.


Resources for Interpreters


American Sign Language (ASL):



Medical Interpreting



Legal Interpreting



Have any other recommendations? Let us know in the comments!