Stress and Burnout in Video Relay Service (VRS) Interpreting
Anecdotally, video relay service (VRS) interpreters experience high levels of stress in their work; however, there have been few empirical studies published to date on this topic. This study shows that VRS interpreters experience high levels of stress that can lead to job burnout and high turnover in the VRS industry. This article begins by discussing the VRS industry and the topic of burnout in the workforce. Survey results from individuals within the VRS industry (n = 424) illuminate interpreters’ experiences with stress and burnout in VRS interpreting and provide ideas about solutions for this problem. Lastly, there is a discussion of the implications of burnout as well as suggestions for the four primary players in VRS interpreting work: the VRS interpreters, call center managers, VRS providers as a whole, and the Federal Communications Commission. The goal of this study is to provide evidence regarding the existence of stress and burnout in VRS interpreting in hopes that this information can be used to improve this subset of interpreting work.
Bower, Kathryn (2015) "Stress and Burnout in Video Relay Service (VRS) Interpreting," Journal of Interpretation: Vol. 24 : Iss. 1 , Article 2.
Katie Bower, M.A., NIC: Master (she/her/hers), is a professional sign language interpreter (ASL-English) in the Austin Metro Area. Currently residing in Buda, TX (just south of Austin), she is newly transplanted back to Central Texas after spending 11 years in the Washington, DC Metro Area. There, she earned her M.A. in Sign Language Interpretation and Translation from Gallaudet University in 2013. During that time, she studied Stress and Burnout in Video Relay Service (VRS) Interpreting. She has presented her research four times, and has been published twice (RID’s Journal of Interpretation & VIEWS magazine). She attended her first Interpreter Training Program (ITP) at McLennon Community College, from 2005-2007, where she graduated with a 4.0. She then moved to Austin to attend The University of Texas at Austin, where she earned her B.A. in Linguistics (2007-2009). She entered Gallaudet in 2010. She was awarded her BEI certificate in early 2007, and began her interpreting career in Austin that same year. She was then awarded her NIC: Master certificate 10 years ago, in 2011. She has been professionally interpreting ever since. She enjoys translation, research, and mentoring students new to the field. She is currently working with students from Lamar University and Austin Community College (October, 2021). She is 34 years old, happily married, and she identifies as queer. She spends her time advocating for suicide prevention, working to de-stigmatize mental illnesses, and playing with her Shih Tzu, Collins.