Work-Related Cumulative Trauma Disorders and Interpreters for the Deaf

With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, increasing numbers of interpreters for the deaf are being employed in education, industry, or other settings

Jane Scheuerle

2002

Scholarcy highlights

  • With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, increasing numbers of interpreters for the deaf are being employed in education, industry, or other settings
  • Professional interpreters are at risk for developing cumulative trauma disorders due to the nature of their work which involves rapid repetitive movements of the arms and hands
  • One hundred forty-five interpreters for the deaf responded to a survey questionnaire designed to identify their work experiences and development of physical pain/discomfort related to work
  • Thirty-nine of the 119 respondents indicated onset of pain or discomfort in the wrist and hand. These data suggest that interpreting for the deaf may result in debilitating pain/discomfort in hands, arms, shoulders, and back if the interpreter is not appropriately prepared to compensate for physical and attentional stresses
  • Implications include the need to provide periods of rest while working and to provide training for students learning to interpret for the deaf to minimize physical stress while working
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