An Exploration of VRS Interpreter Resilience
Research has indicated that there are many unique stressors that Video Relay Service Interpreters (VI) experience in the call-center setting (Alley, 2016; Brunson, 2011; Wessling & Shaw, 2014), and VIs have a high risk of stress and burnout (Bower, 2015) as a result. The purpose of this study on VI resilience is to explore the VI experiences through an online survey investigating perceived burnout, resilience measure using the 9-Item Resilience Scale, perceived resilience, and the resiliency practices used to maintain resilience and reduce the impact of stress. Five domains of resiliency practices (emotional, physical, cognitive, spiritual, and professional) were assessed for prevalence, frequency, and perceived effectiveness of use. 212 individuals participated in the study, 78.77% (167/212) of which report having had experienced burnout, either currently or in the past. 54.72% (117/212) of the respondents reported that they are not currently experiencing burnout, 29.24% (62/212) reported experiencing burnout at the time of the survey, and 15.57% (33/212) report they may be currently experiencing burnout. Perceived resilience and how the VI scored on the resilience scale appeared to be relatively similar. VIs acknowledged that resilience impacts their interactions with callers and that burnout impacts the quality of interpretation they provide, however there was no strong connection between resilience and the prevalence of burnout in the study. This may indicate that the resiliency practices implemented by VIs may not be enough to prevent burnout in Video Relay Service Centers (VRS). A theme emerged suggesting interpreters find that workplace constraints, such as regulated break time, standardized quality control metrics, and high call volume, to be a significant cause of stress and have sometimes resulted in a disregarded for self-care, reduced quality customer service, or allyship.