Facing social, emotional and technological challenges in the virtual interpreting classroom





gender-based violence, remote interpreting, role-plays, dialogue interpreting education


During the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns, there was an observable increase in social and political attention paid to gender-based violence in our national context. This, in turn, has highlighted the important role of the Austrian Violence Protection Centres, also revealing the need to facilitate easier access to these services for non-German speaking clients through interpreters. To find ways to mirror close-to-life situations in our interpreting classes that reflect current technological developments, acute societal issues and complex institutional contexts, we developed a research-led semi-structured role-play concept, with the goal of preparing students for technical, ethical and emotional challenges pertaining to remote interpreting in sensitive contexts. To validate the effectiveness of the role-play, we used two simulations of interpreter-mediated online counselling sessions and conducted post-task interviews with involved students acting as interpreters.


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Author Biographies

Katia Iacono, University of Vienna

Katia Iacono is currently working as a postgraduate researcher and senior lecturer at the Centre for Translation Studies of the University of Vienna. She has also been a freelance translator and interpreter since 2009 and her working languages are Italian, German, Spanish and English.

Her main research interests include dialogue interpreting, especially in medical settings, translation/interpreting management and interpreting/translation didactics. Her PhD thesis on interpreting in medical tourism in Austria and Germany with a special interest in the expectations and requirements faced by interpreters was published 2021 by Narr Francke Attempto.


Harald Pasch, University of Vienna

Harald Pasch studied Transcultural Communication and Interpreting at the Department of Translation Studies in Graz, where he obtained an MA in Conference Interpreting in 2019. He worked as a Hungarian tutor and co-hosted a university-based study skills and peer mentoring workshop throughout his studies. 

Since 2015, he has been working as a freelance interpreter and translator in fields ranging from psychosocial and educational, to medical, technical, and marketing related domains. His working languages are German, Hungarian, and English.

He is currently a university assistant at the Centre for Translation Studies at the University of Vienna. Under the supervision of Prof. Sonja Pöllabauer, he is preparing his doctoral dissertation on interpreting in the legally recognized Intervention Centres Against Violence in Austria.


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