Anxiety and Spanish sign language interpreting: an approximative study with professionals and students




anxiety, interpreters, sign languages


Anxiety is one of the most (inter)nationally prevalent mental health problems, with women and young people being the most vulnerable groups. Health and social care professionals are also highly likely to suffer from anxiety. Inasmuch as there is overlap between these groups and sign language interpreters, the latter may be expected to experience high levels of anxiety. However, there are few experimental studies that address psychological and emotional issues in these professional sign language interpreters, and such studies are almost non-existent in Spain. Therefore, we wondered whether it was possible for students and professionals of Spanish sign language interpreting to experience episodes of anxiety during interpreting situations without it being a personality trait. Using a questionnaire, we obtained data from 85 participants which revealed a strong correlation between the state and trait anxiety, as well as the influence of age and professional experience.


Download data is not yet available.


Bontempo, K. y Napier, J. (2009). Getting it right from the start: Program admission testing of signed language interpreters. En C. V. Angelelli y H. E. Jacobson (Eds.), Testing and assessment in translation and interpreting studies (pp. 247–295). John Benjamins,

Bontempo, K., y Napier, J. (2011). Evaluating emotional stability as a predictor of interpreter competence and aptitude for interpreting. Interpreting, 13, 85–105.

Bontempo, K., Napier, J., Hayes, L. y Brashear, V. (2014). Does personality matter? An international study of sign language interpreter disposition. Translation & Interpreting, 6(1), 23–46.

Burgos, P. y Gutiérrez, A. (2013). Adaptación y validación del Inventario Ansiedad Estado-Rasgo (STAI) en población universitaria de la provincia de Ñuble [Tesis de pregrado, Universidad del Bío-Bío].

Chiang, Y. N. (2006). Connecting two anxiety constructs: An interdisciplinary study of foreign language anxiety and interpretation anxiety [Tesis doctoral, Universidad de Texas en Austin].

Confederación SALUD MENTAL ESPAÑA y Fundación Mutua Madrileña (2023). La situación de la salud mental en España.

Daly, B., y Chovaz, C. J. (2020). Secondary traumatic stress: Effects on the professional quality of life of sign language interpreters. American Annals of the Deaf, 165(3), 353–368.

De los Santos, E. y Lara, P. (2004). Técnicas de interpretación de lengua de signos española (2ª ed.). Fundación CNSE.

Dean, R. K. y Pollard, R. Q. (2001). The application of Demand-Control Theory to sign language interpreting: implications for stress and interpreter training. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 6(1), 1–14.

Diaz, I. y de la Iglesia, G. (2019). Ansiedad: Revisión y Delimitación Conceptual. Summa Psicológica UST, 16(1), 42–50.

FundéuRAE (7 de junio de 2018). Consejo de ¿ministras? El blog de la FundéuRAE.

Gile, D. (1995). Basic concepts and models for interpreter and translator training. John Benjamins B.V.

Grbić, N. y Pöllabauer, S. (2006). Community Interpreting: signed or spoken? Types, modes, and methods. Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series – Themes in Translation Studies, 5.

Hernández, C. E., y Carpio, N. A. (2019). Introducción a los tipos de muestreo. Alerta, Revista científica Del Instituto Nacional De Salud, 2(1), 75–79.

Hernández-Sampieri, R. y Mendoza, C. (2018). Metodología de la investigación: las rutas cuantitativa, cualitativa y mixta. McGraw-Hill Education.

Hernández-Sampieri, R., Fernández, C. y Baptista, P. (2014). Metodología de la Investigación (6ª ed.). Mc Graw Hill.

Hetherington, A. (2011). A magical profession? Causes and management of occupational stress in the signed language interpreting profession. En L. Leeson, S. Wurm y M. Vermeerbergen (Eds.), Signed Language Interpreting Preparation, Practice and Performance (pp. 138–159). St. Jerome Publishing.

Jiménez-Arberas, E.; Díez, E. (2022). Musculoskeletal diseases and disorders in the upper limbs and healthwork-related quality of life in Spanish sign language interpreters and guide-interpreters. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 19(15), 9038.

Johnson, W. y Feuerstein, M. (2005). An interpreter’s interpretation: sign language interpreters’ view of musculoskeletal disorders. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 15(3), 401–415.

López, P. L. (2004). Población muestra y muestreo. Punto cero, 9(8), 69–74.

López, M. J., Bajo, T., Padilla, P. y Santiago, J. (2007). Predicting proficiency in signed language interpreting: A preliminary study. Interpreting, 9(1), 71–93

López-Sánchez, G. (2021). Mujeres intérpretes de lengua de signos en la TDT española. Revista de Estudios de Lenguas de Signos REVLES (3), 102–133.

Macauley, K., Plummer, L., Bemis, C., Brock, G., Larson, C. y Spangler, J. (2018). Prevalence and Predictors of Anxiety in Healthcare Professions Students. Health Professions Education, 4(3), 176–185.

Macdonald, J. L. (2015). Vicarious trauma as applied to the professional sign language interpreter. Montview Liberty University Journal of Undergraduate Research, 1(1), art. 6.

Maddock, A. (2023). The Relationships between Stress, Burnout, Mental Health and Well-Being in Social Workers. The British Journal of Social Work (bcad232), 1–19.

Magalhães, A. y Costa, V. (2015). O estagio: um pilar fundamental. En S. Barbosa (Coord.), SER Intérprete de Língua Gestual Portuguesa. (pp. 13-37). Mosaico de palavras

McDermid, C. (2009). Social construction of American Sign Language—English interpreters. The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 14(1), 105–130.

Ministerio de Sanidad, Consumo y Bienestar (2019). Encuesta Nacional de Salud ENSE, España 2017. Serie informes monográficos #1 - SALUD MENTAL.

Ministerio de Universidades (2023). La salud mental en el estudiantado de las universidades españolas.

Napier, J., McKee, R. y Goswell, D. (2010). Sign Language Interpreting: theory & practice in Australia & New Zealand (2ª ed.). The Federation Press.

Nikunlaakso, R., Selander, K., Oksanen, T., & Laitinen, J. (2022). Interventions to reduce the risk of mental health problems in health and social care workplaces: A scoping review. Journal of psychiatric research, 152, 57–69.

Olson, A. M. y Swabey, L. (2017). Communication Access for Deaf People in Healthcare Settings: Understanding the Work of American Sign Language Interpreters. Journal for Healthcare Quality, 39(4), 191–199.

Organización Mundial de la Salud (8 de junio de 2022). Trastornos mentales.

Palomino-Coila, M. R., y Nuñez-Palomino, M. (2020). Stress, anxiety, and depression in social work students from Peru. Revista de Salud Pública, 22(6), 601–608.

Pounturier-Pournin, S. (2015). Sign language interpreting, challenges, tactics and efforts. En S. Brown, K. Dekesel y C. Stone (Eds.) Mind Tricks: our brain is the limit. Cognitive processes in Sign Language Interpreting (pp. 48–62). Createspace.

Quispe, A. (2013). El uso de la encuesta en las ciencias sociales. Ediciones Díaz de Santos.

Real Academia Española (RAE) (s.f.). «Los ciudadanos y las ciudadanas», «los niños y las niñas». Español al día.

Sánchez, I., y Benítez, J. M. (2014). Ciclo formativo superior de interpretación de lengua de signos española: análisis sociodemográficos de sus egresados 1998-2012. Revista INFAD De Psicología. International Journal of Developmental and Educational Psychology., 3(1), 179–192.

Schein, J. (1974). Personality characteristics associated with interpreter proficiency. Journal of Rehabilitation of the Deaf, 7, 33–43.

Seal, B. C. (2004). Psychological Testing of Sign Language Interpreters. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 9(1), 39–52.

Sierra, J. C., Ortega, V., y Zubeidat, I. (2003). Ansiedad, angustia y estrés: tres conceptos a diferenciar. Revista mal-estar e subjetividade, 3(1), 10–59.

Spielberger, C. D., Jacobs, G., Russell, S., y Crane, R. S. (1983). Assessment of anger: The state-trait anger scale. En J. N. Butcher y C. D. Spielberger (Eds.), Advances in personality assessment (vol. 2, pp. 159-187). Erlbaum.

Suárez-Martín, C. R. y Rodríguez-Ruíz, D. (2021). La preparación de los servicios de interpretación de lengua de signos: Contexto discursivo y esfuerzo físico. Revista de lenguas para fines específicos, 27(1), 58–73.

Subijana, L. y Asperilla, N. (17-18 de noviembre de 2022). Calidad no rima con precariedad: el día a día de las intérpretes de lengua de signos [Sesión de conferencia]. Congreso CNLSE de la lengua de signos española, Vicálvaro, Madrid, España.

Weibelzahl, S., Reiter, J., y Duden, G. (2021). Depression and anxiety in healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Epidemiology and Infection, 149(e46).

Zafirah, N. K., Dyer, A. y Hamshaw, R. (2020). The impact of compassion fatigue on mental health sign language interpreters working with children: a thematic analysis. Journal of Interpretation, 28(2), art. 7.