3. Distance Yourself from the Emotion

Tools for Interpreters

During the Encounter
Step 3

By seeing a bigger picture that involves not only your own reaction or perception of reality, but that of others involved, and even the perspective of a neutral or objective observer, you gain clarity.

Own Reality

You are fully associated into the problem or situation

This is were you are ‘on stage,’ experiencing the situation in the first person. During an interpreting encounter, we interpret in the first person and therefore often experience each participant’s situation in our own reality. Thus, it is not uncommon that we may experience a strong emotion, which in our own reality feels very intense.

2nd Position

You are now one step removed from the situation

You mentally take a step back. Now instead of being ‘on stage’, you are watching yourself as if you are ‘in the audience.’ In the interpreting encounter, you now see the situation from the perspective of each of the other participants, understanding each of their frames for the situation and your relation to them.

3rd Position

You are now two steps removed from the situation

Now instead of ‘watching yourself from the audience’, you are observing from the last row, looking at the audience and the stage like a ‘fly on the wall’. Think of yourself as a researcher of the interpreted encounter: now you analyze the situation from outside the encounter. Taking this perspective will allow you to distance yourself from the encounter emotionally, remain objective, and learn from it.