New publication in Interpreting

Simaltaneous interpreting and working memory executive control

Working memory is a complex cognitive component responsible for maintenance of information during processing. Interpreting research has so far focused on working memory capacity rather than on the central executive functions. In the study described here, 28 professional interpreters completed a battery of four central executive tasks and three simultaneous interpretations (from English into Czech or Dutch ‘A’). The results show that: (a) certain measurable features of simultaneous interpreting are related to the central executive functions of working memory; (b) one working memory function (inhibition of distractors) seems to be related to interpreting experience, while the others (automatic response inhibition, updating, attention switching) do not; (c) the relationship between working memory and simultaneous interpreting is such that different working memory functions predict different sub-processes in simultaneous interpreting, in complex patterns. The conclusions of this study are data-driven, but in line with the current literature. More specifically, the findings support those accounts of simultaneous interpreting which emphasize attentional control as an important component of the simultaneous interpreting process.

Timarova, S., Cenkova, I., Meylaerts, R., Hertog, E., Szmalec, A., & Duyck, W. (2014). Simultaneous interpreting and working memory executive control. Interpreting, 16(2), 139-168. PDF available here

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation