Interpreting. An International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting vol:16 issue:2 pages:139-168
Working memory is a complex cognitive component responsible for maintenance of information during processing. Interpreting research has so far focused on working memory capacity, neglecting the central executive functions. Twenty-eight professional interpreters completed a battery of five central executive tasks and a simultaneous interpreting task. The results show that a) interpreters’ performance in simultaneous interpreting was related to the central executive functions of working memory, b) that some working memory functions seem to develop with interpreting experience, while others do not, and c) that the relationship between working memory and simultaneous interpreting is best described as many-to-many, i.e. 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 current literature. More specifically, the findings support those accounts of simultaneous interpreting which emphasise attentional control as an important component of simultaneous interpreting processing.