Skip to main content Accessibility help

Coordinating comprehension and production in simultaneous interpreters: Evidence from the Articulatory Suppression Effect*



This study aimed to investigate the capacity of coordinating comprehension and production processes and the role of phonological working memory in simultaneous interpreting. To this end we evaluated the Articulatory Suppression (AS) effect in three groups of participants, monolingual controls, students of interpreting and professional interpreters. Three variables were examined, the material to be studied (words, pseudo-words), the complexity of the articulations (simple, complex) and the articulatory rate (participants produced their speech at their own rate). Monolingual controls showed AS effect in all study conditions; students of interpreting showed AS effect in complex study conditions and professional interpreters showed AS effect only when they studied pseudo-words and produced complex articulations. These results suggest that coordinating comprehension and production processes in interpreters is mediated by the retrieval of lexical–semantic information and the distribution of the speech.


Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Pedro Macizo, Departamento de Psicología Experimental y Fisiología del Comportamiento, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad de Granada, Campus de Cartuja, s/n. 18071, Granada, SPAIN


Hide All

This research was supported by a doctoral research Grant to Carolina Yudes. SEJ2005-00842, by the research program “Ramón y Cajal”; and grant PSI2009-11094/PSI to Pedro Macizo, and by research grants EDU2008-01111 to Teresa Bajo and CSD2008-00048 Consolider Ingenio 2010; Proyecto de Excelencia de la JA-2007 and JA-2008_HUM 360 to T. B. and P. M.



Hide All
Alameda, J. R., & Cuetos, F. (1995). Diccionario de frecuencias de las unidades lingüísticas del castellano. Oviedo: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Oviedo.
Baddeley, A. D. (1986). Working memory. New York: Oxford University Press.
Baddeley, A. D. (1996). Exploring the central executive. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Experimental Psychology, 49A, 528.
Baddeley, A. D. (2000). The episodic buffer: A new component of working memory? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4, 417422.
Baddeley, A. D., Hitch, G. J., & Allen, R. J. (2009). Working memory and binding in sentence recall. Journal of Memory and Language, 61, 438456.
Baddeley, A. D., & Larsen, J. D. (2007). The phonological loop: Some answers and some questions. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60, 512518.
Baddeley, A. D., Thomson, N., & Buchanan, M. (1975). Word length and the structure of short-term memory. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 14, 575589.
Barik, H. C. (1975). Simultaneous interpretation: Qualitative and linguistic data. Language and Speech, 18, 272297.
Chen, Z., & Cowan, N. (2009). Core verbal working memory capacity: The limit in words retained without covert articulation. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62, 14201429.
Christoffels, I. K. (2006). Listening while talking: The retention of prose under articulatory suppression in relation to simultaneous interpreting. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 18, 206220.
Christoffels, I. K., de Groot, A. M. B., & Kroll, J. (2006). Memory and language skills in simultaneous interpreters: The role of expertise and language proficiency. Journal of Memory and Language, 54, 324345.
Daneman, M., & Carpenter, J. (1980). Individual differences in working memory and reading. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 19, 450466.
Daró, V. (1989). The role of memory and attention in simultaneous interpretation: A neurolinguistic approach. The Interpreters’ Newsletter, 2, 5056.
Daró, V. (1997). Experimental studies on memory in conference interpretation. Meta: Translators' Journal, 42, 622628.
Daró, V., & Fabbro, F. (1994). Verbal memory during simultaneous interpretation: Effects of phonological interference. Applied Linguistic, 15, 365377.
Davidson, P. M. (1992). Segmentation of Japanese source language discourse in simultaneous interpretation. Interpreters' Newsletter, Special Issue, 1, 211.
De Groot, A. M. B. (2000). A complex-skill approach to translation and interpreting. In Tirkkonen-Condit, S. & Jääskeläinen, R. (eds.), Tapping and mapping the processes of translation and interpreting, pp. 5368. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Gathercole, S. E., Pickering, S. J., Hall, M., & Peaker, S. M. (2001). Dissociable lexical and phonological influences on serial recognition and serial recall. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Experimental Psychology, 54A, 130.
Gerver, D. (1969). The effects of source language presentation rate on the performance of simultaneous conference interpreters. In Foulke, E. (ed.), Proceedings of the Second Louisville Conference on Rate and/or Frequency-Controlled Speech, pp. 162184. Louisville, KY: Center for Rate-Controlled Recordings.
Gerver, D. (1976). Empirical studies of simultaneous interpretation: A review and a model. In Briskin, R. W. (ed.), Translation: Applications and research, pp. 165207. New York: Gardner Press.
Gile, D. (1997). Conference interpreting as a cognitive management problem. In Danks, H. J., Shreve, G. M., Fountain, S. B. & McBeath, M. K. (eds.), Cognitive processes in translation and interpreting, pp. 196214. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Goldman-Eisler, F. (1972). Segmentation of input in simultaneous translation. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 1, 127140.
Goldman-Eisler, F. (1980). Psychological mechanisms of speech production as studied through the analysis of simultaneous translation. In Butterworth, B. (ed.), Language production, Vol. 1, pp. 143153. London: Academic Press.
Hirst, W., Spelke, E. S., Reaves, C. C., Caharack, G., & Neisser, U. (1980). Dividing attention without alternation of automaticity. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 109, 98117.
Hulme, C., Maughan, S., & Brown, G. D. A. (1991). Memory for familiar and unfamiliar words: Evidence for a long-term memory contribution to short-term memory span. Journal of Memory and Language, 30, 685701.
Hulme, C., Roodenrys, S., Schweickert, R., Brown, G. D. A., Martin, S., & Stuart, G. (1997). Word frequency effects on short-term memory tasks: Evidence for a redintegration process in immediate serial recall. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 23, 12171232.
Jones, D., Macken, W. J., & Nicholls, A. P. (2004). The phonological store of working memory: Is it phonological and it is a store? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 30, 656674.
Lambert, S. (1988). A human information processing and cognitive approach to the training of simultaneous interpreters. In Hammond, D. (ed.), Languages at Crossroads, Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference of the American Translators Association, pp. 379388. Medford, NJ: Learned Information.
Lee, T. (1999). Simultaneous listening and speaking in English into Korean simultaneous interpretation. Meta, 44, 260267.
Lewandowsky, S., Duncan, M., & Brown, G. D. A. (2004). Time does not cause forgetting in short-term serial recall. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 11, 771790.
Liu, M., Schallert, D., & Carroll, P. (2004). Working memory and expertise in simultaneous interpreting. Interpreting, 6, 1942.
Macizo, P., & Bajo, M. T. (2006). Reading for understanding and reading for translation: Do they involve the same processes? Cognition, 99, 134.
Macizo, P., Bajo, M. T., & Martín, M. C. (2010). Inhibitory processes in bilingual language comprehension: Evidence from Spanish−English interlexical homographs. Journal of Memory and Language, 63, 232244.
Majerus, S., Poncelet, M., van der Linden, M., & Weekes, B. (2008). Lexical learning in bilingual adults: The relative importance of short-term memory for serial order and phonological knowledge. Cognition, 107, 395419.
McDonald, J., & Carpenter, P. (1981). Simultaneous translation: Idiom interpretation and parsing heuristic. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 20, 231247.
Miyake, A., & Shah, P. (1999). Toward unified theories of working memory: Emerging general consensus, unresolved theoretical issues, and future research directions. In Miyake, A. & Shah, P. (eds.), Models of working memory: Mechanisms of active maintenance and executive control, pp. 442481. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Moser-Mercer, B. (2005). Remote interpreting: Issues of multi-sensory integration in a multilingual task. Meta, 50, 727738.
Murray, D. J. (1968). Articulation and acoustic confusability in short-term memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 78, 679684.
Padilla, P., Bajo, M. T., Cañas, J. J., & Padilla, F. (1995). Cognitive processes of memory in simultaneous interpretation. In Tommola, J. (ed.), Topics in interpreting research, pp. 6171. Turku: University of Turku. Finland.
Padilla, F., Bajo, M. T., & Macizo, P. (2005). Articulatory suppression in language interpretation: Working memory capacity, dual tasking and word knowledge. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 8, 207213.
Papagno, C., Valentine, T., & Baddeley, A. D. (1991). Phonological short-term memory and foreign language vocabulary learning. Journal of Memory and Language, 30, 331347.
Papagno, C., & Vallar, G. (1992). Phonological short-term memory and the learning of novel words: The effect of phonological similarity and item length. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 44A, 4767.
Richardson, J. T. E., & Baddeley, A. D. (1975). The effect of articulatory suppression in free recall. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 14, 623629.
Romani, C., McAlpine, S., Olson, A., Tsouknida, E., & Martin, R. C. (2005). Length, lexicality and articulatory suppression in immediate recall: Evidence against the articulatory loop. Journal of Memory and Language, 52, 398415.
Roodenrys, S., Hulme, C., & Brown, G. (1993). The development of short-term memory span: Separable effects of speech rate and long-term memory. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 56, 431442.
Schneider, W., Eschman, A., & Zuccolotto, A. (2002). E-Prime user's guide. Pittsburgh, PA: Psychology Software Tools.
Shin, J., & Rosenbaum, D. A. (2002). Reaching while calculating: Scheduling of cognitive and perceptual-motor processes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2, 206219.
Smith, M., & Scholey, K. (1992). Determining spatial span: The role of movement time and articulatory rate. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 45A, 479501.
Thorn, A. S. C., & Gathercole, S. E. (2001). Language differences in verbal short-term memory do not exclusively originate in the process of subvocal rehearsal. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 8, 357364.
Treisman, A. (1965). The effects of redundancy and familiarity on translating and repeating back a foreign and a native language. British Journal of Psychology, 56, 369379.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed