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31 - Working Memory and Interpreting Studies

from Part V - Bilingual Acquisition and Processing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 July 2022

John W. Schwieter
Wilfrid Laurier University
Zhisheng (Edward) Wen
Hong Kong Shue Yan University
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This chapter provides a review of studies on working memory (WM) and interpreting between the 1970s and 2010s, with special attention paid to simultaneous interpreting (SI) and consecutive interpreting (CI). Previous research has investigated three major issues: (1) the interpreter’s advantage over noninterpreters in WM capacity and executive control; (2) the relationship between overall WM capacity, WM executive control and interpreting performance, and (3) the interaction that takes place between long-term memory and WM to facilitate meaning retrieval from the source language, interlingual reformulation, and message delivery into the target language. This chapter will first review major WM models of interpreting to determine what SI and CI have in common and how they differ in processing routes; secondly by examining relevant empirical evidence that (in)validates such models, and thirdly by proposing new possibilities for research on WM in both SI and CI. By means of a synthesized review and an in-depth comparative analysis, this chapter will shed new light on how WM demand differs across interpreting tasks and fluctuates during the interpreting process, which will in turn contribute to future interpreting research and pedagogy.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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