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  • Author or Editor: Birgitta Englund Dimitrova x
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Abstract

Allocation and management of working memory resources are crucial for successful interpreting. A number of studies have found clear indications that simultaneous interpreters have larger working memory capacity, at least in some areas, than other bilinguals. To date, no studies have focused on the working memory of dialogue interpreters. The study reported in this paper investigated the main differences and similarities in working memory between experienced and inexperienced dialogue interpreters when it comes to central executive functions. We also compared experienced dialogue interpreters to experienced simultaneous conference interpreters. Fifteen dialogue interpreters with two working languages, Swedish and either French, Polish or Spanish, participated in the following working memory tests: tests for updating (2-back), inhibition (arrow flanker), attention-sharing, storage and processing (Barrouillet, letter span, matrix span, operation span). We found no significant differences between the experienced and inexperienced dialogue interpreters, and there were significant differences between the experienced dialogue interpreters and a comparison group of experienced simultaneous conference interpreters (n = 28). Although the number of participants is small, the study may serve as a baseline for future work on the cognition of dialogue interpreting.

Open access