According to working memory theory (e.g., Baddeley, 1990), bilingual digit span is mediated by a variation in speech rate between the languages. This view is supported by findings that demonstrate the elimination of the bilingual digit span effect under concurrent articulation. The present study addressed the question as to how experienced simultaneous interpreters, experts in processing information whilst articulating a translation in a target language, cope with the deleterious effects of articulatory. suppression. Bilingual digit span with and without articulatory suppression was compared between experienced simultaneous interpreters fluent in Finnish and English and a control group consisting of Finnish undergraduates majoring in English. The results showed that articulatory suppression occasioned a decrement in digit span for both groups. Articulatory suppression eliminated the bilingual digit span effect for controls, whereas the language difference was preserved for the simultaneous interpreters. The present findings highlighted the potential for further research that examines memory performance by simultaneous interpreters under secondary task loadings as a means of extending current models of human information processing.
Baddeley, Alan D., Zhan Xu, Sai Tung Ho & Graham J. Hitch
2023. On verbal memory span in Chinese speakers: Evidence for employment of an articulation-resistant phonological component. Journal of Memory and Language 129 ► pp. 104389 ff.
Cai, Rendong, Yanping Dong, Nan Zhao & Jiexuan Lin
2015. Factors contributing to individual differences in the development of consecutive interpreting competence for beginner student interpreters. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer 9:1 ► pp. 104 ff.
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