Cognitive potential and limitations
Over the past five years our research has focused on cognitive issues in simultaneous interpreting: the role of working memory, robustness of cognitive processes, simultaneity of language processes, and the emerging role of long-term working memory (LT-WM) in the development of expertise in interpreting. With new technologies playing an increasingly important role in the interpreter’s work environment and with speaking speeds far exceeding the recommended 120 words per minute we need to ask ourselves just how adaptable an interpreter’s cognitive functions are to what is widely perceived as “cognitive overload”.
This contribution will discuss several studies on various aspects of cognitive functioning in simultaneous interpreters and try to shed some light on the “plasticity” of the interpreter’s “brain” and on how a professional interpreter who has achieved a high level of expertise can actually circumvent a number of common cognitive constraints. This contribution argues, however, that even at the highest level of skill constraints do operate and interfere with high-quality performance.
Cited by other publications
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