Choosing to become an interpreter
A matter of personality and memory capacity?
Within the world of interpreting, persistent clichés exist about an interpreter’s required personality and cognitive traits. For instance, an interpreter is thought to be communicative, stress-resistant and to have excellent memory skills. Yet, while research has been conducted into interpreters’ personality type and into their cognitive skills, these two aspects have not yet been combined in one research design. In this contribution we will explore whether some of these traits increase the likelihood of a language major opting for a study programme in interpreting and for a language professional opting for an interpreting career. Through a principal component analysis, we identified five latent components (personality, inhibition, updating, shifting, and working memory span) in a battery of personality and cognitive variables. Binary logistic regression showed that personality and working memory span are strong predictors of language majors and language professionals’ choice for a study programme or career path in interpreting.