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Working memory and interpreting studies

Zheng, B.; Kuang, H.

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H. Kuang


John W. Schwieter

Zhisheng (Edward) Wen


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.


Zheng, B., & Kuang, H. (2022). Working memory and interpreting studies. In J. W. Schwieter, & Z. (. Wen (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Working Memory and Language (698-721). Cambridge University Press.

Acceptance Date Jun 16, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 8, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Sep 15, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 15, 2021
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Pages 698-721
Book Title The Cambridge Handbook of Working Memory and Language


Accepted Book Chapter (457 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This material has been published in The Cambridge Handbook of Working Memory and Language edited by John W. Schwieter and Zhisheng (Edward) Wen. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press 2022

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