Invisible Process – Cognition and working memory of dialogue interpreting

Project leader


Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2017
End date: 31/12/2020
Funding: 4000000 SEK


In dialogue interpreting, the interpreter orally translates dialogues between two or more people, alternating between the two languages. Influential Swedish and international studies (e.g. Wadensjö, 1998) have shown the interpreter’s important function in also managing the overall interaction.
However, to date, no research has beeen focusing on the cognitive processes involved in this very complex communicative and interactional situation.

This four-year-project aims to lay the foundation for studying the cognitive processes involved in interpreting dialogues. The research questions concern the nature of the interpreter’s cognitive resources, more specifically, the function of the monitoring processes as compared to other types of interpreting, e.g. simultaneous conference interpreting, and the strategies applied to cope with cognitive load. The project will propose a process model and test it empirically.

Empirical testing will use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods: semi-scripted interpreted role-plays with subsequent retrospective interviews, and psychological tests measuring central executive functions of the working memory. Participants will be professional interpreters and interpreter students. Test center is available at Stockholm University.

The results of the project will give a better understanding of a cognitively very demanding professional practice, and will furthermore have important implications for future development of interpreter training.

Last updated on 2017-07-04 at 10:28