Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1384-6647
  • E-ISSN: 1569-982X
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Simultaneous interpreting requires interpreters to listen to a source text while producing the target text in a second language. In addition, the interpreter needs to process various types of visual input, which may further increase the already high cognitive load. A study with 14 students of interpreting was conducted to investigate the impact of a speaker’s visible lip movements on cognitive load in simultaneous interpreting by analysing the duration of silent pauses in the target texts. Background noise masking the source speech was introduced as a control condition for cognitive load. Silent pause durations were shorter when interpreters saw the speaker’s lip movements, which indicates that interpreters benefitted from visual input. Furthermore, silent pause durations were longer with noise, which suggests that comparative silent pause durations can indicate changes in cognitive load.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Ahrens, B.
    (2004) Prosodie beim Simultandolmetschen. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. (2005) Prosodic phenomena in simultaneous interpreting: A conceptual approach and its practical application. Interpreting7 (1), 51–76. doi:  10.1075/intp.7.1.04ahr
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.7.1.04ahr [Google Scholar]
  3. Albl-Mikasa, M.
    (2010) Global English and English as a lingua franca (ELF): Implications for the interpreting profession. Trans-kom3 (3), 126–148.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Anderson, L.
    (1994) Simultaneous interpretation: Contextual and translation aspects. InS. Lambert & B. Moser-Mercer (Eds.), Bridging the gap: Empirical research in simultaneous interpretation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 101–248. 10.1075/btl.3.11and
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.3.11and [Google Scholar]
  5. Bates, D., Mächler, M., Bolker, B. & Walker, S.
    (2015) Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. Journal of Statistical Software67 (1). doi:  10.18637/jss.v067.i01
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v067.i01 [Google Scholar]
  6. Benoit, C., Mohammadi, T. & Kandel, S.
    (1994) Effects of phonetic context on audio-visual intelligibility of French. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research37 (5), 1195–1203. doi:  10.1044/jshr.3705.1195
    https://doi.org/10.1044/jshr.3705.1195 [Google Scholar]
  7. Bernstein, L. E., Auer, E. T. & Takayanagi, S.
    (2004) Auditory speech detection in noise enhanced by lipreading. Speech Communication44 (1–4), 5–18. doi:  10.1016/j.specom.2004.10.011
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.specom.2004.10.011 [Google Scholar]
  8. Brancazio, L., Best, C. T. & Fowler, C. A.
    (2006) Visual influences on perception of speech and nonspeech vocal-tract events. Language and Speech49 (1), 21–53. doi:  10.1177/00238309060490010301
    https://doi.org/10.1177/00238309060490010301 [Google Scholar]
  9. Bühler, H.
    (1985) Conference interpreting: A multichannel communication phenomenon. Meta30 (1), 49–54. doi:  10.7202/002176ar
    https://doi.org/10.7202/002176ar [Google Scholar]
  10. (1986) Linguistic (semantic) and extra-linguistic (pragmatic) criteria for the evaluation of conference interpretation and interpreters. Multilingua5 (4), 231–235.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Cecot, M.
    (2001) Pauses in simultaneous interpretation: A contrastive analysis of professional interpreters’ performances. The Interpreters’ Newsletter11, 63–85.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Chernov, G. V.
    (1994) Message redundancy and message anticipation in simultaneous interpreting. InS. Lambert & B. Moser-Mercer (Eds.), Bridging the gap: Empirical research in simultaneous interpretation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 139–153. doi:  10.1075/btl.3.13che
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.3.13che [Google Scholar]
  13. Chiaro, D. & Nocella, G.
    (2004) Interpreters’ perception of linguistic and non-linguistic factors affecting quality: A survey through the World Wide Web. Meta49 (2), 278–293. doi:  10.7202/009351ar
    https://doi.org/10.7202/009351ar [Google Scholar]
  14. Chmiel, A., Szarkowska, A., Koržinek, D., Lijewska, A., Dutka, Ł., Brocki, Ł. & Marasek, K.
    (2017) Ear–voice span and pauses in intra- and interlingual respeaking: An exploratory study into temporal aspects of the respeaking process. Applied Psycholinguistics38 (5), 1201–1227. doi:  10.1017/S0142716417000108
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0142716417000108 [Google Scholar]
  15. Davies, M.
    (2008) Word frequency data. Retrieved from The Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA): https://www.english-corpora.org/coca/ (accessed19 March 2021).
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Euopean Commission
    Euopean Commission (2009a) United Airlines rewards fittest people. Retrieved from Speech Repository: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/sr/speech/united-airlines-rewards-fittest-people (accessed4 February 2021).
  17. European Commission
    European Commission (2009b) Disenchantment at work. Retrieved from Speech Repository: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/sr/speech/disenchantment-work (accessed4 February 2021).
  18. European Commission
    European Commission (2012a) Demographic shift in Europe. Retrieved from Speech Repository: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/sr/speech/demographic-shift-europe (accessed4 February 2021).
  19. European Commission
    European Commission (2012b) Greece in the doldrums. Retrieved from Speech Repository: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/sr/speech/greece-doldrums (accessed4 February 2021).
  20. Fox, J. & Weisberg, S.
    (2018) Visualizing fit and lack of fit in complex regression models with predictor effect plots and partial residuals. Journal of Statistical Software87 (9), 1–27. doi:  10.18637/jss.v087.i09
    https://doi.org/10.18637/jss.v087.i09 [Google Scholar]
  21. Gerver, D.
    (1974) The effects of noise on the performance of simultaneous interpreters: Accuracy of performance. Acta Psychologica38 (3), 159–167. doi:  10.1016/0001‑6918(74)90031‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0001-6918(74)90031-6 [Google Scholar]
  22. (1975) A psychological approach to simultaneous interpretation. Meta20 (2), 119–128. doi:  10.7202/002885ar
    https://doi.org/10.7202/002885ar [Google Scholar]
  23. (2002) The effects of source language presentation rate on the performance of simultaneous conference interpreters. InF. Pöchhacker & M. Shlesinger (Eds.), The interpreting studies reader. London/New York: Routledge, 53–66.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Gieshoff, A. C.
    (2018) The impact of audio-visual speech on work-load in simultaneous interpreting. Doctoral thesis, University of Mainz.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Gile, D.
    (2009) Basic concepts and models for interpreter and translator training. Revised edition. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi:  10.1075/btl.8
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.8 [Google Scholar]
  26. Goldman-Eisler, F.
    (1958) Speech analysis and mental processes. Language and Speech1 (1), 59–75. 10.1177/002383095800100105
    https://doi.org/10.1177/002383095800100105 [Google Scholar]
  27. (1961) The distribution of pause durations in speech. Language and Speech4 (4), 232–237. 10.1177/002383096100400405
    https://doi.org/10.1177/002383096100400405 [Google Scholar]
  28. (1968) Psycholinguistics: Experiments in spontaneous speech. London/New York: Academic Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. (2002) Segmentation of input in simultaneous translation. InF. Pöchhacker & M. Shlesinger (Eds.), The interpreting studies reader. London/New York: Routledge, 69–76.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. I-hsin, I. L., Feng-lan, A. C. & Feng-lan, K.
    (2013) The impact of non-native accented English on rendition accuracy in simultaneous interpreting. Translation & Interpreting5 (2), 30–44.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Kramer, S. E., Kapteyn, T. S., Festen, J. M. & Kuik, D. J.
    (1997) Assessing aspects of auditory handicap by means of pupil dilation. Audiology36, 155–164. 10.3109/00206099709071969
    https://doi.org/10.3109/00206099709071969 [Google Scholar]
  32. Lin, Y., Lv, Q. & Liang, J.
    (2018) Predicting fluency with language proficiency, working memory, and directionality in simultaneous interpreting. Frontiers in Psychology9: 1543. doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01543
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01543 [Google Scholar]
  33. Lo, S. & Andrews, S.
    (2015) To transform or not to transform: Using generalized linear mixed models to analyse reaction time data. Frontiers in Psychology6: 1171. doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01171
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01171 [Google Scholar]
  34. Macleod, A. & Summerfield, Q.
    (1987) Quantifying the contribution of vision to speech perception in noise. British Journal of Audiology21 (2), 131–141. doi:  10.3109/03005368709077786
    https://doi.org/10.3109/03005368709077786 [Google Scholar]
  35. Massaro, D. W. & Cohen, M. M.
    (1999) Speech perception in perceivers with hearing loss: Synergy of multiple modalities. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research42 (1), 21–41. doi:  10.1044/jslhr.4201.21
    https://doi.org/10.1044/jslhr.4201.21 [Google Scholar]
  36. Mattys, S. L. & Wiget, L.
    (2011) Effects of cognitive load on speech recognition. Journal of Memory and Language65 (2), 145–160. doi:  10.1016/j.jml.2011.04.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2011.04.004 [Google Scholar]
  37. Mattys, S. L., Brooks, J. & Cooke, M.
    (2009) Recognizing speech under a processing load: Dissociating energetic from informational factors. Cognitive Psychology59 (1), 203–243. doi:  10.1016/j.cogpsych.2009.04.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogpsych.2009.04.001 [Google Scholar]
  38. McAllister, R.
    (2000) Perceptual foreign accent and its relevance for simultaneous interpreting. InB. Englund Dimitrova & K. Hyltenstam (Eds.), Language processing and simultaneous interpreting: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 45–63. doi:  10.1075/btl.40.05mca
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.40.05mca [Google Scholar]
  39. Mizuno, A.
    (2005) Process model for simultaneous interpreting and working memory. Meta50 (2), 739–752. doi:  10.7202/011015ar
    https://doi.org/10.7202/011015ar [Google Scholar]
  40. Moser, B.
    (1978) Simultaneous interpretation: A hypothetical model and its practical application. InD. Gerver & H. W. Sinaiko (Eds.), Language interpretation and communication. New York: Plenum Press, 353–368. 10.1007/978‑1‑4615‑9077‑4_31
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-9077-4_31 [Google Scholar]
  41. Moser-Mercer, B.
    (2003) Remote interpreting: Assessment of human factors and performance parameters. Communicate! AIIC Webzine (Summer 2003). https://aiic.org/document/516/AIICWebzine_Summer2003_3_MOSER-MERCER_Remote_interpreting_Assessment_of_human_factors_and_performance_parameters_Original.pdf (accessed16 March 2020).
    [Google Scholar]
  42. (2005) Remote interpreting: The crucial role of presence. VALS-ASLA81, 73–97.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Peirce, J. W.
    (2007) PsychoPy-Psychophysics software in Python. Journal of Neuroscience Methods162 (1/2), 8–13. doi:  10.1016/j.jneumeth.2006.11.017
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneumeth.2006.11.017 [Google Scholar]
  44. Plevoets, K. & Defrancq, B.
    (2016) The effect of informational load on disfluencies in interpreting: A corpus-based regression analysis. Translation and Interpreting Studies11 (2), 202–224. doi:  10.1075/tis.11.2.04ple
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tis.11.2.04ple [Google Scholar]
  45. (2018) The cognitive load of interpreters in the European Parliament. Interpreting20 (1), 1–28. doi:  10.1075/intp.00001.ple
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.00001.ple [Google Scholar]
  46. Pöchhacker, F.
    (2005) From operation to action: Process-orientation in interpreting studies. Meta50 (2), 682–695. doi:  10.7202/011011ar
    https://doi.org/10.7202/011011ar [Google Scholar]
  47. Poyatos, F.
    (1984) The multichannel reality of discourse: Language-paralanguage-kinesics and the totality of communicative systems. Language Sciences6 (2), 307–337. doi:  10.1016/S0388‑0001(84)80022‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0388-0001(84)80022-4 [Google Scholar]
  48. Pradas Macías, M.
    (2006) Probing quality criteria in simultaneous interpreting: The role of silent pauses in fluency. Interpreting8 (1), 25–43. doi:  10.1075/intp.8.1.03pra
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.8.1.03pra [Google Scholar]
  49. Rackow, J.
    (2013) Dolmetschen als Kommunikation: Verbale und nonverbale Informationsverarbeitung im Dolmetschprozess. InD. Andres, M. Behr & M. Dingfelder Stone (Eds.), Dolmetschmodelle – erfasst, erläutert, erweitert. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 129–152.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Rennert, S.
    (2008) Visual input in simultaneous interpreting. Meta53 (1), 204–217. doi:  10.7202/017983ar
    https://doi.org/10.7202/017983ar [Google Scholar]
  51. (2019) Redeflüssigkeit und Dolmetschqualität: Wirkung und Bewertung. Tübingen: Narr.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Roziner, I. & Shlesinger, M.
    (2010) Much ado about something remote: Stress and performance in remote interpreting. Interpreting12 (2), 214–247. doi:  10.1075/intp.12.2.05roz
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.12.2.05roz [Google Scholar]
  53. Sabatini, E.
    (2000) Listening comprehension, shadowing and simultaneous interpretation of two ‘non-standard’ English speeches. Interpreting5 (1), 25–48. doi:  10.1075/intp.5.1.03sab
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.5.1.03sab [Google Scholar]
  54. Seeber, K. G.
    (2011) Cognitive load in simultaneous interpreting. Interpreting13 (2), 176–204. 10.1075/intp.13.2.02see
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.13.2.02see [Google Scholar]
  55. (2015) Cognitive load in simultaneous interpreting: Measures and methods. InM. Ehrensberger-Dow, S. Göpferich & S. O’Brien (Eds.), Interdisciplinarity in translation and interpreting process research. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 18–33. doi:  10.1075/bct.72.03see
    https://doi.org/10.1075/bct.72.03see [Google Scholar]
  56. (2017) Multimodal processing in simultaneous interpreting. InJ. W. Schwieter & A. Ferreira (Eds.), The handbook of translation and cognition (pp.461–475). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 461–475. 10.1002/9781119241485.ch25
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9781119241485.ch25 [Google Scholar]
  57. Setton, R.
    (1999) Simultaneous interpretation: A cognitive–pragmatic analysis. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/btl.28
    https://doi.org/10.1075/btl.28 [Google Scholar]
  58. Seubert, S.
    (2017) Simultaneous interpreting is a whole-person process: Zur Verarbeitung visueller Informationen beim Simultandolmetschen. InM. Behr & S. Seubert (Eds.), Education is a whole-person process: Von ganzheitlicher Lehre, Dolmetschforschung und anderen Dingen. Berlin: Frank & Timme, 271–303.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Thomas, S. M. & Jordan, T. R.
    (2004) Contributions of oral and extraoral facial movement to visual and audiovisual speech perception. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance30 (5), 873–888. doi:  10.1037/0096‑1523.30.5.873
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.30.5.873 [Google Scholar]
  60. Tissi, B.
    (2000) Silent pauses and disfluencies in simultaneous interpretation: A descriptive analysis. The Interpreters’ Newsletter10, 103–128.
    [Google Scholar]
  61. Vatikiotis-Bateson, E., Eigsti, I.-M., Yano, S. & Munhall, K. G.
    (1998) Eye movement of perceivers during audiovisual speech perception. Perception & Psychophysics60 (6), 926–940. doi:  10.3758/BF03211929
    https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03211929 [Google Scholar]
  62. von Kriegstein, K., Dogan, Ö., Grüter, M., Giraud, A.-L., Kell, C. A., Grüter, T., Kleinschmidt, A. & Kiebel, S. J.
    (2008) Simulation of talking faces in the human brain improves auditory speech recognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences105 (18), 6747–6752. doi:  10.1073/pnas.0710826105
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0710826105 [Google Scholar]
  63. Wickham, H.
    (2009) ggplot2: Elegant graphics for data analysis. New York: Springer. 10.1007/978‑0‑387‑98141‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-98141-3 [Google Scholar]
  64. Yu, W. & van Heuven, V. J.
    (2017) Predicting judged fluency of consecutive interpreting from acoustic measures: Potential for automatic assessment and pedagogic implications. Interpreting19 (1), 47–68. doi:  10.1075/intp.19.1.03yu
    https://doi.org/10.1075/intp.19.1.03yu [Google Scholar]
  65. Zwischenberger, C.
    (2010) Quality criteria in simultaneous interpreting: An international vs. a national view. The Interpreters’ Newsletter15, 127–142.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): cognitive load; lip movements; silent pauses; simultaneous interpreting; visual input
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error