This study examines whether interpreters have better working memory (WM) than noninterpreters, taking into account different WM components and the potential modulatory influence of age. Younger and older interpreters and non-interpreters were tested on reading span, nonword repetition, and order- and category-cued recall, using English, second-language materials. Articulation rate was also assessed. Interpreters outperformed non-interpreters in reading span and nonword repetition, but not cued recall and articulation rate. These results suggest that interpreters have better ability to manipulate information in working memory and process or store sub-lexical phonological representations, but have no advantage in short-term retention of words and their meaning. Compared to the other tested groups, younger interpreters were marginally better in nonword repetition and cued recall, suggesting that future studies on WM advantages in interpreters should consider the age factor.
Signorelli, Teresa; Haarmann, Henk; and Obler, Loraine, "Working memory in simultaneous interpreters: Effects of task and age" (2011). CUNY Academic Works.