Hostname: page-component-797576ffbb-6mkhv Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-05T02:58:08.652Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Comprehension and error monitoring in simultaneous interpreters

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 March 2012

University of Granada
University of Granada
University of Granada
University of Granada
ADDRESS FOR CORRESPONDENCE M. Teresa Bajo, Departamento de Psicología Experimental, Universidad de Granada, Granada 18071, Spain. E-mail:


In the current study we explored lexical, syntactic, and semantic processes during text comprehension in English monolinguals and Spanish/English (first language/second language) bilinguals with different experience in interpreting (nontrained bilinguals, interpreting students and professional interpreters). The participants performed an error-detection task in which they read English texts and tried to identify lexical, syntactic, and semantic errors embedded in texts. After reading, global comprehension of the texts was assessed by means of a sentence verification task and open/ended questionnaire. The results showed that the interpreters detected more syntactic and semantic errors than monolinguals, nontrained bilinguals and interpreting students. They also had better global comprehension. We discussed the consequences of bilingualism, working memory capacity, and training in interpreting on text comprehension.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Adams, A., Simmons, F., Willis, C., & Pawling, R. (2010). Undergraduate students’ ability to revise text effectively: Relationships with topic knowledge and working memory. Journal of Research in Reading, 33, 5476.Google Scholar
*Anderson, J. C., Schejerlng, P., & Saltin, B. (2000). El envejecimiento muscular [Muscular aging]. Investigación y Ciencia, 288, 1213.Google Scholar
Bajo, M. T., Padilla, F., & Padilla, P. (2000). Comprehension processes in simultaneous interpreting. In Chesterman, A., Salvador, N. Gallardo-San, & Gambier, Y. (Eds.), Translation in context (pp. 127142). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
Baker, L. (1979). Comprehension monitoring: Identifying and coping with text confusions. Journal of Reading Behavior, 11, 366374.Google Scholar
Baker, L., & Anderson, R. (1982). Effects of inconsistent information on text processing: Evidence for comprehension monitoring. Reading Research Quarterly, 17, 281294.Google Scholar
Baker, L., & Zimlin, L. (1989). Instructional effects on children's use of two levels of standards for evaluating their comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81, 340346.Google Scholar
Beal, C. R., Bonitatibus, G. J., & Garrod, A. C. (1990). Fostering children's revision skills through training in comprehension monitoring. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 275280.Google Scholar
Bialystok, E. (1999). Cognitive complexity and attentional control in the bilingual mind. Child Development, 70, 636644.Google Scholar
Bialystok, E. (Ed.). (2001). Bilingualism in development: Language, literacy, and cognition. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Bialystok, E. (2007). Cognitive effects of bilingualism: How linguistic experience leads to cognitive change. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 10, 210223.Google Scholar
Bialystok, E. (2009). Bilingualism: The good, the bad and the indifferent. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 12, 311.Google Scholar
Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I. M., & Luk, G. (2008). Cognitive control and lexical access in younger and older bilingual. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34, 859873.Google Scholar
Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I. M., & Ruocco, A. (2006). Dual-modality monitoring in a classification task: The effects of bilingualism and ageing. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59, 19681983.Google Scholar
Bialystok, E., & Martin, M. M. (2004). Attention and inhibition in bilingual children: Evidence from the dimensional change card sort task. Developmental Science, 7, 325339.Google Scholar
Butterfield, E. C., Hacker, D. J., & Albertson, L. R. (1996). Environmental, cognitive and metacognitive influences on text revision: Assessing the evidence. Educational Psychological Review, 8, 239297.Google Scholar
Butterfield, E. C., Hacker, D. J., & Plumb, C. (1994). Topic knowledge, linguistic knowledge, and revision processes as determinants of text revision. In Carlson, J. S. & Butterfield, E. C. (Eds.), Advances in cognition and educational practice. Children's writing: Toward a process theory of the development of skilled writing (Vol. 2, pp. 83143). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
*Chapuis, J. C. (2000). Instrumentos musicales de vidrio [Glass musical instruments]. Investigación y Ciencia, 288, 1819.Google Scholar
Chernov, G. V. (1969). Linguistic problems in the compression of speech in simultaneous interpretation. Tetradi Perevodchika, 6, 5265.Google Scholar
*Chodorow, M., Tetreault, J., & Han, N. (2007). Detection of grammatical errors involving prepositions. Paper presented at the 4th A CL-SIGSEM Workshop on Prepositions, Prague, Association for Computational Linguistics.Google Scholar
Christoffels, I. K., & de Groot, A. M. B. (2005). Simultaneous interpreting: A cognitive perspective. In Kroll, J. F. & de Groot, A. M. B. (Eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches (pp. 454479). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Christoffels, I. K., de Groot, A. M. B., & Kroll, J. F. (2006). Memory and language skills in simultaneous interpreters: The role of expertise and language proficiency. Journal of Memory and Language, 54, 324345.Google Scholar
Christoffels, I. K., de Groot, A. M. B., & Waldorp, L. J. (2003). Basic skills in a complex task: A graphical model relating memory and lexical retrieval to simultaneous interpreting. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 6, 201211.Google Scholar
Colzato, L., Bajo, M. T., van den Wildenberg, W., Paolieri, D, Nieuwenhuis, S., La Heij, W., et al. (2008). How does bilingualism improve executive control? A comparison of active and reactive inhibition mechanism. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 34, 302312.Google Scholar
Costa, A., Hernández, M., Costa-Faidella, J., & Sebastián-Galles, N. (2009). On the bilingual advantage in conflict processing: Now you see it, now you don't. Cognition, 113, 135149.Google Scholar
Costa, A., Hernández, M., & Sebastián-Gallés, N. (2008). Bilingualism aids conflict resolution: Evidence from ANT task. Cognition, 106, 5986.Google Scholar
Dancette, J. (1997). Mapping meaning and comprehension in translation: Theoretical and experimental issues. In Danks, J., Shreve, G., Fountain, S., & McBeath, M. (Eds.), Cognitive processes in translation and interpreting. Applied psychology (Vol. 3, pp. 77103). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
Daneman, M., & Carpenter, J. (1980). Individual differences in working memory and reading. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 19, 450466.Google Scholar
Daneman, M., & Merikle, P. M. (1996). Working memory and language comprehension: A meta-analysis. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 3, 422433.Google Scholar
Daneman, M., & Stainton, M. (1993). The generation effect in reading and proofreading. Is it easier or harder to detect errors in one's own writing? Reading and Writing, 5, 297313.Google Scholar
Dillinger, M. (1994). Comprehension during interpreting. What do interpreters know that bilinguals don't? In Lambert, S. & Moser-Mercer, B. (Eds.), Bridging the gap: Empirical research in simultaneous interpretation (pp. 155189). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
Ericson, K. A. (2000). Expertise in interpreting. An expert-performance perspective. Interpreting, 5, 187220.Google Scholar
Fabbro, F., & Daró, V. (1995). Delayed auditory feedback in polyglot simultaneous interpreters. Brain and Language, 48, 309319.Google Scholar
Fabbro, F., Gran, B., & Gran, L. (1991). Hemispheric specialization for semantic and syntactic components of language in simultaneous interpreters. Brain and Language, 41, 142.Google Scholar
Faigley, L., & Witte, S. (1981). Analyzing revision. College Composition and Communication, 37, 1653.Google Scholar
Frisch, S., Hahne, A., & Friederici, A. D. (2004). Word category and verb–argument structure information in the dynamics of parsing. Cognition, 91, 191219.Google Scholar
Galli, C. (1990). Simultaneous interpretation in medical conferences: A case-study. In Gran, L. & Taylor, C. (Eds.), Aspects of applied and experimental research on conferences interpretation (pp. 6182). Udine, Italy: Campanotto Editore.Google Scholar
Gambrell, L., & Bales, R. (1986). Mental imagery and the comprehension-monitoring performance of fourth and fifth grade poor readers. Reading Research Quarterly, 21, 454464.Google Scholar
Gernsbacher, M., & Shlesinger, M. (1997). The proposed role of suppression in simultaneous interpretation. Interpreting, 2, 119140.Google Scholar
Gerver, D. (1969). The effects of source language presentation rate on the performance of simultaneous conference interpreters. In Foulke, E. (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2nd Louisville Conference on Rate and/or Frequency Controlled Speech (pp. 162184). Louisville, KY: University of Louisville.Google Scholar
Gerver, D. (1974). Simultaneous listening and speaking and the retention of prose. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 26, 337342.Google Scholar
Gerver, D. (1976). Empirical studies of simultaneous interpretation: A review and a model. In Briskin, R. W. (Ed.), Translation: Applications and research (pp. 165207). New York: Gardner Press.Google Scholar
Gerver, D., Longley, P. E., Long, J., & Lambert, S. (1984). Selecting trainee conference interpreters: A preliminary study. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 57, 1731.Google Scholar
Gile, D. (1994). The process-oriented approach in translation training. In Dollerup, C. & Lindegaard, A. (Eds.), Teaching translation and interpreting (Vol. 2, pp. 197–102). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
Gile, D. (Ed.). (1995/2009). Basic concepts and models for interpreter and translator training. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
Gile, D. (1997). Conference interpreting as a cognitive management problem. In Danks, J. H., Shreve, G. M., Fountain, S. B., & McBeath, M. K. (Eds.), Cognitive processes in translation and interpretation (pp. 196214). Thousand Oaks. CA: Sage.Google Scholar
Gollan, T., Montoya, R., & Werner, G. (2002). Semantic and letter fluency in Spanish–English bilinguals. Neuropsychology, 16, 562576.Google Scholar
*Griffin, C. (1999). Second time round. In King, J. R. (Ed.), Parallel text-short stories in Spanish (pp. 186201). London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
*Grossman, E. (1999). María dos Prazeres. In King, J. R. (Ed.), Parallel text-short stories in Spanish (pp. 76103). London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
Guo, J., Guo, T., Yan, Y., Jiang, N., & Peng, D. (2009). ERP evidence for different strategies employed by native speakers and L2 learners in sentence processing. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 22, 123134.Google Scholar
Hacker, D. J., Plumb, C., Butterfield, E. C., Quathamer, D., & Heineken, E. (1994). Text revision: Detection and correction of errors. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86, 6578.Google Scholar
Hahne, A. (2001). What's different in second-language processing? Evidence from event-related brain potentials. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 30, 251266.Google Scholar
Hahne, A., & Friederici, A. D. (2001). Processing a second language: Late learners’ comprehension mechanisms as revealed by event-related brain potentials. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 4, 123141.Google Scholar
Hromosová, A. (1972). A study of memory in interpreting. Acta Univeritatis, 17 (November), III.Google Scholar
Ivanova, I. (1999). Discourse processing during simultaneous interpreting. An expertise approach. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
Ivanova, I., & Costa, A. (2008). Does bilingualism hamper lexical access in speech production? Acta Psychologica, 127, 277288.Google Scholar
Jiang, N. (2004). Morphological insensitivity in second language processing. Applied Psycholinguistics, 25, 603634.Google Scholar
Jiang, N. (2007). Selective integration of linguistic knowledge in adult second language learning. Language Learning, 57, 133.Google Scholar
Jones, R. (Ed.). (1998). Conference interpreting explained. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.Google Scholar
Just, M. A., & Carpenter, P. A. (1980). A theory of reading: From eye fixations to comprehension. Psychological Review, 87, 329354.Google Scholar
Kaan, E., & Swaab, T. Y. (2003). Repair, revision and complexity in syntactic analysis: An electrophysiological differentiation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 15, 98110.Google Scholar
*King, J. K. (1999). The possessed. In King, J. R. (Ed.), Parallel text-short stories in Spanish (pp. 164183). London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
Kintsch, W., & van Dijk, T. A. (1978). Toward a model of text comprehension and production. Psychological Review, 85, 363394.Google Scholar
Köpke, B. (Ed.). (2009). Approche neuropsycholinguistique de la gestion des langues chez le sujet plurilingue. Dossier de synthèse présenté pour l'obtention de l'Habilitation à diriger des recherches. Toulouse: Université de Toulouse Le Mirail.Google Scholar
*Langride, W. H. R. (2000). Vacunas comestibles [Eatable vaccines]. Investigación y Ciencia, 58–59.Google Scholar
*Larsen, W. H. R. (2000). Alimentación y salud de los Indígenas en las colonias Americanas [Nutrition and health of indians in american estates]. Investigación y Ciencia, 288, 7677.Google Scholar
Larigauderie, P., Gaonac'h, D., & Lacroix, N. (1998). Working memory and error detection in texts: What are the roles of the central executive and the phonological loop? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 12, 505527.Google Scholar
Lederer, M. (Ed.). (1994/2003). Translation: The interpretive model. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.Google Scholar
Lee, T. (1999). Speech proportion and accuracy in simultaneous interpretation from English into Korean. Meta, 44, 260267.Google Scholar
Lee-Sammons, W. H., & Whitney, P. (1991). Reading perspectives and memory for text: An individual differences analysis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 17, 10741081.Google Scholar
Levy, B. A., & Begin, J. (1984). Proofreading familiar text: Allocating resources to perceptual and conceptual processes. Memory & Cognition, 12, 621632.Google Scholar
Liu, M., Schallert, D., & Carroll, P. (2004). Working memory and expertise in simultaneous interpreting. Interpreting, 6, 1942.Google Scholar
Long, D. L., & Chong, J. L. (2001). Comprehension skill and global coherence: A paradoxical picture of poor comprehenders’ abilities. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 27, 14241429.Google Scholar
Macizo, P., & Bajo, M. T. (2004). When translation makes the difference: Sentence processing in reading and translation. Psicológica, 25, 181205.Google Scholar
Macizo, P., & Bajo, M. T. (2006). Reading for repetition and reading for translation: Do they involve the same processes? Cognition, 99, 134.Google Scholar
Macizo, P., Bajo, M. T., & Martín, M. C. (2010). Inhibitory processes in bilingual language comprehension: Evidence from Spanish–English interlexical homographs. Journal of Memory and Language, 63, 232244.Google Scholar
Mackintosh, J. (1985). The Kintsch and Van Dijk model of discourse comprehension and production applied to the interpretation process. Meta: Translators’ Journal, 30, 3743.Google Scholar
McCutchen, D., Francis, M., & Kerr, S. (1997). Revising for meaning: Effects of knowledge and strategy. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89, 667676.Google Scholar
Meuleman, C., & Van Besien, F. (2009). Coping with extreme speech conditions in simultaneous interpreting. Interpreting, 11, 2034.Google Scholar
Miyake, A., Just, M. A., & Carpenter, P. A. (1994). Working memory constraints on the resolution of lexical ambiguity: Maintaining multiple interpretations in neutral contexts. Journal of Memory and Language, 33, 175202.Google Scholar
Moser-Mercer, B. (2008). Skill acquisition in interpreting: A human performance perspective. Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 2, 128.Google Scholar
Oakhill, J. V. (1982). Constructive processes in skilled and less-skilled comprehenders’ memory for sentences. British Journal of Psychology, 73, 1320.Google Scholar
Oakhill, J. V. (1984). Inferential and memory skills in children's comprehension of stories. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 54, 3139.Google Scholar
Oakhill, J., Hartt, J., & Samols, D. (2005). Levels of comprehension monitoring and working memory in good and poor comprehenders. Reading and Writing, 18, 657686.Google Scholar
Oxford University Press. (Ed.). (2004). Oxford Quick Placement Test. Oxford: Author.Google Scholar
Padilla, F., Bajo, M. T., & Macizo, P. (2005). Articulatory suppression in language interpretation: Working memory, dual tasking and word knowledge. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 8, 207219.Google Scholar
Padilla, P. (1995). Procesos de atención y memoria en interpretación de lenguas. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Granada.Google Scholar
Padilla, P., Bajo, M. T., Cañas, J. J., & Padilla, F. (1995). Cognitive processes of memory in simultaneous interpretation. In Tommola, J. (Ed.), Topics in interpreting research (pp. 6171). Turku, Finland: Painosalama OY.Google Scholar
Padilla, P., Macizo, P., & Bajo, T. (Eds.). (2007). Tareas de traducción e interpretación desde una perspectiva cognitiva. Una propuesta integradora. Granada: Editorial Atrio.Google Scholar
Palladino, P., Cornoldi, C., de Beni, R., & Pazzaglia, F. (2001). Working memory and updating processes in reading comprehension. Memory and Cognition, 29, 344354.Google Scholar
Perfetti, C. A. & Hart, L. A. (2001). The lexical bases of comprehension skill. In Gorfien, D. (Ed.), On the consequences of meaning selection (pp. 6786). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
Piolat, A., Roussey, J. Y., Olive, T., & Amada, M. (2004). Processing time and cognitive effort in revision: Effects of error type and of working memory capacity. In Allal, L., Chanquoy, L., & Largy, P. (Eds.), Revision: Cognitive and instructional processes (pp. 2138). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar
Roberts, P., Garcia, L., Desrochers, A., & Hernández, D. (2002). English performance of proficient bilingual adults on the Boston Naming Test. Aphasiology, 16, 635645.Google Scholar
Roussey, J., & Piolat, A. (2008). Critical reading effort during text revision. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 20, 765792.Google Scholar
Ruiz, C., Paredes, N., Macizo, P., & Bajo, M. T. (2008). Activation of lexical and syntactic target language properties in translation. Acta Psychologica, 128, 490500.Google Scholar
Scovel, T. (1998). Psycholinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Segalowitz, N., & Hulstijn, J. (2005). Automaticity in bilingualism and second language learning. In Kroll, J. F. & De Groot, A. M. B. (Eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches (pp. 371388) Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Segalowitz, N., & Segalowitz, S. J. (1993). Skilled performance, practice, and the differentiation of speed-up from automatization effects: Evidence from second language word recognition. Applied Psycholinguistics, 14, 369385.Google Scholar
Seleskovitch, D., & Lederer, M. (1984). Interpreter pour traduire. Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne.Google Scholar
Shlesinger, M. (2003). Effects of presentation rate on working memory in simultaneous interpreting. Interpreter's Newsletters, 12, 3749.Google Scholar
Sommers, N. (1980). Revision strategies of student writers and experienced adult writers. College Composition and Communication, 31, 378388.Google Scholar
Tokowicz, N., & MacWhinney, B. (2005). Implicit vs. explicit measures of sensitivity to violations in L2 grammar: An event-related potential investigation. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 27, 173204.Google Scholar
Tommola, J., & Helevä, M. (1998). Language direction and source text complexity: Effects on trainee performance in simultaneous interpreting. In Bowker, L., Cronin, M., Kenny, D., & Pearson, J. (Eds.), Unity in diversity? Current trends in translation studies (pp. 177186). Manchester: St. Jerome.Google Scholar
Winograd, P., & Johnston, P. (1982). Comprehension monitoring and the error detection paradigm. Journal of Literacy Research, 14, 6176.Google Scholar
Yuill, N. M., Oakhill, J. V., & Parkin, A. J. (1989). Working memory, comprehension ability and the resolution of text anomaly. British Journal of Psychology, 80, 351361.Google Scholar