The role of mental imagery in consecutive interpreting: A simulation account


3rd International Conference on Translation, Interpreting & Cognition, Forli, Italy, 2 - 05 November 2021

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Forli
  • Country: Italy
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Mental imagery is the mind’s ability to evoke multisensory and motor experiences in the absence of actual, external stimuli. Following the heated debate about the nature of mental images in the late 1960s, the rise of 4E cognition has rekindled the interest in imagery within the framework of “sensorimotor simulation”, i.e., the partial (re)activation of an original sensorimotor experience (Barsalou, 1999). A simulation account of memory (Ianì, 2019), for example, views retrieval as a reinstatement of the original information with contextual and sensorimotor details (e.g., Buckner & Wheeler, 2001) and thus explains the critical role of imagery in working memory (Marre et al., 2021). In the current study, we investigate the role of visual and auditory mental imagery in consecutive interpreting, a product-oriented and ecologically valid activity with exacting memory demands and high individual variability (Stachowiak-Szymczak, 2019). 38 undergraduate students (Mage = 22.26, SD = 3.21, Turkish as A and English as B language) at the translation and interpreting departments of three different universities were asked to fill in four imagery questionnaires (Vividness of Imagery Questionnaire, Gordon’s Test of Visual Imagery Control, The Spontaneous Use of Imagery Scale, and The Bucknell Auditory Imagery Scale) and took an online version of the mental rotation test. Later, they were asked to interpret ten speeches varying in concreteness, difficulty, and familiarity consecutively from English into Turkish without notes. To measure information transfer in the interpreting process, the content accuracy of interpreting outputs was assessed by two external evaluators based on the idea unit scoring protocol which was developed following the idea unit generation experiment of Dunlosky et al. (2011). Data will be analysed with linear mixed-effects models with the main prediction that strength of visual and/or auditory imagery predicts better performance in consecutive interpreting. Data associated with this study can be retrieved at