The present study investigates the role of memory skills (working memory and short-term memory), second language (L2) proficiency, and lexical retrieval efficiency in the development of consecutive interpreting (CI) competence. Data from 61 beginner student interpreters (unbalanced Chinese-English bilinguals) indicate that only working memory and L2 proficiency measured at the beginning of interpreting training significantly correlate with CI performances measured at both the beginning and end of the training period. As for the development of CI competence, only L2 proficiency makes a significant contribution to accounting for the variance in CI performance after removing effects of prior CI skills. The data suggest that L2 proficiency is probably the most important predictor of the development of CI competence in unbalanced beginner student interpreters and that short-term memory and working memory may play different roles in CI performance. Implications for practice in interpreting training are briefly discussed.
- consecutive interpreting development
- individual differences
- language proficiency
- working memory
- lexical retrieval