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When the ear leads the eye – the use of text during simultaneous interpretation

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Seeber Kilian G., Keller Laura, Hervais-Adelman Alexis,
Project Exploring audio-motor integration: a novel approach to overcoming hearing impairment
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
Volume (Issue) 35(10)
Page(s) 1480 - 1494
Title of proceedings Language, Cognition and Neuroscience
DOI 10.1080/23273798.2020.1799045

Open Access

Type of Open Access Green OA Embargo (Freely available via Repository after an embargo)


In our study we analyse the online processing of visual-verbal input during simultaneous interpreting with text. To that end, we compared 15 professional interpreters' eye movements during simultaneous interpreting with text (SIMTXT) to a baseline collected during reading while listening (RWL). We found that interpreters have a preference for a visual lead during RWL, following the pattern well-documented in silent and oral reading studies. During SIMTXT, in contrast, interpreters show a clear preference for a visual lag. We tentatively conclude that during SIMTXT the visual input might be used first and foremost to support the production of the output rather than the comprehension of the input. Importantly, we submit that the availability of the written text of the orally presented discourse might negatively affect predictive processing.