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Stress, cognitive, emotional and ergonomic demands in interpreting and translation A review of physiological studies

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author GieshoffAnne Catherine, LehrCaroline, Hunziker HeebAndrea,
Project Cognitive Load in Interpreting and Translation (CLINT)
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Cognitive Linguistic Studies
Volume (Issue) 8(2)
Page(s) 404 - 439
Title of proceedings Cognitive Linguistic Studies
DOI 10.1075/cogls.00084.gie

Open Access

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


The autonomic nervous system is responsible for modulating peripheral functions in the human body and consists of sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. Its activation affects, among other things, heart rate, respiratory rate, salivation, perspiration, pupillary dilation, and blink rate. For some years now, physiological measurements have found their way into interpreting and translation studies to investigate, in particular, cognitive, emotional and ergonomic demands and stress in translating, interpreting and post-editing. We conducted a meta-review of publications from 1990 until 2020 in order to investigate the relevance of (a) the four constructs of emotional, cognitive and ergonomic demands and physiological stress and of (b) physiological data for translation and interpreting research. With our selection of search terms, we identified 369 publications investigating one of the four constructs, of which 28 use physiological data. Analysis of the 28 studies shows a tendency towards triangulating physiological with other types of data, which reflects the complexity of the investigated tasks and constructs. Moreover, there seems to be an effort to increase sample size, which is an important step towards more robust results in quantitative research in the field.