"Exploring cognition in computer-assisted interpreting – new insights and open questions"

by Dr Bianca Prandi, University of Innsbruck

Update: the event has now finished (Mar 4th 2022).


Cognitive load (CL) has been at the core of academic discourse on in-process computer-assisted interpreting (CAI). In this respect, two opposite and complementary hypotheses have emerged: on the one hand, it has been postulated that using a CAI tool during interpreting might entail additional CL; on the other hand, it has been suggested that CAI tools may to some extent facilitate the interpreting process by providing targeted support for individual problem triggers such as numerals, specialised terminology, named entities and abbreviations, thus lowering local CL. Assessing the impact of in-process CAI tool use on the CL experienced during interpreting may have major implications for interpreters, both in their choice of CAI tools and in their interaction with said tools, and it may inform interpreter-centric CAI tool development.

Yet, CAI research has thus far mostly focused on assessing the product of CAI, mainly adopting performance measures such as accuracy metrics. What is currently lacking is an empirically validated methodology for the assessment of the impact of CAI tools on CL through the combined collection of product and process data.

In my talk, I will present the methodology I adopted in my doctoral research to address this limitation, discuss the potential implications of process-oriented CAI research for professional practice, interpreter training and CAI tool development, and conclude by identifying open questions and additional approaches which may prove beneficial in the exploration of cognition in interpreting supported by CAI tools.

Speaker’s bio

Bianca Prandi is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in Interpreting Studies at the University of Innsbruck. She holds a PhD in Translation Studies from the University of Mainz. Her doctoral work explored the process of computer-assisted interpreting (CAI) through eyetracking and derived its methods from Translation Process Research.

Bianca has been a CAI tool trainer for several years and has taught workshops and seminars on this topic for professional associations and training institutions. She was a guest lecturer for the Certificate Course on Interpreting with new technologies at the Postgraduate Center of the University of Vienna. She’s an active conference interpreter and translator (A: IT, B: EN/DE) and the co-founder of InterpreMY, a research-based interpreter training initiative created in 2020.


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