Listening and comprehension in interpreting: Questions that remain open

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4 Scopus citations


The study of skilled listening comprehension shows that listening is a complex, dynamic, and interactive process that enables listeners to understand a message and respond adequately to the requirements of communicative interaction. Individual factors, such as language proficiency, working memory capacity, and previous knowledge, interact in the listening process and performance. Moreover, skilled listeners deploy controlled strategies directed at making the best use of their abilities to achieve a specific communicative goal. However, our understanding of individual variables, such as language proficiency, topic-specific knowledge, and the strategies that interpreters use when listening for interpreting, remain mostly unexplored. This article presents listening comprehension as a goal-directed activity and articulates recent research on individual factors involved in listening comprehension with current conceptions of comprehension for interpreting. This review identifies relevant gaps in our understanding about the comprehension process in interpreting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-323
Number of pages20
JournalTranslation and Interpreting Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 9 Oct 2020


  • Individual factors
  • L2 listening
  • Listening comprehension
  • Process research
  • Simultaneous interpreting


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