The construct of cognitive load in interpreting and its measurement

Sijia Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    This article attempts to contribute to the study of cognitive load in interpreting by presenting an in-depth discussion of the construct and its measurement. Borrowing from mental workload and Cognitive Load Theory research, cognitive load in interpreting is defined as the portion of an interpreter’s limited cognitive capacity devoted to performing an interpreting task in a certain environment. The article then presents a methodological discussion on how to measure cognitive load, focusing on the major categories of cognitive load measures and a series of selection criteria. Considering that existing studies only focus on simultaneous interpreting, the article introduces some techniques that are potentially useful for measuring cognitive load in consecutive interpreting, including the NASA Task Load Index (NASA-TLX), pen recording, and eye tracking.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)640-657
    Number of pages18
    JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translatology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • cognitive load
    • interpreting
    • measurement
    • NASA-TLX
    • pen recording
    • eye tracking


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