Cerebral lateralization in simultaneous interpretation

Franco Fabbro, Laura Gran, Gianpaolo Basso, Antonio Bava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cerebral asymmetries for L1 (Italian), L2 (English), and L3 (French, German, Spanish, or Russian) were studied, by using a verbal-manual interference paradigm, in a group of Italian right-handed polyglot female students at the Scuola Superiore di Lingue Moderne per Interpreti e Traduttori (SSLM-School for Interpreters and Translators) of the University of Trieste and in a control group of right-handed monolingual female students at the Medical School of the University of Trieste. In an automatic speech production task no significant cerebral lateralization was found for the mother tongue (L1) either in the interpreting students or in the control group; the interpreting students were not significantly lateralized for the third language (L3), while weak left hemispheric lateralization was shown for L2. A significantly higher degree of verbal-manual interference was found for L1 than for L2 and L3. A significantly higher disruption rate occurred in the meaning-based mode of simultaneous interpretation (from L2 into L1 and vice versa) than in the word-for-word mode (from L2 into L1 and vice versa). No significant overall or hemispheric differences were found during simultaneous interpretation from L1 into L2 or from L2 into L1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-89
Number of pages21
JournalBrain and Language
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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