The human brain is a dynamic organ which is molded throughout life by each individual’s experiences. This has been shown for a range of skills, from juggling to speaking multiple languages, and in both cognitive abilities and brain structure. The present talk will examine how expertise and training in conference interpreting affect cognitive processes and brain structure.

I will focus on three questions. First, what is the cognitive profile of conference interpreters, that is, in what abilities do they show enhancements? Second, did they always have those abilities, or did they gain them through training and experience? And third, how does the brain of a conference interpreter change during training?

The answers to these questions in turn raise myriad other questions. I will conclude the talk by presenting my plans for a research program on dialogue interpreting as well as a small study to probe cognitive differences between interpreters and translators.