BBLTranslation promotes the use of inclusive language, as the appeal for linguistic equality grows

Here at BBLTranslation, we carry out the best practices and strategies to comply with gender equality, goal no.5 of SDGs.

Not only we pride ourselves on our diverse team of translators and interpreters, but we carry out a number of strategies, when speaking or writing in different languages, to be more gender-inclusive towards our clients as well.

Whether this relates to gender, age or specialities, we represent people of all backgrounds, talents and of course, languages. It is furthermore fundamental to us that our work both increases awareness of, and promotes the presence of inclusive language within the company’s services.

Recently, inclusive language has been making its way onto the linguistic scene more than ever. The concept refers to the practice of using language which neither offends nor promotes inequality for a certain group or community of people, where the principal goal is communicative egalitarianism.  Although seeking to avoid prejudice of all forms, such as race or class, current implementations and focuses on inclusive language have predominantly been centred on gender. In languages such as English, where articles do not adhere to a gendered system, it seems much less complex to address varying groups equally. However, in languages like Spanish, where articles have a strict masculine/feminine nature, it can be a lot more complicated.

So, what are some of the challenges faced in a gender-based language, and how can they be resolved? Let’s take Spanish as the example. A very common instance of language inequality, is work-place terminology and forms of address. Language such as ‘los directores’ could throw up problems for a company. Having used this masculine article, ‘los’, it is implied that only male employees could be the directors of a company – which, clearly, is not the case. So, a linguistic solution is needed. A possible measure to take would be to address the same group of people, but as a collective, rather than individuals. For example, ‘la dirección’. Other solutions, where the main goal is to eradicate any presence of gender influence, are using impersonal structures, relative pronouns like ‘quienes’, and perhaps one of the most recent additions – the erasing of ‘o’ or ‘a’, and replacing with characters like ‘x’ or ‘@’ (e.g. chic@s).

For a language like English, it is a slightly different story. Despite lacking gender-bound articles, it does contain a number of professions that have ‘man’ or ‘woman’ in the name, or altered suffixes to demonstrate difference. Examples include ‘policeman’ and ‘actress’, in which a specific gender has been assigned to each. In more modern times, preference lies with using the original male term for everyone, such as ‘actor’, in order to reinforce the equality and lack of distinction between genders. Similarly, when addressing an individual who formerly would have been known as ‘he’ or ‘she’, it is advisable to refer to them as ‘they’ – avoiding any possible offense or misunderstanding.

One crucial assurance that can be made by BBLTranslation, is that the equality of services for clients is a top priority. Amongst the numerous services provided by the company, every client that seeks help in any format is sure to receive the same professionalism, respect and dedication from BBLTranslation, regardless of their gender or any other personal characteristics.

Considering its growing importance and impact in current life, it would be interesting to discover how inclusive language is recognised among non-human intelligence. At the end of the day, there are few things more current than technology. But can Google understand this inclusive language in search? Well, research has been carried out to see if Google can detect inclusive language as such, rather than incorrect grammar. For instance, the correct form of address for any non-binary person would be ‘they’, but since it is nonetheless discussing an individual person, surely the third person singular verb would follow, right? ‘They is releasing an album’. Although sounding a little unnatural, grammatically it is sound, but how would Google react? John Mueller states his opinion that, even though our systems work with grammar-based decision-making processes like these every day, this kind of alteration may take some getting used to for technologies such as Google, hopefully propelling us into a more egalitarian future.

BBLTranslation is a boutique translation, interpretation and legalisation company which ensures gender neutrality in their work process and services. BBLTranslation offers specialised resources in the technical, marketing, legal and technology sectors and prides itself on of zero leaks of confidential information.

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