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Poll: Are women better translators than men?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 15:51
SITE STAFF
Feb 2, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are women better translators than men?".

This poll was originally submitted by Niraja Nanjundan

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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diana bb  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 01:51
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Mildly speaking... Feb 2, 2006

I find this poll ridiculous.

Diana


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 23:51
Agree with Diana Feb 2, 2006

.

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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 01:51
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Exactly Feb 2, 2006

diana bb wrote:
I find this poll ridiculous.


And I find the percentage of `I don't know' astonishing. Surely, translation skills aren't gender-dependent. Yes, there are very very rare cases when gender may matter, but these aren't related to skills or anything.

I would go even farther than Diana and call this poll `abusive'.

[Edited at 2006-02-02 10:45]


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Giovanna Graziani  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:51
Member (2002)
German to Italian
+ ...
agree, and I won't answer! Feb 2, 2006

Shall we propose a poll asking whether blond people are better translators than black-haired people ??

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Sarah McGrane Gonzalez
Local time: 23:51
Spanish to English
Impossible to classify Feb 2, 2006

The quality of a translator depends on so many factors and of course the linguistic ability of that man or women. As we are all aware linguistic ability is an attribute we acquire from education, family and many other contributing factors and therefore it would be ridiculous to suggest a correlation with gender.

Is Jane Austen a better writer than Charles Dickens because she as a women? You get my point.

On a personal level, I know a wide range of friends and colleagues who, were one to form a league table would fall in a random fashion throughout mixing both men and women. I would not be so foolish as to crudely classify them by gender subsequently.

There's my 2p

Sarah


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:51
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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Quality is not a gender issue Feb 2, 2006

but number of practitioners at any given historical time might be, IMHO.

I remember an observation made elsewhere in which a gradual shift of numbers from predominantly male to predominantly female among interpreters since the Nüremberg trials was noted.

Perhaps "better" was not the appropriate word?


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Angela&Claudio
Italy
Local time: 00:51
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
But do we all see it that way? Feb 2, 2006

I think too that we all have the same capabilities for doing most jobs. But do we all see it that way? Probably this is just the way we see it in Western countries, what about other parts of the world?
I wouldn't say the poll is ridiculous; I would actually be curious to know whether outsourcers in different parts of the world choose a translator based on gender.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 18:51
SITE FOUNDER
Great point, AngelaMaria. Feb 2, 2006

AngelaMaria wrote:

I wouldn't say the poll is ridiculous; I would actually be curious to know whether outsourcers in different parts of the world choose a translator based on gender.

Good insight. One of the things that make quick polls interesting is the opportunity to compare what you think to what others think.


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David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:51
Spanish to English
Scientific question or ?? Feb 2, 2006

[quote]ProZ.com Staff wrote:

"Are women better translators than men"

I agree it is a ridiculous question, but it has to be taken lightheartedly, as unless a controlled study is done using a panel of "expert" translators reviewing translations "blind" i.e. not knowing anything about the translator at all and awarding points on a defined scale, all the answers given will be pure conjecture, and most likely,biased.


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Henk Peelen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:51
Member (2002)
German to Dutch
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good topic and not ridiculous, although the question might be a little Feb 2, 2006

I find it a good topic because people might find quality differences due to the field they're working in.
Lot of to translate stuff is very tech and is often translated by men before being proofread by women.
So, in my opinion still the "bricklayer" and the more intuitive style-oriented "caring nurse"!

The input of one of them could easily be underestimated, leading a person to the conclusion one of them would be better.
Probably in the culinary, educational and medical field, more women are translating.



That said I think the topic is very usefull, and although I think there's no difference, anyway no big one, I voted "don't know" because some kind of qualities are difficult to measure on a 1-10 scale.


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
They are equal Feb 2, 2006

I am flabbergasted by this politically correct majority. I was actually looking for "it depends", and since I didn't find it I voted "i don't know".

How can male and female translators could ever be 'equal', I agree that the word 'better' doesn´t seem appropriate, but 'equal' is likely inappropriate.

I think the direction of the poll is questionable, maybe it would be more interesting to analyze individual skills, which may be different due to location, education, etc.

For example, I believe that delivering is more important than details. I would like to know what would male/female translators would prioritize.

Fred


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:51
Member (2005)
Italian to English
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I voted yes Feb 2, 2006

Because women are better than men at everything.
Ask the wife, she knows.


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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:51
Italian to English
+ ...
Poll: Are women better translators than men? Feb 2, 2006

Clearly.

No, seriously - at the risk of opening a can of worms - it would be interesting to know whether women and men approach a translation in different ways. Are men faster? Are women more careful? Do men take more risks?


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:51
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
poll is not ridiculous Feb 2, 2006

I'm sorry to disagree with what appears to be the majority here but I think this poll is quite reasonable for several reasons.

What I DO find ridiculous is the age of political correctness we appear to live in where to merely suggest that one sex may be inherently better at doing something than another is considered a taboo.

I personally believe that there may be gender factors that affect one's ability to do one's job. It is well known, for example, that women are far superior to men at doing several things at once, while men, generally, are better at navigational tasks and jobs that are physically demanding in certain ways.

These are general statements about the sexes however the only way to tell whether a female translator is better than a male one is to compare their work. This goes for all jobs.

BUT...as rational human beings we may be interested in studying the *overall* statistics (not that there is any way to do this in our case). For example, we could do a study of a group of people in order to establish whether men or women are, generally speaking, better at certain tasks. Studies of this sort are done almost daily and they reveal massive differences between the sexes in emotional, psychological, physical and other aspects. To suggest that these differences are irrelevant when it comes to our jobs (something we spend half our lives doing)...well, to utilize an overutilized word (c) http://www.proz.com/?sp=partprof&eid_s=61183 that is ridiculous

No amount of political correctness (read censorship) can change the fact that we are different.

And for the record, I am a man and I voted "yes".

[Edited at 2006-02-02 12:38]


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