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"Diversity" in the translation industry
Thread poster: Gerard Barry

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:40
Member (2018)
French to English
. Oct 3

I can't remember the last time I saw a female courier or food delivery rider, for instance, to name but two jobs which I can imagine are not very well paid.

Women tend to avoid those sectors because of the security risk. You see, earning money is pretty complicated for us.


P.L.F.Persio
Becca Resnik
Sarah Maidstone
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Security Oct 3

Kay Denney wrote:


I can't remember the last time I saw a female courier or food delivery rider, for instance, to name but two jobs which I can imagine are not very well paid.

Women tend to avoid those sectors because of the security risk. You see, earning money is pretty complicated for us.


I would think the security risk is the same for men as it is for women. Anyway I often see women UPS delivery drivers.

That said, I don't think ANY woman could carry a washing machine up 4 flights of stairs, on her back, by herself, as was recently done for me by a very large strong man.


Gerard Barry
 

expressisverbis
Portugal
Local time: 04:40
Member (2015)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Who is using sexism against who? Oct 3

Gerard Barry wrote:

As regards men in highly-paid positions, bear in mind that most of these men are married to women who benefit enormously from the high salaries earned by their husbands. It's well documented that, when looking for a partner, women pay close attention to income and social status.



I agree with Chris, I still have not read any example or experience of sexism or any type of discrimination from female translators against you.
I would like to see one just to understand your views.
Having this discussion in the terms you put, it will lead absolutely nowhere.
You may not intend harm, but the bottom line is you are being offensive. Treating a person unfairly because of his or her sex is a form of sexism.
So, if you have any issues with female translators at your workplace, my advice is to solve or discuss it in private, not in public.


P.L.F.Persio
Sheila Wilson
Becca Resnik
Irene McClure
ahartje
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
Washing machines Oct 3

Tom, that story gives me the perfect chance to digress, but it’s not really digression or off topic, since “male/female” and now “washing machine” are all part of the tale, although I admit the link is tenuous:

Many moons ago I ordered a fridge in Barcelona, and the huge hefty bloke took it up SIX flights of stairs on his back. As he was loading up the old fridge to go back downstairs again, he told me he occasionally did washing machines, but fridges, now fridges, they we
... See more
Tom, that story gives me the perfect chance to digress, but it’s not really digression or off topic, since “male/female” and now “washing machine” are all part of the tale, although I admit the link is tenuous:

Many moons ago I ordered a fridge in Barcelona, and the huge hefty bloke took it up SIX flights of stairs on his back. As he was loading up the old fridge to go back downstairs again, he told me he occasionally did washing machines, but fridges, now fridges, they were his speciality, fridges were what he did best, fridges were his thing, and given the choice he’d never pass over a fridge for a washing machine, never ever. Fridges and washing machines just aren’t the same, he told me, as I was getting out the sponduliks to pay him, and I was thinking, No, they aren’t, you keep food in one, and you wash your clothes in the other, but saying Oh, is that right, well, well, you don’t say, so here you are, and thanks a lot, but …

I just could not get rid of this bloke. With the old fridge already harnessed to his back, he stood there with his upper body bent forward at a 20º angle and launched into an unsolicited 30-minute comparison of the trials and tribulations of carrying fridges and/or washing machines, though not at the same time, obviously, on one’s back. He had spent the guts of thirty years hauling kitchen appliances up and down people’s stairs, and by Christ did he want to talk about it. I kept waiting for the phone to ring to give me an excuse to cut it short. I looked at my watch every minute or so. I walked over into the kitchen every so often so it looked like I was checking on the food I wasn’t cooking. I kept glancing down the stairs, half-hoping a group of masked men with knives would run up. I thought of dropping to the floor in a dead faint. I thought of torching the flat. In the end the phone did ring, and I waved him away, and off he lumbered downstairs.

I thought I’d seen the last of him.

At the time I had a very attractive American girlfriend, and a few days later we went to a bar down the road. As we sat down at a table, whom should I see but Fridge Man. I froze (geddit?). And where was he? I kid you not, he was at the horizontal fridge next to the bar, the fridge they have in any Spanish bar where the kids go to pick out their ice lollies while the parents get in a few drinks at the counter. And what was he doing? Well, it could best be described as assaulting a defenceless fridge, or at the very least groping it or interfering with it, inhaling and exhaling softly, eyes narrowing expectantly as he slid those horizontal panels gently back and forth with his rough, experienced, calloused hands, checking slide times, or end-of-stroke, or friction, or whatever the frig.

Please God he doesn’t recognise me, I thought. But no, too late, he had, and over he came, sensing another real live opportunity to talk some serious fridge, and a gorgeous girl to boot. Well, I greeted him and introduced them, and it wasn’t long before she was trapped there in her seat, listening to him going on about threshold temperatures, frost reduction and the perils of placing cooked and uncooked meat in close proximity. I can still remember her bemused stare as I headed for the bar, whispering "Good luck, babe". I was planning to dump her anyway, so I didn’t much care and I left her cold. Turned out she was planning the same, though. She iced me first.
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P.L.F.Persio
expressisverbis
Tom in London
Chris S
Zibow Retailleau
 

Gerard Barry
Germany
Local time: 05:40
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Some clarification, and examples of what I mean Oct 3

@chris s, expressisverbis:

To clarify, unlike probably most of the proz.com members, I work in an in-house position for a global .... company. In order to preserve my anonymity, I'm not going to say what kind of company it is. Suffice to say, translation isn't their main line of work. Instead, the translation department simply provides translations for the rest of the company. I did actually mention in my first post that I was an in-house translator, but many here didn't seem to rea
... See more
@chris s, expressisverbis:

To clarify, unlike probably most of the proz.com members, I work in an in-house position for a global .... company. In order to preserve my anonymity, I'm not going to say what kind of company it is. Suffice to say, translation isn't their main line of work. Instead, the translation department simply provides translations for the rest of the company. I did actually mention in my first post that I was an in-house translator, but many here didn't seem to read that part.

To give some examples of sexism and/or the gender imbalance in my department and in my company:

1) 80% of the translators in my company are women. We all know the reason for this: women tend to have a great preference for, even ability with, language. I get this. What I don't get is the fact that in professions where the gender imbalance is the other way round, there are all kinds of initiatives to change this. But in translation, or in my department, it's just accepted that men are underrepresented. That's clearly a double standard.

2) Sexist remarks: I've often heard female colleagues make derogatory remarks about men in my presence. To give just one example: in my last job, a colleague made a disparaging reference to "man flu", after another colleague mentioned about her husband and son being sick. "Man flu" is clearly a sexist term. I also thought the remark was unfair because, in my experience, it's women who miss more time from work than men due to illness, and the obvious reasons of maternity leave, part-time work while their children are young, etc. Most men wouldn't dare make sexist remarks about women at work, for fear of being getting in trouble over it.

3) Company-wide "diversity" efforts: My company is literally obsessed with "diversity", which basically means they want a few white men as possible. Over time, this attitude hurts. I'm sitting there like an idiot surrounded by women and have to read these dumb emails from our "diversity" officer (or whatever Mickey Mouse titles they have) about the need for greater "diversity" in the company. As far as I'm concerned, it is only a person's qualification for the job/promotion in question that should matter, nothing else, and let the cookie crumble whatever way it does. Funnily enough, when they talk about diversity, it's always about sex, race, etc. and never about socio-economic background, personality, etc. This means that, regardless of ability, a women born with a silver spoon in her mouth (let's say the daughter of doctors, lawyers, CEOs or whatever) will have a greater chance at being hired/promoted in my company than a young man who comes from a less privileged background. This is obviously unfair.
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Aliseo Japan
 

Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
French to English
+ ...
Wait a minute Oct 3

Tom in London wrote:

... I don't think ANY woman could carry a washing machine up 4 flights of stairs, on her back, by herself, as was recently done for me by a very large strong man.


I think this one could Tom:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8789719/Famous-Russian-female-powerlifter-stopped-boarding-plane-prove-woman.html


P.L.F.Persio
 

Becca Resnik  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:40
Member
German to English
+ ...
. Oct 3

Gerard Barry wrote:

2) Sexist remarks: I've often heard female colleagues make derogatory remarks about men in my presence. To give just one example: in my last job, a colleague made a disparaging reference to "man flu", after another colleague mentioned about her husband and son being sick. "Man flu" is clearly a sexist term. I also thought the remark was unfair because, in my experience, it's women who miss more time from work than men due to illness, and the obvious reasons of maternity leave, part-time work while their children are young, etc. Most men wouldn't dare make sexist remarks about women at work, for fear of being getting in trouble over it.

3) Company-wide "diversity" efforts: My company is literally obsessed with "diversity", which basically means they want a few white men as possible. Over time, this attitude hurts. I'm sitting there like an idiot surrounded by women and have to read these dumb emails from our "diversity" officer (or whatever Mickey Mouse titles they have) about the need for greater "diversity" in the company.


What has been the response when you tell the diversity officer that you perceive they are pushing all white men out, and that this is not the proper way to diversity? And what has been the response when you ask those women not to make such comments, explaining that they are sexist remarks?


expressisverbis
 

expressisverbis
Portugal
Local time: 04:40
Member (2015)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Document the unfair behaviour Oct 3

Do you have any written evidence or witness to document this unfair treatment by the company to report it to your HR Department?

Becca Resnik
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
Member (2008)
Italian to English
You should have tipped him Oct 3

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

.....I just could not get rid of this bloke.


Maybe he was just hoping for a tip?


Chris S
Mervyn Henderson
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:40
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I KNEW Oct 3

Rachel Fell wrote:

Tom in London wrote:

... I don't think ANY woman could carry a washing machine up 4 flights of stairs, on her back, by herself, as was recently done for me by a very large strong man.


I think this one could Tom:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8789719/Famous-Russian-female-powerlifter-stopped-boarding-plane-prove-woman.html


I knew somebody would come up with that.


P.L.F.Persio
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Man flu? Oct 3

Gerard, stop being so wet. I mean, honestly. That’s the best/worst you can come up with? I don’t want to be nasty (and trust me, it’s getting more and more tempting), but you really need to grow a spine.

You might also want to give some thought to just how sexist you yourself are being as you rail against all this supposed discrimination you see around you.

But to give you credit you have sparked some interesting debate and I love the washing machine/fridge storie
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Gerard, stop being so wet. I mean, honestly. That’s the best/worst you can come up with? I don’t want to be nasty (and trust me, it’s getting more and more tempting), but you really need to grow a spine.

You might also want to give some thought to just how sexist you yourself are being as you rail against all this supposed discrimination you see around you.

But to give you credit you have sparked some interesting debate and I love the washing machine/fridge stories. Good luck getting an Argos delivery person of either or any gender to carry more than a can of beans single-handed...

When I worked in-house many moons ago we were pretty much 50/50 men and women, and I would happily have seen the balance tip in favour of the latter as I had to share an office with a fairly petty checker. Soon after I left he got sent down for kiddie fiddling, so perhaps I was lucky it was only German grammar he wanted to hammer into me.
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expressisverbis
Mervyn Henderson
P.L.F.Persio
Zibow Retailleau
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:40
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Kay Oct 3

Kay Denney wrote:
Your claim that women marry for money is highly insulting.


It is precisely this attitude, namely that findings of studies can be "insulting", that makes it so difficult to find useful information on the subject.


Aliseo Japan
 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Germany
Local time: 05:40
Member (2016)
English to German
Stop that, Chris Oct 3

Chris S wrote:

Gerard, stop being so wet. I mean, honestly. That’s the best/worst you can come up with? I don’t want to be nasty (and trust me, it’s getting more and more tempting), but you really need to grow a spine.


Chris, I believe it is not a good idea to ridicule this kind of complaint. Would you give a female complainant the same response ("Grow a spine, woman!")? Gerard was asked to give examples and he did. It might sound not like a big deal, but that is always a matter of perspective. For me it sounds as if the main problem here is a kind of ganging up of a majority against a minority, and that's always a bad thing and should not happen.

There is also a difference between a freelancer and an employee. As freelancers, we are always on our own, we have no one to go to with any complaints. Employees have this chance, or should have. I don't believe that it is possible to put every small wrong to rights always and everywhere, and we all need to cope with the imbalances of life, but a corporate world that proclaims diversity should be reminded that this works for both sides.

However, Gerard, if you really want to change your situation, the best idea would be to go freelance. As a freelancer, you will be judged for the work you deliver and not for who you are. Should not that appeal to you then?


Dan Lucas
Arjan van den Berg
Christine Andersen
 

Gerard Barry
Germany
Local time: 05:40
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
This is what happens when you challenge the "diversity" ideology Oct 3

What has been the response when you tell the diversity officer that you perceive they are pushing all white men out, and that this is not the proper way to diversity? And what has been the response when you ask those women not to make such comments, explaining that they are sexist remarks?


Recently I responded to one of the emails sent by our diversity gurus complaining that I thought it was wrong for the company to hire and promote on the basis of sex and race rather than merit. You know what her response was? She forwarded my email to HR, who then requested to talk with me. In other words, she squealed on me for having the temerity to question the company's ideology (and it really is an ideology) of "diversity". In large companies, it's not always easy to speak your mind. As for my colleagues' sexist remarks, I let them go because I wanted to avoid conflict.

I also think it's interesting when you say "What has been the response when you tell the diversity officer that you perceive they are pushing all white men out, and that this is not the proper way to diversity? because you seem to be assuming here - just like my employer does - that so-called "diversity" is some worthy goal in and of itself. I don't. "Diversity" is an ideology that originated in America - probably in your universities - and has spread like a cancer to Europe. Please don't assume that we call agree with it. I believe in meritocracy, not so-called "diversity".


Dan Lucas
Aliseo Japan
Christine Andersen
 

Becca Resnik  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:40
Member
German to English
+ ...
. Oct 4

Gerard Barry wrote:

Recently I responded to one of the emails sent by our diversity gurus complaining that I thought it was wrong for the company to hire and promote on the basis of sex and race rather than merit. You know what her response was? She forwarded my email to HR, who then requested to talk with me. In other words, she squealed on me for having the temerity to question the company's ideology (and it really is an ideology) of "diversity".


So she, at least in your eyes, was "turning you in." (I suspect there's at least a chance she just wanted them to deal with it, but I can't know that, of course.) But what was HR's response in this talk they requested? That's far more important. People make complaints about each other, about companies, etc. all the time. Sometimes they're warranted, and sometimes not, and what's important is how the complaint gets handled, both in the short term and the long term.

In large companies, it's not always easy to speak your mind. As for my colleagues' sexist remarks, I let them go because I wanted to avoid conflict.


Between the military and two international companies, I know it's hard to speak one's mind in a large company, and I know it's easier to not say anything so as to avoid conflict. But if you don't say something, the situation cannot get any better. Getting back to the original essence of the entire thread, as far as how to squash discrimination, this is one of the efforts in itself. I had male coworkers who occasionally did or said terribly sexist things. There were some who were jerks, whose minds I was never going to change. But most of them, in response to a rational explanation of why their actions were offensive, ceased the behavior and were rather understanding. And there were some I just didn't want to deal with, but in those cases, I had to accept that I was partially at fault for the problem not going away...for myself, for the company, for society, etc. We have to pick our battles, but if you don't pick any of them, the problem will likely not right itself. Many times that we've come to right a wrong in human history, this is how - people speaking up against the wrongdoing.

I also think it's interesting when you say "What has been the response when you tell the diversity officer that you perceive they are pushing all white men out, and that this is not the proper way to diversity? because you seem to be assuming here - just like my employer does - that so-called "diversity" is some worthy goal in and of itself. I don't. "Diversity" is an ideology that originated in America - probably in your universities - and has spread like a cancer to Europe. Please don't assume that we call agree with it. I believe in meritocracy, not so-called "diversity".


I am not implying anything about the worthiness of diversity efforts or assuming that all believe in it. Your verbiage in your initial post was:

"a) the number of men working in the field is very small and b) there are no efforts on anyone's part to change this. Yet when women are underrepresented in any field (and even when they are very well represented!), there are are all sorts of initiatives to increase their numbers."

This sounds like you are looking for diversity efforts, so it didn't seem out of the question to use the phrasing I did.

[Edited at 2020-10-04 03:46 GMT]


expressisverbis
Kay Denney
 
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