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

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:43
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
That was a bit naive 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

I am not sure how many people on this thread have worked for large, multinational companies - it seems to me that this forum is dominated by those with experience only of freelancing and academia - and so it's hard to say whether they understand the quirks of such environments. I did it for over twenty years (I think Becca and Kay-Viktor also understand this?) and I have absolutely no problem believing that did, or at least could, happen.

HR policies in such places are emphatically not to be questioned, particularly if you are not one of those with a protected characteristic. If I had been a colleague of yours sitting at the next desk I would have advised you very strongly not to send that email. That was a piece of poor judgment on your part, to be blunt.

I suggest you don't try anything like that again, or your card will be marked (if it hasn't been already). Pragmatically speaking, just or unjust, the company makes the rules and, Orwellian as it sounds, management will certainly try to enforce what it has decided is "correct" speech and thinking. If those rules constitute a flagrant breach of law then yes, you could of course seek legal redress, but you'd presumably have to change jobs afterwards. If it's a borderline case the situation vis-a-vis legal action becomes more difficult.

Kay-Viktor has already proposed a solution: become a freelancer. However, moving from the guaranteed income of a company to the eat-what-you-kill volatility of the freelance life can be a bit of a shock to the system. It's a very different world out here. We had a thread on this subject a couple of years ago, where an experienced (former) in-house translator was puzzled to find that clients were not queuing up at his door to avail themselves of his services. Not everybody has what it takes.

Like several others on this thread, I will note that you sound a bit resentful and combative. I can understand that, but it's not productive and it's potentially damaging given that you are using your real name on here. If you are convinced that you have a real grievance, then don't get mad - get even. But fulminating on the internet probably won't achieve that.

Regards,
Dan


Becca Resnik
expressisverbis
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Sorry Oct 4

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
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!")?

Kay, you’re right that I have been a little harsh on Gerard. Sorry, Gerard. But man or woman, it is a trivial complaint, and that needs to be said.

The rules on discrimination are designed to right real wrongs against women and minorities, and to try to apply them to something so trivial is to make a mockery of them.


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.

Absolutely, but we have seen no evidence of this happening. All we have seen is someone arguing first in favour of gender balance and then against gender balance to try to be ever the victim while espousing some pretty unpleasant sexist views.

As I said before, it all smacks of “white lives matter too”.


Mervyn Henderson
P.L.F.Persio
Marina Taffetani
Zibow Retailleau
expressisverbis
Becca Resnik
Irene McClure
 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:43
English to French
Pretty sure I'll regret this 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".


I didn't say anything or responded to personal attacks, but this kind of stuff is wrong on many levels and not debunking it is dangerous.

This kind of speech implies that people hired through diversity efforts have no merit. Like the company just goes and pick random people in the street. Worse, it also implies that white men have an inherent merit, like they are automatically the best choice.

No.

For decades now, we know that this kind of bias lead to severe discrimination at hiring. Diversity efforts are a mean to counter that, because years of asking nicely to not discriminate didn't do anything.

Concretely, it means that between applicants of equivalent interest, instead of always going for the white guy, they take someone else instead.

Again: they do not just pick random people in the streets. All applicants are chosen from merit, it's only the bias that is not applied.


Chris S
Sheila Wilson
Adam Dickinson
Irene McClure
Kay Denney
Becca Resnik
Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL
 

Susan van den Ende  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:43
English to Dutch
+ ...
Thanks for stepping in Oct 5

Jocelin Meunier wrote:


The saying says "don't feed the troll", and that's why I didn't say anything or responded to personal attacks, but this kind of stuff is wrong on many levels and not debunking it is what permit people like this Gerard character here to infect communities.

This kind of speech implies that people hired through diversity efforts have no merit. Like the company just goes and pick random people in the street. Worse, it also implies that white men have an inherent merit, like they are automatically the best choice.

No.



Thank you Jocelin, much appreciated.

Here's some research on the connection between quotas and merit:

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2017/03/13/gender-quotas-and-the-crisis-of-the-mediocre-man/

For hiring managers, a man who complains about quotas is advertising his own mediocrity - if he was really all that good, some extra competition wouldn't be a problem.


Kay Denney
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 15:43
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
In a nutshell Oct 5

Here's your problem, in a nutshell.

You started this thread because you have a grievance at your workplace. But you don't say anything about that; you start by begging the question, making sweeping "obvious" statements about the industry as a whole that most people consider to be blatantly untrue. Then you double down by making even more sweeping and factually incorrect statements, until you are eventually pestered into admitting what this is actually about, when you might have elic
... See more
Here's your problem, in a nutshell.

You started this thread because you have a grievance at your workplace. But you don't say anything about that; you start by begging the question, making sweeping "obvious" statements about the industry as a whole that most people consider to be blatantly untrue. Then you double down by making even more sweeping and factually incorrect statements, until you are eventually pestered into admitting what this is actually about, when you might have elicited a much more sympathetic response if you were specific about what you have a grievance about from the get-go, instead of doing everything that you did.

Toxic corporate culture is nothing new or unusual, but you look like you think that the industry is to blame for your company's culture. In a community of mostly freelancers, you are making these sweeping statements without making it clear what you are - again, a fact that had to be beaten out of you. Your company isn't the translation industry. Freelance translation is a fairer industry than most; over a large enough sample size, success and failure generally correlates with one's competence or lack thereof in all things, and not because one is being treated unfairly, got on the wrong side of somebody important, or because the situation in Brazil is very, very bad.

There is no such thing as a corporate culture that is toxic in only one area. Your corporate culture isn't toxic because of diversity; it's just toxic, and if there were no diversity initiatives, it would have found a way to be toxic regardless.

By the way, this is all taking your grievances at face value. It is abundantly clear, from the way that you chose to air your grievances here, that you have a pattern for exercising, to put it in the kindest way possible, sub-optimal judgment. It's a tango, and guess what you are going to hear from a community of freelancers when it is abundantly clear that there are so many things within your own control that you could and should have chosen to do differently, regardless of how bad the situation around you or in Brazil is.

[Edited at 2020-10-05 07:39 GMT]
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Chris S
Dan Lucas
Becca Resnik
Michael Wetzel
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 15:43
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Mmm Oct 5

Susan van den Ende wrote:

For hiring managers, a man who complains about quotas is advertising his own mediocrity - if he was really all that good, some extra competition wouldn't be a problem.



I'm curious to hear what you think about universities imposing quotas and higher admission standards for Asian students. Is this an admission that we are the master race and intellectually superior to Caucasians, or do you think that Asians should stop advertising their own mediocrity and be willing to face some extra competition?


Michael Wetzel
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:43
Member (2018)
French to English
. Oct 5

Samuel Murray wrote:

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.

Context is all Samuel. If you'd read beyond that sentence, you would have seen that my claim was followed by a joke. Giving this thread what it deserves.


Zibow Retailleau
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:43
Member (2018)
French to English
. Oct 5

Tom in London wrote:

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.

Please note that I didn't say that no women ever delivered parcels, I just offered an explanation as to why women might not be inclined to take up such work. And no, the risks are not at all the same for men, given the differences in anatomy, muscle power, number of orifices etc.


Becca Resnik
Zibow Retailleau
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 08:43
German to Serbian
+ ...
Women-men ratio. Oct 5

It's probably true that most translators and project managers are women in the translation industry. It's also true that most (if not all) CEOs in the translation industry are men. Does this level things a bit for the OP?

[Edited at 2020-10-05 10:31 GMT]


Kay Denney
Becca Resnik
expressisverbis
 

Gerard Barry
Germany
Local time: 08:43
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
That's just more misandry Oct 5

[/quote]

Thank you Jocelin, much appreciated.

Here's some research on the connection between quotas and merit:

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2017/03/13/gender-quotas-and-the-crisis-of-the-mediocre-man/

For hiring managers, a man who complains about quotas is advertising his own
... See more
[/quote]

Thank you Jocelin, much appreciated.

Here's some research on the connection between quotas and merit:

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2017/03/13/gender-quotas-and-the-crisis-of-the-mediocre-man/

For hiring managers, a man who complains about quotas is advertising his own mediocrity - if he was really all that good, some extra competition wouldn't be a problem.

[/quote]

And if women were all that good, they wouldn't need quotas in the first place. In any case, there are plenty of professions where they make up the vast majority of employees (and managers), for example translation, teaching, nursing, etc.

A man who complaints about quotas is not advertising his own mediocrity, he's calling for fairness in hiring. Lack of women (or men) in certain professions (or at management level) is not in and of itself proof positive of discrimination. Why can't people understand that?
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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:43
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Are women overrepresented? Oct 5

According to Gerard there are more women working in the translation sector then men. Is that a fact?

Just out of curiosity (and for the fun of it) I had a look at the number of active participants of this thread, and the result is that 9 of them are female and 14 are male!

I know that my little 'research' is not representative for the whole sector, but it makes you wonder.

[Edited at 2020-10-05 13:
... See more
According to Gerard there are more women working in the translation sector then men. Is that a fact?

Just out of curiosity (and for the fun of it) I had a look at the number of active participants of this thread, and the result is that 9 of them are female and 14 are male!

I know that my little 'research' is not representative for the whole sector, but it makes you wonder.

[Edited at 2020-10-05 13:47 GMT]
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expressisverbis
Kay Denney
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:43
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Robert Oct 5

Robert Rietvelt wrote:
According to Gerard there are more women working in the translation sector then men. ... I had a look at the number of active participants of this thread, and ... 9 of them are female and 14 are male!


Perhaps the key word is "working". Us guys loaf around. The women are out there w-w-working. (-;


expressisverbis
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:43
German to English
+ ...
So it's about an in-house (employment) situation? Oct 6

When you write about the "translation industry", most of us work freelance and are our own boss. That is why it made little sense. It would have been good to know from the start that you were talking about the situation at your place of work. I don't know how that plays out in other translation companies. Fair should be fair. Not much to say, actually. I'm my own boss. And have such an odd name that people guess about my gender anyway. Which, if there are stereotypes, is for the best. In... See more
When you write about the "translation industry", most of us work freelance and are our own boss. That is why it made little sense. It would have been good to know from the start that you were talking about the situation at your place of work. I don't know how that plays out in other translation companies. Fair should be fair. Not much to say, actually. I'm my own boss. And have such an odd name that people guess about my gender anyway. Which, if there are stereotypes, is for the best. In all honesty, what I know in terms of translation is the freelance world. I wouldn't have contributed on an in-house question.Collapse


 

Gerard Barry
Germany
Local time: 08:43
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, I work in-house Oct 6

@Maxi: Yes, I work in-house. I thought I mentioned that in my original post.

 
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