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Job ads specifying female interpreters
Thread poster: philgoddard

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Sep 4, 2013

A company in Italy has recently posted two job ads on PRoZ for female interpreters. The most recent may have disappeared by the time you read this, as I've reported it, but it says that applicants must have a "pleasant presence", ie be goodlooking.

Do you find this as offensive as I do?

[Edited at 2013-09-05 14:04 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-09-05 14:05 GMT]


 

Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 12:06
Member (2013)
English to Russian
Er... Sep 5, 2013

How exactly is this offensive?

 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:06
English to Spanish
+ ...
Reasons Sep 5, 2013

They must have good reasons for that requirement.

 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
. Sep 5, 2013

Maybe it's acceptable in Russia, but in most of the western world (including Texas) it's not only offensive but illegal to discriminate in this way. And the staff of ProZ obviously agree, because they've deleted it.

[Edited at 2013-09-05 00:36 GMT]


 

Martina Fink  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 19:06
German to English
Agree with Phil Sep 5, 2013

I agree that it's offensive. It's gender discrimination, in case you didn't notice.

 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 09:06
English to Polish
+ ...
Some jobs require female, and some jobs require presentable interpreters Sep 5, 2013

Female interpreters may be preferable or even necessary where the presence of a male interpreter would be inconvenient. I do believe that avoiding even the slightest inconvenience in a speaker or audience is more important than promoting equal opportunity.

I also believe that clients have the right to prefer or even require a certain degree of presentability in their interpreters even for simple polite company, let alone conference interpreting or anything more sensitive. Plus, while I'm not pleased when interpreters are hired to be furniture or decoration, I think it would be vaguely okay in certain promotional activities. Well, at least if it didn't include anything sexually suggestive.

[Edited at 2013-09-05 02:44 GMT]


 

Liviu-Lee Roth
United States
Local time: 03:06
Romanian to English
+ ...
a little bit of American hypocrisy Sep 5, 2013

[quote]philgoddard wrote:

Maybe it's acceptable in Russia, but in most of the western world (including Texas) it's not only offensive but illegal to discriminate in this way.


OK. According to this concept:

- it is OK to have a male interpreter at a female detention center during the mandatory intake strip search

- it is OK to have a male interpreter during a GYN medical exam

- it is OK to have a male interpreter in the delivery room etc.

A couple years ago I was turned down to interpret for the Romanian Miss Universe
contestant in Brasil because they accepted only female interpreters: Ok with me.

For the rest, Lukasz said it better.

Lee


 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 10:06
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Sexual Discrimination or Not? Sep 5, 2013

Unfortunately, there are no universally accepted rules for sexual discrimination. For example, it is definitely considered a sexual discrimination in the United States to explicitly specify sex of the applicant in the job ads. In Turkey, however, this is not so. Job ads are full of statements specifying sex (e.g. female interpreter required, etc.) in Turkey. I know this is frustrating but I do not know how to solve this dilemna other than saying that it is a cultural difference. Any suggestions will be welcome.

 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Yes and as the poster is in Italy Sep 5, 2013

Martina Fink wrote:

I agree that it's offensive. It's gender discrimination, in case you didn't notice.


Where gender discrimination is forbidden, that law applies to them.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:06
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Gender and presentation in in-person services Sep 5, 2013

philgoddard wrote:
A company in Italy called Studio Moretto has recently posted two job ads for female interpreters. The most recent may have disappeared by the time you read this, as I've reported it, but it says that applicants must have a "pleasant presence", ie be goodlooking.


It may be that "pleasant presence" is a euphemism for "good-looking", but if the client behaves professionally it may actually mean exactly what it says, i.e. the person's dress and grooming must be suitable for the occassion and she must not have mannerisms that result in unnecessary tension. Some [particularly young] job seekers don't have a sense of propriety.

As for the gender, there are valid situations which the gender of the interpreter matters. In police interpreting, particularly when interpreting for victims of assault crimes, gender really matters. I do believe, however, that the jobs poster should mention what the reason is.

In fact, I think one can take the gender discrimination thing too far. If a profession has no barriers of entry for either gender and if both genders can get work in that professional easily, then I see no valid reason why clients should not be allowed to specify their gender preference, even for jobs that don't involve personal contact. The reason for gender discrimination laws is to ensure that both genders get a fair chance at working in that industry, and in industries where such "equality" does not yet exist, gender discriminations laws must be enforced strictly. However, once the balance is established, discrimination laws have no further use (unless the imbalance returns eventually).


 

Mario Cerutti  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 16:06
Member
Italian to Japanese
+ ...
Absurd Sep 5, 2013

So, if for strictly professional purposes I decided to hire an interpreter with my *private* money, could someone sue me because I prefer a female professional instead of a male one, or the opposite for that matter? To whom should I be expected to justify my choice? Would I lose the case if brought to Court? Just curious to know in which country this could happen.

Isn't this one of the excesses of the so-called politically correctness?


[Edited at 2013-09-05 07:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-09-05 07:48 GMT]


 

Ania Heasley  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:06
English to Polish
+ ...
End client preferences? Sep 5, 2013

Please do not go into PC-overdrive here.

Sometimes the end client (i.e. the person who requires an interpreter) requests a female interpreter, the same way they might request a female doctor while booking a sensitive medical appointment, as they feel more comfortable with a female only team of professionals.

There are several jobs where the end client has a gender preference (care assistants, nurses) and if an employer does not make this clear, they are wasting the applicants' time, as the end client will only consider applications from the preferred gender. Isn't it better to be honest about it rather than raise hopes of the 'wrong' gender candidates by ommitting this piece of information from the advert?


 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 10:06
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Case Sep 5, 2013

Mario Cerutti wrote:

So, if for strictly professional purposes I decided to hire an interpreter with my *private* money, could someone sue me because I prefer a female professional instead of a male one, or the opposite for that matter? To whom should I be expected to justify my choice? Would I lose the case if brought to Court? Just curious to know in which country this could happen.

Isn't this one of the excesses of the so-called politically correctness?


[Edited at 2013-09-05 07:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-09-05 07:48 GMT]


They could sue you but they would probably lose the case. You would tell them that you preferred this particular candidate due to her (his) language skills, and not her (his) gender. You would probably convince them about it with details. We are assuming here that your job ad did not mention gender at all. So, it all depends upon how you defend the case.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:06
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
interpreters should be discreet not pretty Sep 5, 2013

Of course gender may be of the utmost importance, mostly in cases where women need protection, although I can quite well imagine that a man needing his private parts examined may not welcome the presence of a woman and I would understand that perfectly.

I would say that it's the requirement for a "pleasant presence" which is offensive. Any professional interpreter would surely dress appropriately for whichever event they are working at. Mostly, "appropriate" means a style that does not attract attention in any way, since the best interpreter is the one who enables smooth communication as discreetly as possible.


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:06
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
@Lee - Yes, it is OK, actually Sep 5, 2013

lee roth wrote:

philgoddard wrote:

Maybe it's acceptable in Russia, but in most of the western world (including Texas) it's not only offensive but illegal to discriminate in this way.


OK. According to this concept:

- it is OK to have a male interpreter at a female detention center during the mandatory intake strip search

- it is OK to have a male interpreter during a GYN medical exam

- it is OK to have a male interpreter in the delivery room etc.

A couple years ago I was turned down to interpret for the Romanian Miss Universe
contestant in Brasil because they accepted only female interpreters: Ok with me.

For the rest, Lukasz said it better.

Lee


You're undermining your own argument here. If men can be competent - even expert - gynecologists, obstetricians and OB nurses, and work as corrections officers in women's prisons (all which is true), why on Earth couldn't a male interpreter work effectively in these circumstances? What's the difference?


 
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