Gender-neutral pronoun in Swedish
Thread poster: garciaarista

Local time: 06:31
English to Spanish
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May 8, 2015


I’m writing a post for the Smartling blog about the gender-neutral pronoun in the Swedish language and its implications for translation. I would like to know what other translators think.

What do you think the new pronoun means to business content creation in Swedish? Is it mandatory for companies to use this pronoun? How will this affect translation into Swedish - there's no translation memory associated with the use of this pronoun - and translation out of Swedish?

Thanks in advance!



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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:31
Hebrew to English
Some reading... May 8, 2015

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Joakim Braun  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:31
German to Swedish
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Does your customer wish to enter a debate? May 8, 2015

Please don't think for a moment that "hen" is some neutral construct launched by linguists.

Using "hen" or not is very much a matter of gender political positioning, and will remain so for at least another 5-10 years. Whatever your personal preferences are, using "hen" will commit your customer to a certain viewpoint, while not using "hen" will not (this is a simple result of the frequency of "hen", not because avoiding "hen" isn't also a statement in itself).

"Hen" is by no means in common use, and I have yet to hear it used at all in informal speech. The "his or her" inconvenience is most noticeable in written Swedish, and is really no more of a problem there than in German or English.

That said, I do believe that "hen" is the future and will be quite common in a few years' time.

Translating "hen" into other languages would be pretty much the same problem as translating the German "SchülerInnen" and friends (but keep in mind that the "-Innen" construct in German is vastly more common than "hen" is in Swedish). It's likely untranslateable.

[Bearbeitet am 2015-05-08 14:16 GMT]

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Gender-neutral pronoun in Swedish

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