What Is Gender Neutral Language in Translation?

discrimination gender and language
(Last Updated On: )
This appointment does not exist.

Are you a linguistic expert? If so, do you know about the different forms of languages? Have you ever heard that genders can also represent a variety of lingos? For instance, this article will focus on gender-inclusive language. Well, this lingo is not typically something that you’ll learn in school. But it is very important to make life easier for the transgender and other neutral genders.

In general, the gender-neutral term is used to respect other sexes. Imagine that you are giving a speech, and your audiences include all masculine, feminine, and transgender. So, instead of mentioning ‘ladies and gentlemen’ try saying ‘everybody’. It will represent the people who aren’t men or women only.

These gendered terms are used for the sake of these people and therefore it is getting increasingly popular. If you want to know more about this gendered language, read it till the end!

What is Gender Neutral Language?

Precisely, gender-neutral language is simply English language or any other tongue that respects the different sexes and their dignity. It covers the use of non-sexist language, inclusive language, or gender-fair language. The gender-neutral language words do not identify a particular gender.

Some previous studies indicate that if the word ‘man’ is written in writing, it means that the job is representing only men. This is why in a conversation, it is important to mention to whomever you are referring. It does not focus on any particular social gender when describing people.

history and origin neutral language
gender neutral writing

These days, more businesses are adopting this language because they understand that it can positively affect their relationships with their customers. Making sure marketing communications do not address or refer to your customers as a specific gender. But it can do a lot to avoid excluding a portion of the market.

This helps institutions and businesses in covering a large area and getting more consumers. As a marketer, your priority would be making sure that all your services are representing the general target audience. This step helps organizations in building social equality and generating increasing revenue as a result.

History and Origin                     

The notions that parts of the English language were sexist and therefore, were brought to mainstream attention in Western English cultures by feminists in the 1970s. Additionally, the connection between gender ideologies and language was becoming apparent in the field of linguistics.

In 1975, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) published a set of guidelines known as ‘non-sexist’ language. And then this debate went on and on. Therefore, in the coming years, you will find many more researchers regarding this particular unique lingo. Later, in 2008, European Parliament became the first international organization to adopt multilingual guidelines on gender-neutral language. Since then, the use of this lingo has increased day by day.

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of these guidelines, the High-Level Group on Gender Equality and Diversity requested Parliament services to update these gender-neutral language instructions.

The main focus of this step was to highlight and reflect cultural and linguistic development. The new update may provide practical advice in all official languages on the use of gender-fair and inclusive language.

Gender-Neutral Writing in English

According to the experience and study of many professionals, English is classified as a ‘genderless language’. It is also because the nouns in this lingo do not mostly differentiate between masculine and feminine. But this is limited to only unless it is referring to biological sex (e.g. woman/man).

The key way to avoid discriminating in English is to take a neutralizing approach. For example, avoid using any gender-specific terms for people or professions, such as policeman, postal worker, actor, flight attendant, officer, or waitress. Moreover, try to avoid using a gendered pronoun to refer to a group of people in general.

For example, ‘the nurse saw her patients’, ‘the firemen attended to the scene’. The use of gender here perpetuates the idea that the given gender is the norm, and can lead to the opposite gender being excluded. Apart from the noun and pronoun, the use of the singular ‘they’ has become a common way to address an unknown, or known non-binary individual.

The difficulties arising from the use of a single ‘they’ from a grammatical perspective are that although ‘they’ refers to a single individual. It can be thought of as referring to multiples. An example here would be, if someone says ‘they walked into a bar’, we cannot be sure if they are referring to one person or a group.

gender and language translations
gender neutral language

One solution to avoid this confusion is by using a gender-neutral pronoun. There can be other suggestions as well.

What Is Gender-Neutral Language In Translation?

In terms of translation, many linguists work to provide the services of translating gender-neutral words from one lingo into another. Though it is easy to write in English, not every language is the same. Among all the languages, half of them represent all genders which means that each noun has grammatical gender, and adjectives and verbs change according to the gender of the noun.

The grammar structure is pretty simple. This way, translating gender-neutral language becomes harder. But to solve this problem, you can simply take help from the translation agencies. You can simply learn what techniques would be best suitable for your writing. The gendered language translation of difficult tongues becomes even difficult.

For instance, the French language is a typical one and it is a bit hard to translate when it is a gendered language. During the translation process, it should be the top priority to keep the masculine forms in his mind and write the proper masculine pronoun.

Furthermore, with practice, you can use the masculine pronoun in place of the generic which we can also call non-sexist. But other forms of gender neural language are a common feature and therefore it had many speaking versions in the late twentieth century.

The gendered terms like women and men are not specifically used in gender-neutral language translations. It is only in consideration with the work of efficient translators.

Why should you be aware of it?

Because of its importance, this non-discriminatory language is getting more important day by day. But it is not the official language of any state. Either way, you need to learn more about this type of communication. You have probably encountered documents that use masculine nouns and pronouns to refer to subject(s) whose gender is unclear or variable, or to groups that contain people who are not men.

To avoid such problems, use this tongue and get away with the feminine form or inclusive forms of men. Moreover, the use of generic masculine terms is no longer the absolute practice, even in legislative acts. The use of a language that is not gendered inclusive while respecting the need for clarity, especially, in legislative acts we must avoid the the generic masculine as far as possible.

Many legislative bodies in the Member States have already adopted recommendations going in this direction. One should be aware of the use of proper nouns in education and other important areas.

The writings can be challenging when you add gendered references, especially since there isn’t a universally agreed-upon set of concrete guidelines on which to base your decisions. But there are several different strategies you can “mix and match” as necessary. This is why you should at least be aware of this lingo.


If we can help you with any questions, please feel free to contact us