Neuter, world-view and sexed translation: From theory to strategies

  1. Project details
  2. Research team
  3. Glossaries & resources
  4. Publications and presentations derived from the project
Sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. Code: FEM2009-10976

The translation of gender and sexed reality is one of the concerns faced by Feminist Translation Studies. Up to now, in our country this discipline has devoted more attention to theoretical rather than practical questions and among those works which have focused on the practical side, there are many more articles to be found comparing different translations of the same original text carried out by different translators – in general, to warn of vices, errors or textual manipulations of literary texts – or to draw up a history of translation, rather than showing new ways to follow in practice. The present project attempts to fill this void and sets out to study the ways to solve the practical problems faced by those who wish to carry out a translation of the sexed reality between Spanish/Italian/Galician and English. More specifically, how to question grammatical gender and sex when translating; how to deal with the neuter and its translation; and how, from a discursive perspective, a translation can break away from the androcentric view inscribed in languages.

Luckily, we can already count on a series of existing elements to start with: Translations into English, Spanish, Italian or Galician, incorporating gender perspective, feminist glossaries and dictionaries, writings by Spanish female jurists and constitutionalists on judicial and legal terminology, documents emanated from the European Union concerning gender policy, style guidelines on how to use non-sexist language … If these precedents are properly analysed they are likely to serve as the basis for dissecting 1) ways in which translations have been and can be carried out in such a way as to take sexual differences into account, 2) how are neuter and sex handled, 3) how terminology and writing problems have been solved, 4) what are the viewpoints and positions of those who have dealt with them, 5) what constant reflection activities have been carried out by the translator … Furthermore, we have to ask ourselves questions related to 1) the target audience addressed by a feminist translation, 2) the (in)-existence of institutional mediation and commitment to gender equality, 3) censorship, 4) publishing requirements and the kind of genre / register the text belongs to.

We are aware of the fact that it is not possible to answer all these questions through a series of simplistic ‘prescriptions’, but we firmly believe that nowadays whoever devotes him/herself to translation cannot avoid these issues any longer. It is necessary, therefore, to carry out an investigation which combines both theory and practice and arrange the results of this study in a series of instruments which could be put at the disposal of the translators’ community in a simple and immediate way.

Therefore, taking feminist theories of language, feminist theories of translation and feminist practice aimed at re-symbolizing the language as starting point, we set out to dissect feminist translation practice so as to be able to systematize the lexico-semantic and pragmatic-discursive solutions adopted through the elaboration of a series of repertoires, glossaries and IT tools for public consultation which will be available not only in a written form through a series of publications, but also online thanks to a web server specifically devoted to this work.