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Thread: Help...he, she or they??!!

 
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    Default Help...he, she or they??!!

    Hello Everyone

    This is my first thread so i hope it goes well!

    I am hoping to become a ES-EN trainee translator in the next few weeks, I just need to pass the selection process first! The company i have applied for has sent me a translation in order to evaluate my skills. The text is straightforward, it is a short text about parenting skills and talks about the need for independence, impatience, and emotions of an 8 year old child.

    In this case I would like to ask for advice on how to refer to the child, do i refer to the child as "he", "she", "them" or should I include a mixture of them all? i read a text in which the child alternated from a "he" to a "she" with each new sentence! hence i am rather confused...!



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    Default Re: Help...he, she or they??!!

    I'd say stick with the masculine because, in theory, it covers both genders in English and Spanish. But lately, you see and hear people inserting feminine references where there were none earlier. In my church, which is in the Anglican communion, in the Nicene Creed, the Holy Spirit is referred to as "him" in the prayer book. Our priest is a woman. I often hear her substituting other pronouns. I attend a service in Spanish about once a month. The pastor is often careful to use both pronouns. So I am very sure the movement is occurring in Spanish as well. You are not the only one who is uncertain.
    Last edited by gernt; 01-16-2009 at 10:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Help...he, she or they??!!

    thanks for getting back to me gernt

    my only main concern is that here in England, everyone is very "PC", in fact it has become quite absurd. For example, not far from where i live, the local government spent millions of pounds changing the toll booths from "this booth is manned" to "this booth is staffed" so as not to discriminate against women! and consequently the prices have went through the roof just to drive through a tunnel. Also in governement you aren't allowed to say "chairman" anymore and have to refer to them as a chairperson.

    we often joke here in Manchester that it is getting so ridiculous that they will be changing the city of Manchester to Personchester next, just incase we offend anyone! but im just getting a bit carried away with myself now....

    do you think it would be valid to use both the "he " and "she" pronouns in the same texts and include a translators note justifying my reasons for doing so? it is just that I have been researching the subject area and most texts refer to the child in both genders?

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    Default Re: Help...he, she or they??!!

    I'm sure that's exactly what's being done, but frankly, to be able to answer, I'd have to know the person who is going to review your work. He (they) may well find it refreshing to read a more conventional translation.

    En realidad, esperaba alguien que habla español como un primer idioma contestaría.

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    Default Re: Help...he, she or they??!!

    i have been sent the text from a translation company based in barcelona, so i am presuming that an experienced and/or professional translator will be evaluating my work. I have applied for a job as a junior translator, and they have sent me a short text to translate in order to evaluate my skills so i obviously really want to make a good impression and show that I have researched and put a lot of thought into my final translation.

    the first paragraph of the test is as follows to give you an idea:

    6–8 AÑOS: TU HIJO DE 8 AÑOS

    Emociones y personalidad

    Su relación contigo es la más importante en su vida, de hecho, es siete veces más influyente que las relaciones con sus amigos. Aunque sea más independiente, tu amor, atención y confianza afectarán cada día a su felicidad y autoestima. A esta edad su personalidad ya se habrá definido; puede que sea sociable y esté preparado para hablar con la gente o tranquilo y menos sociable o un término medio. Puede que sea conformista o que tenga un carácter desafiante e inquisitivo. Sin embargo, lo que sí tienen en común la mayoría de los niños es la capacidad para planificar,
    razonar y expresarse de manera más clara, dado que sus habilidades cognitivas y verbales se desarrollan a pasos agigantados. Podrá participar en conversaciones más complejas y no sólo le interesarán los hechos, sino también la motivación; por ejemplo, por qué las personas actúan de determinada manera. Aunque para su autoestima es importante que le des refuerzo positivo, puede que tengas que adaptar la forma en que lo haces. A esta edad preferirá que muestres menos efusividad y más sinceridad ante sus logros.

    To avoid the gender issue in the first line, for example, i would put " The relationship between you and your child is the most important one in their life..."

    any thoughts?

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    Default Re: Help...he, she or they??!!

    Quote Originally Posted by lina_g
    i have been sent the text from a translation company based in barcelona, so i am presuming that an experienced and/or professional translator will be evaluating my work. I have applied for a job as a junior translator, and they have sent me a short text to translate in order to evaluate my skills so i obviously really want to make a good impression and show that I have researched and put a lot of thought into my final translation.

    the first paragraph of the test is as follows to give you an idea:

    6–8 AÑOS: TU HIJO DE 8 AÑOS

    Emociones y personalidad

    Su relación contigo es la más importante en su vida, de hecho, es siete veces más influyente que las relaciones con sus amigos. Aunque sea más independiente, tu amor, atención y confianza afectarán cada día a su felicidad y autoestima. A esta edad su personalidad ya se habrá definido; puede que sea sociable y esté preparado para hablar con la gente o tranquilo y menos sociable o un término medio. Puede que sea conformista o que tenga un carácter desafiante e inquisitivo. Sin embargo, lo que sí tienen en común la mayoría de los niños es la capacidad para planificar,
    razonar y expresarse de manera más clara, dado que sus habilidades cognitivas y verbales se desarrollan a pasos agigantados. Podrá participar en conversaciones más complejas y no sólo le interesarán los hechos, sino también la motivación; por ejemplo, por qué las personas actúan de determinada manera. Aunque para su autoestima es importante que le des refuerzo positivo, puede que tengas que adaptar la forma en que lo haces. A esta edad preferirá que muestres menos efusividad y más sinceridad ante sus logros.

    To avoid the gender issue in the first line, for example, i would put " The relationship between you and your child is the most important one in their life..."

    any thoughts?
    I hope this is of some use to you. My first language is Spanish, and I'm a teacher of English as a second language and have studied linguistics specialising in English. I have discussed this issue in the past with other linguists, and here in Australia, a new "pronoun" has emerged: They, referring to the singular of both genders. This includes the new pronoun "themself" instead of "himself/herself". This development in Australian English is used widely in academia and legal language. But, I do not know if the same is happening in the USA. My guess is that it is happening in England, but I don't know about USA.

    Maybe some translators living in the USA can tell about a pronoun that denotes both genders.

    Your translation of "the relationship between you and your child..." is correct, I think. If you say "you and your son..." you are not including girls, according to the contemporary use of English. Although in Spanish "hijo" includes both boy and girl, in English it doesn't since the feminist and political correctness movements. In English, I understand, you refer to a baby as "he", but an 8-year-old has a definite gender.

    If someone living in USA could help, that would be great.

    For example, following my comment above, the sentence,

    Aunque sea más independiente, tu amor, atención y confianza afectarán cada día a su felicidad y autoestima.

    would translate

    "Although they may be more independent, your love, attention and trust will affect their happiness..."

    I hope this is of some help to you. Good luck, I hope you get the job.

    Regards

    Nira

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    Default Re: Help...he, she or they??!!

    This you cannot do: "The relationship between you and your child is the most important one in their life..."

    "Their" does not correspond to the singular "your child" and we do not use this formally in written English, though you might hear it informally in spoken English. It's terrible in written English.

    There is no easy answer to this in American English. The masculine pronoun has traditionally been used to refer to both sexes, but these days that also seems somewhat incorrect. The patient reader, however, realizes that there really isn't a completely correct option in English right now. Some writers will use "he/she" or "his/her" or "his or her", but this is cumbersome and annoying to the reader, especially in a longer text where it will have to be repeated many times.

    Some writers alternate between the masculine and feminine pronoun, and often there is some sort of footnoted explanation. This approach is also confusing and awkward.

    In my opinion, the best choice is to avoid the problem where possible by rewording, to use "child" for example, or by using the plural. Where the singular cannot be avoided, I would use the masculine pronoun or possessive adjective and rely on the reader's ability to understand that there is no other option.

    I suggest: The relationship between you and your child is the most important relationship in your child's life.

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    Default Re: Help...he, she or they??!!

    That sounds good to me. The only new form I routinely use is Ms. in place of Miss or Mrs., but I am often careful when responding to an e-mail from someone I don't know who has a first name that could be either male or female. In such a case, I do whatever I have to do to omit gender-specific terms.

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    Default Re: Help...he, she or they??!!

    Thanks for everyone's opinion and insight!

    I have been doing a lot of research into this issue over the weekend. I have been browsing reputable websites for parallel texts on parenting and it does seem to be pretty much 50/50 as to the use of "he" and "she". I even wrote to the BBC Parenting website to enquire as to their reasons behind this. Much to my surprise and delight they replied to me, stating that it was an editorial decision to define genders equally throughout the site.

    As a few of you have suggested, I have been trying to avoid the gender dispute by using "your child" as much as possible, although it can sound quite repetitive.

    I am now considering using both the "he" and "she" forms in alternate paragraphs. The company have told me that if i have any comments about the translation to include them in a separate document. I think I will mention this decision here, based on the research I have been doing.

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    Default Re: Help...he, she or they??!!

    Wonderful. My teachers were always trying to get us to cite our specific authorities. That way, you present yourself as a minor authority yourself.

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