My son came across a couple of months back and said he wanted to be a nurse. The imagery and perception of the word nurse, is extremely feminine, and it does take a while for the mind to rationalize it and make it ok for us to visualize a male nurse! This is not about being open minded, but it’s just that language has been playing with us since our childhood.
Gendered titles, across society and industries are common. Fireman, policeman should ideally be read as police officer and firefighter. Language has a far deeper implication and impact on our perceptions and lives than we would like to believe. Gender biased words are one significant element of our vocabulary which needs to be addressed, and at it’s very roots.
ElaN has introduced an ‘Unbias’ button which attempts to address the very issue. The attempt is to offer an unbiased gender neutral word options when translation is being undertaken. It’s also building a database of gender neutral words, seeking suggestions from the crowd
This may seem like a marketing gimmick to take on the behemoth of Google Translator, but the depth of thought here is incredible. Words have a profound impact on us, and it’s always fair that we offer our children an unbiased language as they make their choices that will shape the planet of tomorrow.