Women rule the translation industry

Published on 06/03/2023

Translation is one of the sectors with the highest wage equality and job quality. Moreover, in this sector, the number of female professionals exceeds the number of male professionals.

Professional translation is one of the few sectors where figures show that there are more women in this profession than men. These figures have been achieved over the last few decades, but the root of this feminisation of translation may have much to do with the fact that it has always been a task in which it has been common for women to be involved.

1. Women translators throughout history

Although the role of women has been relegated for millennia to tasks related to child-rearing, household and care, translation has been one of the few occupations in which their presence was somewhat more common.

It may well be that proficiency in certain languages was a skill in high demand in some contexts and a scarce resource, so refusing to take advantage of translators' work was not considered as a very wise decision.

Perhaps those who benefited most from these translators were religious organisations that needed to translate their sacred textsinto as many languages as possible, in order to make their teachings more easily accessible to their faithful.

Latin, the language in which most of them were written, was a language that only those closest to the clergy and with better access to education knew. When the time came to translate these texts into Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian or Portuguese, among many others, many religious women were entrusted with this task.

Other very important female figures in the world of translation were some noble women who had the education and time to translate some of the most important literary works of their time.

2. Women translators today

As we mentioned, translation companies today are one of the best examples of gender pay equity, and this is one of the few sectors where women outnumber men.

However, to put a stop to a situation that can always be improved, the visibility of female translators and the recognition of their work, compared to their male counterparts, is still an unfinished business that we cannot ignore.

With the aim of making the work of female professionals in this sector more visible, you will find below a list of some of the most important women translators in England.

3. English women translators you should know

Our country has great examples of women who have made important advances and projects in the field of translation.

3.1 Anne Bacon

Anne Bacon was an English scholar and a translator from Latin and Italian to English. Her translation helped support the religious policies implemented by Queen Elizabeth I of England. She was responsible for making the works of Bernardino and John Jewel more accessible to the English public.

3.2 Margaret Tyler

Margaret Tyler was a translator from Spanish to English. She was the first English woman to translate into English a Spanish romance. In her “Letter to the reader”, she argued that both women and men should be treated as equal rational beings.

3.3 Dorothy L. Sayers

Dorothy L. Sayers was a translator from French to English. She is well known for her work as an English crime writer. However, many may not yet know that she is also responsible for having translated into English several important workswhose language of origin was French such as “The Song of Roland”.

4. Much to tell and translate

As we can see, what we have told you here is only the tip of the iceberg. In addition to these three great women, there have been, are and will be countless other great professionals who contribute every day to making translation an example of the fact that gender is not a barrier when it comes to successfully carrying out great intellectual projects such as translation.

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Virginia Pacheco's picture
Virginia Pacheco

Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.

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