Given that today we celebrate International Women’s Day, we decided to shift things a little bit and talk about an industry dominated by women.
While the situation is different than it was a few decades ago, fields like science, mathematics, medicine (high-end specializations), finances, and more are still dominated by males. But, when it comes to language (translators and interprets), women are in the lead.
Is this because men are not interested in these jobs, or is it because women are better at interpreting languages and communication?
Are Women Better Translators?
Whether it’s obvious or not, each industry has this battle in between sexes. In the translation industry, people don’t really seem to care. However, when questioned, Project Managers from various companies seemed to favour women translators over men.
According to a report published by the Translation Journal, the gender of the translator has nothing to do with the quality of the resulted work. Still, if it were to choose between a male and a female translator, some Project Managers may have a preference (which is entirely personal).
But, to answer the question, women seem to be better suited for a career in the language industry, especially in translation and interpretation jobs.
Why is that?
Better Emotional Development
In order to be a good translator or interpreter, you need to understand the hidden nuances behind the text (especially when it comes to literary works).
Since women are more intuitive when it comes to emotions, it is only natural that they strive in these positions. Moreover, females possess innate verbal skills, which make them better speakers, listeners, readers, and writers.
Finally, a 2008 study performed at Northwestern University, observed young learners while they acquired the skills of a new language. The results showed that female learners use the part of the brain responsible for language encoding, while male learners use parts responsible for visual and aural functions. In conclusion, boys and girls perceive the activity of learning a new language differently, with girls being more inclined to ask questions and connect with the task at an emotional level.
Ability to Work from Home
Most women have to find balance between family and work, and a job that allows them to work from home can be ideal. Now, not all language-related jobs can be performed from home, but translation and interpretation tasks don’t require the client and service provider to meet in person.
As a result, women who work in this industry can choose to have children and be actively involved in their development while still working on their career.
Women Handle Multiple Tasks Better
When you need to juggle kids, a career, and social life, switching between different tasks becomes second nature. But studies show women are natural at multitasking, even without going through the turmoil of balancing family and work life.
Since in translation or interpretation jobs you constantly have to switch in between languages and texts, it’s no wonder that women prove to be more effective. Of course, this is not true for all women and doesn’t mean men are less effective.
At the end of the day, while women may have a slight advantage due to the way they process and connect with languages, there doesn’t seem to be such a big deal. Both men and women translators and interpreters can achieve advanced levels in their careers.
So, if a company seems to prefer women over men (or the other way around) is only a matter of personal choice.