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Discrimination based on national origin and native language in ProZ ads
Thread poster: lumierre

lumierre
Local time: 19:20
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
questions I ask myself Mar 26

Beyond discrimination per se, I think when someone asks for certain abilities in a job, this must also be justified. E..g. financially.

For example, when you ask for a certified translation, then you pay more because what it is in there is also the certification, an added value. And when you ask for a native (whatever that means) then you also should pay more, because what it is in there, in the asked and delivered service, is also the cultural appropriateness. Because, personally,
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Beyond discrimination per se, I think when someone asks for certain abilities in a job, this must also be justified. E..g. financially.

For example, when you ask for a certified translation, then you pay more because what it is in there is also the certification, an added value. And when you ask for a native (whatever that means) then you also should pay more, because what it is in there, in the asked and delivered service, is also the cultural appropriateness. Because, personally, I do not think ppl hire natives for the sake of discriminating, but because they want to enjoy also the cultural input a native adds, but pay nothing for it???

Companies just got into the habit of restrictive ads based on ”native” criteria, but avoid taking the liability of the added value of a natively made translation. I think we, translators, and we, companies/agents, must clarify these issues in the true sense.

If we want a native to do the job, then we must think there is something more for which we want this, but clearly, none is yet making this a case of a justified higher working rate.

If we want a native to do the job, then we must clarify why this restriction, is any job specification allowing us to make this restriction?

If we want a native to do the job, then we must define what is and who is native, and what this means to us? Is it being born in a specific country: or born and living in there: or for how many years, which years: or being trained in the language and living the country where the language is spoken, for a certain time, which amount of time, and so on and so forth...
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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:20
Member
Italian to English
"Cultural input" Mar 26

lumierre wrote:
Beyond discrimination per se, I think when someone asks for certain abilities in a job, this must also be justified. E..g. financially.


People want a translation to be fit for purpose. Period.

lumierre wrote:
And when you ask for a native (whatever that means) then you also should pay more, because what it is in there, in the asked and delivered service, is also the cultural appropriateness.


What does payment have to do with the point you are trying to make?

lumierre wrote:
Because, personally, I do not think ppl hire natives for the sake of discriminating, but because they want to enjoy also the cultural input a native adds,


Are you saying that "cultural input" should trump linguistic competence?

lumierre wrote:
Companies just got into the habit of restrictive ads based on ”native” criteria, but avoid taking the liability of the added value of a natively made translation.


Why is added value a liability?

lumierre wrote:
If we want a native to do the job, then we must clarify why this restriction, is any job specification allowing us to make this restriction?


Generally native speakers do a better job. That's probably why it's pretty much a default requirement for agencies who care about providing a quality service. Of course there are exceptions. But that's what they are - exceptions rather than the rule.

Since you insist on quoting bits of legislation, here is another excerpt from the one you posted.


"Section 8
Permissible Difference of Treatment On Grounds of Occupational Requirements

(1) A difference of treatment on any of the grounds referred to under Section 1 shall not constitute discrimination where, by reason of the nature of the particular occupational activities or of the context in which they are carried out, such grounds constitute a genuine and determining occupational requirement, provided that the objective is legitimate and the requirement is proportionate."
https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_agg/index.html


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lumierre
Local time: 19:20
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
just one clarification Mar 26

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:and the requirement is proportionate."
https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_agg/index.html



The anti-discrimination agency I consulted clarified to me that it is not proportionate when is blatant, as Fiona puts it. Like, to be native, no matter what.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Divide and rule Mar 26

 First of all: unlike clones, all people are initially and naturally (1) different and (2) biased. Why, even really native speakers don't know many specific words and can't understand specialized texts out of their expertise, let alone translating. It's like an excellent specialist in a field often can't explain it or teach the subject properly.

 That's why some baddies abuse real and fake features to unite or separate people(s) and strata--at will an
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 First of all: unlike clones, all people are initially and naturally (1) different and (2) biased. Why, even really native speakers don't know many specific words and can't understand specialized texts out of their expertise, let alone translating. It's like an excellent specialist in a field often can't explain it or teach the subject properly.

 That's why some baddies abuse real and fake features to unite or separate people(s) and strata--at will and on the purpose.

 Meanwhile, I know that depending on the audience, some end clients (not middlemen aka agencies) prefer 'culture-neutral' (nonnative) English translation to mitigate stereotyping. It renders such translation more as transcreation and rewriting.
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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:20
Member
English to Italian
This is about the service, not the person... Mar 26

I believe this can't be really considered discrimination, simply because it is not about excluding someone based on prejudice, but rather about making a precise choice concerning a service you are seeking to acquire.

Just to make an example, when I see translation offers from en into it-CH, I just don't quote, simply because Swiss Italian is not my mother-tongue. Italian and Swiss Italian are completely mutually intelligible, but there are some small differences which I, as a non-na
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I believe this can't be really considered discrimination, simply because it is not about excluding someone based on prejudice, but rather about making a precise choice concerning a service you are seeking to acquire.

Just to make an example, when I see translation offers from en into it-CH, I just don't quote, simply because Swiss Italian is not my mother-tongue. Italian and Swiss Italian are completely mutually intelligible, but there are some small differences which I, as a non-native speaker, would miss, so if I did a translation into it-CH, I could end up delivering something that's not ideal for the market it is meant for, and is not what the client asked anyway...

Likewise, I do not translate into English, although if I did, perhaps my work could be "passable" in some instances... but I know I wouldn't be able to match a native speaker in terms of idioms, vocabulary, syntax or flow... so I can't really blame a client for seeking to narrow their search for a service provider by specifying they must be a native speaker of the target language, just like I couldn't blame them if they were to specify the service provider must specialize in the field X, have Y years of experience, knowledge of the CAT tool Z, a PhD in W or whatever... All of those ARE personal traits, but are ALSO relevant to the service the client is looking for (i.e. they are not arbitrary demands dictated by prejudice).

TL;DR: the service we offer IS language itself, so being a native speaker or not is not simply an accessory to it...
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Daniel Frisano
Switzerland
Local time: 19:20
English to Italian
+ ...
Much ado... Mar 26

We don't even know what native really is, or how to certify it. Most cases are clear-cut (place of birth, both parents and education all in the same language), but others are certainly not.

ProZ's own native-ness verification works as follows:
1. Pick a topic that interests you.
2. Make a short, informal recording of yourself talking about the topic.
3. Your application will be reviewed by at least 3 native-speaking peers.

(One may wonder how native p
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We don't even know what native really is, or how to certify it. Most cases are clear-cut (place of birth, both parents and education all in the same language), but others are certainly not.

ProZ's own native-ness verification works as follows:
1. Pick a topic that interests you.
2. Make a short, informal recording of yourself talking about the topic.
3. Your application will be reviewed by at least 3 native-speaking peers.

(One may wonder how native peers at step 3. are verified. By other peers, right? Who in turn... I think you get my point.)

In practice, native-ness is defined in terms of proficiency, and employers discriminate in terms of proficiency. Well, on what other bases are you going to discriminate?
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P.L.F.Persio
 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
In The World of Machine Translation Mar 26

In the world of MT, non-natives need not bother. In my language combination, and many others I believe, an MT is quite often better than an influent translation performed by a non-native. So I ask, how will your argument about discrimination extend to the MT ‘competition’?

I do however agree that in highly complex technical jobs, where a translator has considerable experience and education within the target language country, as well as expert specialisation in the field
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In the world of MT, non-natives need not bother. In my language combination, and many others I believe, an MT is quite often better than an influent translation performed by a non-native. So I ask, how will your argument about discrimination extend to the MT ‘competition’?

I do however agree that in highly complex technical jobs, where a translator has considerable experience and education within the target language country, as well as expert specialisation in the field, they would deliver a preferable translation over someone who was simply a native. But in this situation, the onus is on that individual to fully disclose the reasons why they should be hired. In this situation ‘expert’ would trump a ‘native’ but the non-native expert needs to sell themself!

Finally your comment about certification. As certified translators, like myself, have costs to maintain our certification and are required to carry out regular professional development, a higher fee is justified. Within a 3 year period, it’ll take around 40 individual jobs just to break even with the certification expenses.
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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 02:20
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
ProZ's native verification Mar 26

Daniel Frisano wrote:


ProZ's own native-ness verification works as follows:
1. Pick a topic that interests you.
2. Make a short, informal recording of yourself talking about the topic.
3. Your application will be reviewed by at least 3 native-speaking peers.

In other words, anyone with speech disorder need not apply.

If you want to find one thing that would not stand up to legal scrutiny regarding anti-discrimination laws, this would be it, because it provides a tangible advantage based on criteria not directly related to competency - all the idiosyncrasies in your tone and speech are being scrutinized to a vague if not totally non-existent guideline, and none of this is all that relevant to how you write. And of course, if you have reservations about the competency - or intelligence - of your "colleagues" doing the review...

Of course, ProZ is not a public entity, and it is not an employer for the purpose of the topic at hand. But if someone with speech disorder sued ProZ for damages from discriminatory denial of membership benefits without cause - I am not saying they will win or even have a reasonable chance to, but I am not sure that lawsuit would not be allowed to proceed, at the very least.

[Edited at 2019-03-26 21:14 GMT]


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Oh for Pete’s sake Mar 26

In other words, anyone with speech disorder need not apply.

It’s just a handy quick test. I’m sure the mute can ask to be verified in another way.

Next someone is going to argue ProZ discriminates against the blind by using the written word.

All this crying wolf just means that real problems get drowned out. Sometimes I really despair.


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 02:20
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Well... Mar 26

Chris Schröder wrote:

In other words, anyone with speech disorder need not apply.

It’s just a handy quick test. I’m sure the mute can ask to be verified in another way.

Next someone is going to argue ProZ discriminates against the blind by using the written word.

All this crying wolf just means that real problems get drowned out. Sometimes I really despair.




At least I can't see anyone arguing that ProZ discriminates against the mentally underdeveloped.

[Edited at 2019-03-26 22:40 GMT]


 

Daniel Frisano
Switzerland
Local time: 19:20
English to Italian
+ ...
Or Mar 26

Chris Schröder wrote:

Lincoln Hui wrote:

In other words, anyone with speech disorder need not apply.


I’m sure the mute can ask to be verified in another way.


Or they can hire someone on fiverr to do the talking in their stead and get verified in as many languages as they wish. Which I am sure has never ever occurred to anyone, right?


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
On futility Mar 27

Daniel Frisano wrote:
Or they can hire someone on fiverr to do the talking in their stead and get verified in as many languages as they wish. Which I am sure has never ever occurred to anyone, right?


Lol. I admit it had never occurred to me.

I’m sure OP will be grateful for the tip though. It’ll really help with breaking into voiceover work.

The question is, will it be discrimination when the client refuses to pay?


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 20:20
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Quite clear to me Mar 27

Discrimination means judging people on their ethnic or cultural background.

I think everybody agrees that people's job applications should not be discarded because the name looks strange or the face in the photo is not of the same color as the majority. Which is regrettably still a very common practice when hiring people.
You know it is wrong, even if working with people from different ethnic or cultural background requires additional input and often results in problems at t
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Discrimination means judging people on their ethnic or cultural background.

I think everybody agrees that people's job applications should not be discarded because the name looks strange or the face in the photo is not of the same color as the majority. Which is regrettably still a very common practice when hiring people.
You know it is wrong, even if working with people from different ethnic or cultural background requires additional input and often results in problems at the work place. If the employee does not speak the local language perfectly you have to explain her/him things more thoroughly and perhaps many times. But discrimination is illegal and wrong.

So it is also wrong to discriminate against non-native professional translators or interpreters. Let the result speak for itself. That's why there are test-translations and proofreaders.
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lumierre
 

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:20
English to Latvian
+ ...
IELTS and native English speakers Mar 27

There are different statistics collected about IELTS test takers. IELTS is the test of the English proficiency level that is required for those who want to study in the UK universities.

It was interesting to note that the best average results were achieved by native speakers of German whereas native English speakers lagged behind. Of course, we are talking about numerous edge cases when those native speakers have received education in other countries. Nevertheless, for the purpose o
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There are different statistics collected about IELTS test takers. IELTS is the test of the English proficiency level that is required for those who want to study in the UK universities.

It was interesting to note that the best average results were achieved by native speakers of German whereas native English speakers lagged behind. Of course, we are talking about numerous edge cases when those native speakers have received education in other countries. Nevertheless, for the purpose of academic studies the declared or even verified native language is not even considered. One can qualify only by receiving previous education in English or by passing some kind of proficiency test.

I am not saying that the concept of native language is not useful but this example clearly shows its limitations to use it to assess proficiency.
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:20
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Luminita Mar 27

lumierre wrote:
I would like to inquire members of this forum on the delicate topic of hiring practices based on the restrictive criteria of ”native translator” [and national origin]. In all European countries, such discriminatory practice is forbidden by law.


Well, there is no mechanism in ProZ.com's directory search or job post system that enables clients to exclude translators based on national origin.

I am aware of the problem with job adverts in general, whereby employers try to discriminate by using qualifiers that give them higher odds of getting their preferred ethnic origin (e.g. by rejecting applications if they don't have names that sound like names that are more common among the preferred ethnic group, or by specifying a specific degree of competency in a local language). Obviously, if Proz.com becomes aware of such practices, it should take steps to circumvent it. But you can't always prevent it.

However, this discussion can't be complete without some indication of whether some jurisdictions do consider being a native speaker to be a "genuine occupational qualification". I could not find any articles or studies relating to whether discrimination based language nativeness is or isn't a GOQ in the EU.

Do you or anyone else have any links to such articles? Articles saying that discrimination is illegal isn't enough. We need to know whether native language is or can be a GOQ for hiring a translator.


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