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

lumierre
Germany
Local time: 18:06
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Mar 26

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

Requiring employees or applicants to be fluent in a certain language, blatantly and as a general, unspecific rule, violate European anti-discrimination legislation if the rule is adopted to exclude individuals of a particular national origin and is unspecifica
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I would like to inquire members of this forum on the delicate topic of hiring practices based on the restrictive criteria of ”native translator”. In all European countries, such discriminatory practice is forbidden by law.

Requiring employees or applicants to be fluent in a certain language, blatantly and as a general, unspecific rule, violate European anti-discrimination legislation if the rule is adopted to exclude individuals of a particular national origin and is unspecifically applied to restrict access to jobs and freelance opportunities exclusively to members of a particular nation.

I am aware many of you think that the so-called ”non-native” speakers are not able to translate in a language that is not their native language. Some translation standards also refer to the use of native translators in the process of delivering a good quality translation result (though this is not necessarily mandatory at all level of the process). However, there is much more under this subject than blatant restrictive access to a job offer, as too many of the ProZ companies do in their ProZ posted jobs (even European based ones!). I am sure many of you who are professional know already that mastering a language at native level means more than being born in a specific country, the same way as translating means more than merely being able to speak a particular language as a native speaker.

There is also a hefty penalty for those who infringe the anti-discrimination laws in Europe in such a gross evident way, (the so-called ”native speaker only” jobs) and I wonder if anybody considered that, if the companies are aware of this, or if ProZ is taking this situation under consideration, somehow.
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Fabian Aude Brevis
 

Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:06
English to French
+ ...
This is an issue for a court of law Mar 26

"Native speaker" does not equate national origin. A native speaker of, say, Portuguese, might be a citizen of any Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Portugal, Brazil, Angola, or even anyone of any nationality having been raised in a Portuguese-speaking family.

I have never seen on ProZ any mention of national origin being required, which would be a violation of US laws (where proz.com is based), in addition to European laws.

In spite of what I wrote in the "Title" s
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"Native speaker" does not equate national origin. A native speaker of, say, Portuguese, might be a citizen of any Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Portugal, Brazil, Angola, or even anyone of any nationality having been raised in a Portuguese-speaking family.

I have never seen on ProZ any mention of national origin being required, which would be a violation of US laws (where proz.com is based), in addition to European laws.

In spite of what I wrote in the "Title" section, I do not think your flawed reasoning would last more than a nanosecond on a court of law.

[Edited at 2019-03-26 13:58 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-03-26 13:59 GMT]
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Walter Landesman
Eliza Hall
 

lumierre
Germany
Local time: 18:06
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
definition of native, native per se is discrimination per language Mar 26

Of course, a native speaker does not equate national origin in my rational definition either. There are many ways of considering what is native, people raised in bilingual families, people with considerable live-in country experience, but the companies/people who post it as a criteria (usually with three !!! signs, clearly very aggressive, unpolite, to say at least) mean it exactly in this restrictive way, like being born in the country of that particular spoken language.

In any ca
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Of course, a native speaker does not equate national origin in my rational definition either. There are many ways of considering what is native, people raised in bilingual families, people with considerable live-in country experience, but the companies/people who post it as a criteria (usually with three !!! signs, clearly very aggressive, unpolite, to say at least) mean it exactly in this restrictive way, like being born in the country of that particular spoken language.

In any case, restriction to being "native" is also, per se, discriminatory, (ground: language), and a more accurate expression would be, perhaps, (and some of pros are using it), "native and near to native", considering the job tasks involved...

As per court, despite your witty comment, Jean Lachaud, it stands a lot, "a very clear case of discrimination" to quote someone. I have been recently inquired higher bodies into the issue. I was not sure of it myself and want to have it clarified...

[Edited at 2019-03-26 14:09 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-03-26 14:09 GMT]
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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 19:06
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Thanks for your opinion Mar 26

I had never thought about it from this perspective. But I think you are right. A translation is good or bad, a translator is good or bad. Restricting jobs to natives is not the right way to guarantee good results. Its a old and bad habit. Quality should be ensured in other ways.
A native professional will mostly deliver quality work in less time than a non-native professional. So good natives should have an natural advantage when pricing their efforts.


Bomee Lee
 

erika rubinstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:06
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
OMG Mar 26

Sorry, but this duscussion sounds insane to me. You can argue about, if a non-native is able to translate into a foreign language with the same quality as a native (good) translator can. I am sure that not. But of course there are some jobs, which do not reqire the native quality. But what you are discussing here, is just crazy. I should have a right to find a person for job according to MY criteria without beeing accused to discriminate anyone. As a next thing, you will probably say, that that ... See more
Sorry, but this duscussion sounds insane to me. You can argue about, if a non-native is able to translate into a foreign language with the same quality as a native (good) translator can. I am sure that not. But of course there are some jobs, which do not reqire the native quality. But what you are discussing here, is just crazy. I should have a right to find a person for job according to MY criteria without beeing accused to discriminate anyone. As a next thing, you will probably say, that that if I m looking for a German-seaking person, I discriminate all the translators who dont speak German. There was a very good funny article in a German satircal magazine about a baby, who said as a first word "mama" and discriminated with this all possible groups...Collapse


Yvonne Gallagher
Darius Sciuka
Yuri Teixeira Mendes
IanDhu
Tanami
Eliza Hall
Susan Welsh
 

lumierre
Germany
Local time: 18:06
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes Mar 26

Dear Erika,
The level of how this native restriction is used on proz posting jobs just let people like you think this is the normality, but is, unfortunately, just a clear case of discrimination.

This does not mean you are not right to hire/work with (if you are not their employer) a person who does not meet the language level criteria, it just means you are indeed of no right to refuse to hire/work with a person who does meet these criteria related to language, no matter if
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Dear Erika,
The level of how this native restriction is used on proz posting jobs just let people like you think this is the normality, but is, unfortunately, just a clear case of discrimination.

This does not mean you are not right to hire/work with (if you are not their employer) a person who does not meet the language level criteria, it just means you are indeed of no right to refuse to hire/work with a person who does meet these criteria related to language, no matter if native or not. Requiring to be native per se is discrimination.

I quote part of the larger opinion received from Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes
”Insgesamt ist deshalb festzustellen, dass die Anforderung als „Muttersprachler“ in den meisten Fällen nicht zu rechtfertigen sein wird und damit eine mittelbare Benachteiligung aufgrund der ethnischen Herkunft darstellt. Sofern Sie eine Absage erhalten, weil Sie keine Muttersprachlerin sind, können Sie Ansprüche nach § 15 AGG geltend machen. Nach § 15 AGG können die von einer Benachteiligung betroffenen Beschäftigten Schadensersatz- und Entschädigungsansprüche gegen den Arbeitgeber geltend machen.”


erika rubinstein wrote:

Sorry, but this duscussion sounds insane to me. You can argue about, if a non-native is able to translate into a foreign language with the same quality as a native (good) translator can. I am sure that not. But of course there are some jobs, which do not reqire the native quality. But what you are discussing here, is just crazy. I should have a right to find a person for job according to MY criteria without beeing accused to discriminate anyone. As a next thing, you will probably say, that that if I m looking for a German-seaking person, I discriminate all the translators who dont speak German. There was a very good funny article in a German satircal magazine about a baby, who said as a first word "mama" and discriminated with this all possible groups...
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Vadim Kadyrov
 

erika rubinstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:06
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Antidiskriminierungsstelle Mar 26

In fact I couldnt care less about what they say, because they dont have no idea what they are talking about. I would go even further, I want to have a right no to hire anyone, because the person has a long nose or whatever. But of course ideologists (like you probably) want to install a dictatorship and to forbid everything which doesnt suit their ideology.

Yvonne Gallagher
Yuri Teixeira Mendes
Aliseo Japan
Annika Hogekamp
 

lumierre
Germany
Local time: 18:06
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Dictatorship of rule of law :) Mar 26

Fortunately, this dictatorship of rule of law is there to stay.

Vadim Kadyrov
Anette Pollner
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:06
Member
Italian to English
Legitimate discrimination Mar 26

Discrimination perhaps, but indirect and legitimate. While being a native speaker does not necessarily guarantee linguistic expertise, it is a general consensus that people should only translate into their native language. Of course there are exceptions. But to an agency trying to run an efficient business, it simply makes sense. You may not agree with it. But it's not unlawful.

"The Equality Act says discrimination can be justified if the person who's discriminating against you can
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Discrimination perhaps, but indirect and legitimate. While being a native speaker does not necessarily guarantee linguistic expertise, it is a general consensus that people should only translate into their native language. Of course there are exceptions. But to an agency trying to run an efficient business, it simply makes sense. You may not agree with it. But it's not unlawful.

"The Equality Act says discrimination can be justified if the person who's discriminating against you can show it’s a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. If necessary, it's the courts which will decide if discrimination can be justified. A legitimate aim is the reason behind the discrimination. This reason must not be discriminatory in itself and it must be a genuine or real reason.

Here are examples of legitimate aims:

- the health, safety and welfare of individuals
- running an efficient service
- requirements of a business
- desire to make profit.

Example: A hospital advertises a surgeon’s job for which it requires at least ten years’ experience. You can’t meet this requirement because you’ve taken time off work to care for your children. As you’re a woman, this looks like indirect discrimination because of sex. But the hospital may be able to justify this, if it can show that the job can’t be done properly without that amount of experience. This is likely to be a legitimate aim."

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/what-are-the-different-types-of-discrimination/justifying-discrimination/
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writeaway
Walter Landesman
Yvonne Gallagher
Joe France
Yolanda Broad
Robert Forstag
Juno Bos
 

lumierre
Germany
Local time: 18:06
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
legimate discrimination Mar 26

And the issue is more about legal implications that are already in place, rather than our ability to choose it to be how we like it or would like it to be.

To clarify on legitimate discrimination point, it is legitimate ONLY when the request is not unspecific, not generally, not blatantly put there like a wall. Merely specifying ”translation tasks can only be made by native speakers” is blatant and un-legitimate discrimination, for which law is clear, regardless of what many mig
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And the issue is more about legal implications that are already in place, rather than our ability to choose it to be how we like it or would like it to be.

To clarify on legitimate discrimination point, it is legitimate ONLY when the request is not unspecific, not generally, not blatantly put there like a wall. Merely specifying ”translation tasks can only be made by native speakers” is blatant and un-legitimate discrimination, for which law is clear, regardless of what many might think.

It must be a specific case that allows one to restrict one's job offer to only native speakers (whose definition must be clearly specified, what is there involved: is it the national identity, and why, is it being born out of a national ethnic member of that language group and why etc etc).

And, besides this, to justify quality and business efficiency, it is actually merely the editing tasks that are more likely to be specifically justified in involving a native, because of cultural appropriateness (though someone who has lived enough in that country has the same rights to do these tasks as well as a ”native”). Translation-only tasks and their quality depends, business-oriented, of the knowledge of the translator in the field rather than the ”nativity” of its language skills.




[Edited at 2019-03-26 14:51 GMT]
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Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 17:06
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
"native-level" or "proficient" Mar 26

This is the way most jobs in the EU are advertised and thus do not break any "discrimination" law.

The problem is that most non-natives do not reach anywhere near native level, even if they have a high opinion of themselves! It takes more than a few classes or a few years living in the target language country to become "native level". The evidence is clear to see, e.g. all comments above have errors (except for Fiona's!) and would need to be proofed by a true native to correct them
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This is the way most jobs in the EU are advertised and thus do not break any "discrimination" law.

The problem is that most non-natives do not reach anywhere near native level, even if they have a high opinion of themselves! It takes more than a few classes or a few years living in the target language country to become "native level". The evidence is clear to see, e.g. all comments above have errors (except for Fiona's!) and would need to be proofed by a true native to correct them if these were translations.

As regards whether this really is "discrimination" or not, well no, not at all. If I need something well written in French or Spanish or German or whatever language, I think it far better to ask a true native of those languages to do it for me. IF and only IF a true native is not available, I might consider someone who is supposedly "native-level". So, even if I had to advertise for "native-level" writers/translators, I would be checking the credentials to see who really was "native".

I also have a beef with so-called "dual natives". In my experience, most people who call themselves that are not proficient in either of the languages claimed. There are some cases of course, such as a minority of people in officially-bilingual countries, who could claim equivalent levels of competence in 2 languages. I don't call myself "native" in Irish (Gaelic) as, though I understand it and speak it and can do some writing, I would not claim to be proficient enough to translate into it. (Though I could translate from it.) Here you really need to have been born and raised in one of the Irish-speaking areas to be truly fluent. I also met a few people who were fluent in both English and French when I was living in Montreal. However, most people can only be fully fluent, in all senses of the word, including inherent cultural knowledge, in one language.

Of course a lot of (poorly-educated?) natives (in all languages) are not proficient in their own language either but anyone who wants to call themselves a professional linguist should not be making basic grammar or terminology mistakes and should be able to write fluently with style.

Unfortunately, everyone thinks they can "English". Non-natives butt in all the time on Kudoz questions to English and then argue with natives about meanings when it's quite obvious they haven't a clue. I'd never dream of doing the same in French or my other source languages.
[edited to add some commas and correct some typos. Wrote too quickly!]




[Edited at 2019-03-26 15:03 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-03-26 15:04 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-03-26 15:10 GMT]
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writeaway
Paulinho Fonseca
Walter Landesman
Dan Lucas
Barbara Carrara
Chris S
Gina Centanni
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:06
Member
Italian to English
You're proving the "discriminating parties" right Mar 26

Lumierre, in your profile you claim to be a native English speaker, yet your posts here and your own profile contain grammar mistakes that a native speaker would not make. Forgive my bluntness. But your writing here shows exactly why agencies ask for native speakers only.

Yvonne Gallagher
Sheila Wilson
Rachel Waddington
Barbara Carrara
Chris S
Yuri Teixeira Mendes
Axelle Hawkins
 

Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 17:06
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Exactly! Mar 26

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

Lumierre, in your profile you claim to be a native English speaker, yet your posts here and your own profile contain grammar mistakes that a native speaker would not make. Forgive my bluntness. But your writing here shows exactly why agencies ask for native speakers only.


Yuri Teixeira Mendes
Dylan Jan Hartmann
Andy Barton
 

lumierre
Germany
Local time: 18:06
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
being easier and simpler to do it with natives does not merely justify it Mar 26

Yvonne Gallagher
Thank you for taking the time to contribute to this delicate issue. I think your point of view is shared by many of us, however, knowingly passing by discrimination laws, abusing them in the sense of ignoring their sense and using some preferential clean words to hide the real discrimination you have in mind is not the correct approach. We may, as well, using the same approach, think slavery in the same terms. It was obviously ”easier” and ”convenient” to use slav
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Yvonne Gallagher
Thank you for taking the time to contribute to this delicate issue. I think your point of view is shared by many of us, however, knowingly passing by discrimination laws, abusing them in the sense of ignoring their sense and using some preferential clean words to hide the real discrimination you have in mind is not the correct approach. We may, as well, using the same approach, think slavery in the same terms. It was obviously ”easier” and ”convenient” to use slaves for work. None can argue differently, their work was cheaper, their work abilities were even better than that of the locals! and this was also clearly economically justified. Was it also the right thing to do?

I think we need to think of this not in terms of ways to go around the discrimination laws but in terms of what is indeed the right thing to do. I have seen many native-made translations that were so poor and many non-native translations that needed just a fine tuning touch of a native. I think letting ppl just saying out there ”native only” ”native only” is not only a disregard of human rights but also quite unprofessional thing to do. This does not guarantee the quality of the end product. More obviously since most of these ads come from countries who do not give a f... on human rights, which says a lot of the thinking model behind these.
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lumierre
Germany
Local time: 18:06
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Right. My profile has been corrected by three native English speakers... :) Mar 26

Yvonne Gallagher wrote:

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

Lumierre, in your profile you claim to be a native English speaker, yet your posts here and your own profile contain grammar mistakes that a native speaker would not make. Forgive my bluntness. But your writing here shows exactly why agencies ask for native speakers only.



(I ignore that attacking my person is not even close to logical reasoning)


 
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