Since the beginning of 2021, we here at poco.lit. have been working on the macht.sprache. project with Kolja Lange and Timur Celikel. macht.sprache. is a web app that aims to foster politically sensitive translation between German and English. Users already get a variety of support on macht.sprache.: it’s a platform for collecting and discussing politically sensitive terms, their translations and translation examples. It also provides a text checker, which scans text extracts and highlights sensitive terms from the macht.sprache. database that might need to be handled with care in translation. And it offers translation options suggested by the macht.sprache. community. Additionally, it’s accompanied by a manifesto that provides some useful basic principles and guidelines for politically sensitive translation.
After our funding from the Berlin Senate had run its course, we were lucky enough to gain the support of the Prototype Fund, which fosters public interest tech. With their backing, we were able to develop a macht.sprache. extension for the widely-used translation tool Google Translate. macht.sprache. can now be integrated into everyday use of Google Translate. We very much hope that this makes it more user-friendly and helpful to you!
The browser extension includes another exciting new feature: it highlights terms that refer to people, which are likely to be assigned a grammatical gender in the suggested German translation. It then links to considerations and suggestions for gender-inclusive and gender-neutral terms. In this way, the macht.sprache. plugin aims to raise awareness for the implicitly sexist assumptions embedded in established translation tools and create visibility for the larger issue of discrimination in language and translation. The discriminatory mechanisms in language are many – thanks to our browser extension, not everyone has to be an expert on all of them right away, but can still integrate more sensitivity into their work.
You can check out the Protoype’s Fund’s Demo week here.