Reading through various studies on gender bias in machine translation, I stumble across the sentence: The doctor asked the nurse to help her. It’s used in a study that tests how gender is translated from English into languages which, unlike English, have grammatical gender. This attribution is particularly relevant when it comes to terms that label people. In English, for example, doctor is gender-neutral, whereas in German one would traditionally have to choose between ‘Arzt’ or ‘Ärztin’, the former a male doctor, the latter female. Intrigued, I open one of the most popular translation engines to see what happens when I translate this sentence into German.
One of our aims with poco.lit. is to try to demystify some of the key ideas in and around postcolonial studies. In this post, we take a look at an article called “Decolonization is not a metaphor”, published by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang in 2012.
I could have taken a bus, but I decided to walk. This was a mistake, as my journey on this otherwise beautiful autumn morning in Belgrade took me along a highway full of thunderous traffic, noxious car fumes, and a bewildering labyrinth of pedestrian over- and underpasses. But after getting lost and taking twice as long for the trip as intended, I finally arrived in the leafy suburb of my destination: The Museum of African Art.
One of our aims with poco.lit. is to try to demystify some of the core ideas in and around postcolonial studies and the ways in which postcolonial literatures have been read. In this post, we take a look at Orientalism by Edward Said and some of its key contributions to thinking about colonial practices.
Our project macht.sprache. had us thinking about sensitive translation. But even within one language, there are many reasons to strive for sensitive expression. Sensitivity Readings support authors in taking a diverse readership into consideration.
Representations of dis/ability run through the literature of every era. It seems to be a particularly useful narrative device for writers who address colonial contexts and their consequences. At the same time, depicting dis/abled characters allows these authors to question the social and potentially colonial construction of dis/ability.
After the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, a debate emerged amongst scholars about whether postcolonial studies could provide appropriate tools of analysis for post-socialist or post-Soviet situations and experiences. People voiced different views on the so-called applicability of postcolonial theory and status in the post-Soviet zone.
In cooperation with the Goethe-Institutes in North-Western Europe, poco.lit. hosted an online discussion about disability and/in translation. Khairani Barokka and Amy Zayed shared valuable insights. This is an overview of the discussion spanning particular terms in relation to disability, pragmatic suggestions for translators and the connection between disability justice and anti-colonialism.
The Humboldt Forum in Berlin has been a controversial point of discussion for what seems like forever. The debate about this addition to the urban and cultural landscape of Berlin has revolved around a number of issues, including the history of the site, the cost of the project, and not least the objects to be exhibited there. It is this last point that is of particular interest to us at poco.lit., since the Forum is set to be the new home for Berlin’s ‘non-European’ collections.
Anyone who wants to do a quick translation is probably happy to fall back on technological aids once in a while: Google Translate, Linguee or DeepL are widely known by now. But machine translation can prevent linguistic progress or the successful establishment of non-discriminatory language. Translation programmes draw from already existing texts – and these are far from being free of discrimination. That’s why we’re excited that our macht.sprache. project will be able to develop an integration with existing translation websites to support gender-sensitive translation with the help of the Prototype Fund.