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Author meets Translator: A conversation with Sharon Dodua Otoo and Jon Cho Polizzi

We could introduce Sharon Dodua Otoo by way of the many prestigious accolades she has received, but really her work speaks for itself. At poco.lit. we’ve been fans of her work for a long time and are delighted to present a conversation between her and her talented translator Jon Cho Polizzi as part of our event series “author meets translator”. We’ll be talking about the novel Adas Raum (Ada’s Room/Ada’s Realm), about humour, Berliner Schnauze, and doing politics in language and literature. Join us!

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Machine Translation and Natural Language Processing

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.

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