Today is International Women’s Day, a day in which we celebrate the extraordinary achievements of women throughout history. Today is a day we shine a light on the remarkable deeds and actions of women across the world; and at Wolfestone we would like to dedicate this blog to the incredible work of women in translation.

Women in translation: black and white photograph of 5 men and one woman standing outside the National Anti-Suffrage Association headquarters, men looking in the window, 1911.

The History of Women in Translation

Until the 20th century, there always existed an imbalance in equal opportunities and rights for men and women. If we focus on the translation industry, in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, translation was one of the very few jobs in which women could partake. In England, women were only permitted to translate religious texts, and their translations were published anonymously. For example, Margaret More Roper was an English translator in 1524, and as a married woman, she could only publish her translation under anonymity. She was the first non-royal woman to publish her translations.

In Britain, it’s fair to say that the 20th century is characterised by the massive inclusion of women to the world of work. The two World Wars were a determining factor, since men remained on the battlefield and women were required to pick up skilled jobs to aid the war effort. For women in translation, it was following the second World War that professional interpreting was born, and with it, women interpreters.

How Many Women Translators Are in Europe?

Nowadays, we can say that women, in most countries, have almost the same rights as men. In the translation and interpreting world, women are really at the forefront of the industry, since it is one of the few professions in which the percentage of female translators is higher than men. For instance, in Wolfestone’s database of carefully vetted, experienced translators, 57% of providers are women.

According to some studies published by the European Union, in Europe around 65% of the students majoring in translation and interpreting are women and the 67% of translators and interpreters that work in the European institutions are women. In addition, the translation industry is an example of equality. Recent studies on this subject show that translation is one of the few professions that offers equal remuneration for men and women in the majority of cases.

Thoughts of a Young Female Translator

I concluded my translation studies in June 2017. I studied Translation and Interpreting because I’ve always loved learning new languages, experiencing new cultures, visiting new places… From a young age, I knew that this was the profession for me. As soon as I finished my degree, I began working in different translation agencies and as a freelancer. I’ve been fortunate enough to have travelled around Europe, and these experiences have really grown me as a person. I have discovered how tolerant I am with people that think in a different way to me, and I have met so many interesting and inspirational people. I have already done so many things and this is only the beginning! For me, becoming a translator has made me who the woman I am today – a woman that is not afraid, that has her own thoughts and words. I’m a woman that isn’t dependent on anybody and wants to take the world by storm!

I’m proud of myself and what I have achieved so far. I feel proud to be woman in translation and to have studied this wonderful vocation, because it is a great profession that makes me happy every single day. I feel proud of living in a world that is becoming increasingly aware of the struggle for women’s equality. Everybody deserves the same opportunities and rights. It is true that there is still more that can be done. There is a long way to go, and compliance is the beginning of the end, but that is why we have to keep fighting for what we want, keep fighting for a more just and equal world for everybody.

From Wolfestone, we wish you a Happy International Women’s Day!

Written by María Gracia, Edited by Geraint Jones

by Wolfestone Admin