Contents of this Page:
|Webinars About Inclusive Language||Jump to Section|
|∟ Upcoming Webinar: Interpreting Inclusive Language|
|∟ Webinar 1: Using Inclusive Language in Medical Interpretation|
Includes Spanish-language resources denoted by [EN]
|Jump to Section|
|Resources by Subject|
Includes Spanish-language resources denoted by [EN]
|Jump to Section|
|∟ Gender & Sexual Diversity|
|∟ Identity-First Language vs. Person-First Language|
|∟ Plain Language|
|∟ Race, Ethnicity, Nationality, and Culture|
|∟ (Dis)Ability & Non-Ableist Language|
|∟ Age & Ageism|
Upcoming Webinar: Interpreting Inclusive Language
Catch me at the Innovation in Interpreting Summit from March 7-9, 2023! I’ve been invited to present on interpreting inclusive language. I’ll be answering some of the most commonly-asked questions about inclusive language such as:
- Why do people use inclusive language?
- How can I recognize when someone is choosing to express themselves inclusively?
- How do I deliver accurate interpretations of inclusive language?
We’ll be examining this topic through the lens of gender and sexual diversity, but will also be coming away with valuable lessons that can be applied to other areas of inclusive language as well. Stay tuned to this page or consider subscribing to my newsletter for updates on the summit!
Webinar 1: Using Inclusive Language in Medical Interpretation
On June 24, 2022, I gave a free hour-long webinar entitled “Using Inclusive Language in Medical Interpretation,” in conjunction with MDtranslation.com. This was the third installation of the monthly series sponsored by the Bureau of Rural Health & Primary Care, Division of Public Health, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Funding for this webinar was made possible by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Idaho Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities. The webinar was designed to be a basic introduction to inclusive language and what this means for interpreters, however medical and mental health care providers, as well as language access coordinators were welcome to attend.
📕 Click here for the PDF version of the slides from the presentation!
This page was initially designed to be an accompaniment to the webinar in conjunction with MD Translation, but I have since given additional webinars on inclusive language in which I also share this page. Resources will continue to be added!
- Conscious Style Guide
A great collection of resources across nearly every imaginable category of inclusive language: (dis)ability, age, appearance, empowerment, ethnicity, race, nationality, gender, sex, sexuality, health, plain language, socioeconomic status, spirituality, religion, atheism, and more!
- Guidelines for Inclusive Language – Linguistic Society of America
- How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think? – Edge, by Lera Boroditsky
I encourage attendees to adopt inclusive language, even when they’re not interpreting it, because our thinking shapes our language, and our language shapes our thinking. This article talks about the connection between the words we use and the way we think about things.
- Let’s be Real: Inclusive Language Matters – Medium, by Neha Jain
- [ES] MODII
This is a Spanish-language website dedicated to inclusive language! They occasionally have free webinars, but also have a BUNCH of super useful resources. I absolutely love them. They’re so informative!!!
Resources by Subject
Please note that these resources are listed in alphabetical order, not order of preference or importance.
Gender & Sexual Diversity
- APA Style Guide – Gender
The American Psychological Association outlines how to make sure your language is free of bias when writing, however many of these principles could easily be applied to interpretation. It defines commonly-misunderstood terms and explains terms that should be avoided, as well as usage of various terms used to describe gender.
- ⭐ Behavioral Health Learning Resources ⭐ – National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center
I mention to attendees that if they check out ONE page of the additional resources I provide, this should be it. One of many reasons why inclusive language is important is because the stigma that trans and nonbinary folks face has a disastrous and tragic effect on their mental health. An additional resource about this topic is the LGBTQ+ Behavioral Health Equity Center of Excellence.
- Being Mindful of Gender as an Interpreter of a Gendered Language – KGH Interpretation
- [ES] Cis/Trans: algunas consideraciones lingüísticas – Pikara Magazine, by Teresa Maldonado
- Gender-Inclusive Language – The Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill
- KGH Interpretation’s LGBTQ Resource Page
- LGBTQ-Affirming Interpretation Services (NCIHC AMM Summary) – KGH Interpretation
- [ES] Orientaciones para el empleo de un lenguaje inclusivo en cuanto al género en español – Naciones Unidas
While the exclusion of gender-neutral language is missing in some sections (in favor of a binary inclusive-but-not-neutral approach), their section on No visibilizar el género cuando no lo exija la situación comunicativa includes some great examples of using collective nouns to achieve some level of gender neutrality.
- Pronouns Matter
This website is an excellent starting point for anyone who would like to learn more about pronouns. It answers common beginner questions like: why do pronouns matter? How do I use pronouns? What do I do if I make a mistake?
- What Does Cis Mean? – Trans HUB
- What is Heteronormativity? – VeryWellHealth
Part of interpreting inclusive language is challenging common assumptions. This page explains the term “heteronormativity” and how we can inadvertently perpetuate this idea through our language (even when we’re interpreting).
Identity-First Language (IFL) vs. Person-First (PFL)
- [ES] Autistas de Twitter – A list on Twitter that I created of Spanish-language autistas.
- Identity-First Language – Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)
It is always important to consult with communities on how they refer to themselves, and ASAN is an organization for autistic people by autistic people (unlike organizations like Autism Speaks). This is a thorough article on why many autistic people prefer identity-first language. The end of the article lists sources from people who prefer IFL, those who prefer PFL, and people who use both interchangeably when speaking about autism.
- Person-First and Destigmatizing Language – National Institutes of Health (NIH) Style Guide
This source is excellent for interpreters and translators alike as it gives examples of potentially offensive terms that are NOT person-first along with their person-first equivalents. It offers many links to the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook’s relevant sections as well.
- Person-First Language vs. Identity-First Language: An examination of the gains and drawbacks of Disability Language in society – Journal of Teaching Disability Studies, Phillip Ferrigon
- Why Person-First Language Doesn’t Always Put the Person First – Think Inclusive, by Emily Ladau
An article written by a disabled person about how “disability” isn’t a dirty word and her criticisms of person-first language.
- 12 writing tools to make COVID-19 coverage comprehensible – Poynter, by Roy Peter Clark
While this article’s intended audience is writers, this is actually a really great set of tips on how to use plain language. This would be very useful for a medical interpreter when switching to the clarifier role in terms of how to make things more clear, and potentially giving providers direction on doing so, if necessary.
Race, Ethnicity, Nationality, and Culture
Race, ethnicity, nationality, and culture is a HUGE topic! Most of the sources shared in this section are based on U.S. discourse, which in and of itself is not homogeneous. Sources are not divided up into subcategories because topics often overlap, but instead alphabetized much like the rest of this list.
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Native Peoples – Native American Rights Fund (NARF)
NARF is an organization that has provided legal assistance to Native American tribes, organizations, and individuals since 1970. It is based in Colorado and the organization is governed by a board of 13 Native Americans from different tribes. You’ll notice the language used on this page is different from the language used on the page listed below: How to Talk about Native Nations: A Guide.
- BIPOC? Latinx? Here’s how to describe people accurately – NPR, by Jerome Socolovsky
While this is written as a training guide for journalists, it gives many examples of “outsiders imposing names and ignoring the way communities refer to themselves collectively.” It also gives a list of five things you can do to make sound decisions about how to identify groups of people. Then, it gives many commonly-used acronyms within U.S. journalism for different racial, ethnic, and cultural groups.
- How to Talk about Native Nations: A Guide – Native Governance Center
The Native Governance Center is a Native-led nonprofit based in Minnesota, and these are their suggestions for how to talk about Native Nations. While this page is a written guide, it also has a link to the recording of the event this page is based on. You’ll notice the language used on this page is different from the language used on the page listed above: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Native Peoples.
- Inclusive Language 101: Race & Ethnicity – The Nova Collective
The Nova Collective is a women-owned BIPOC-led business that supports other businesses in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This is their page on using racially and ethnically inclusive language that also explains the difference between race and ethnicity. It offers some examples of how different groups self-refer and are referred to in the U.S.
- Perpetuating Abolition in the Language We Use: Does ‘BIPOC’ Get the Job Done? – Reclamation Magazine, by Mika Alexander
This article describes the emergence of the term BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and includes opinions from various people who would be considered to be included in this umbrella term.
- OPINION | Latinx vs Latine – The Tulane Hullabaloo, by Doxey Kamara
I felt that I needed to include an article on the use of the term Latinx and how it is by and large not accepted by native Spanish-speakers. Unfortunately, most articles that I found actively perpetuated erasure of nonbinary people, which flies in the face of the purpose of this page. This article strikes a good balance between explaining why there is rejection of the Latinx label among many Spanish-speakers, respecting nonbinary people, and exploring the other existing alternatives like Latine and Hispanic.
- The inadequacy of the term “Asian American” – Vox – Asian American identity series, by Li Zhou
This article covers the term Asian American, its alternatives, and weighs the opinions of people in the U.S. who may or may not feel erased by these terms.
- Thirty Everyday Phrases that Perpetuate the Oppression of Indigenous Peoples – The Radical Copyeditor, by Alex Kapitan
Having grown up in the U.S., many of the terms listed here are incredibly common. As an interpreter, it’s important to familiarize yourself with these phrases (many of which are idioms) so as not to add additional negative context to your interpretations.
(Dis)Ability & Non-Ableist Language
In addition to the resources listed below, many of the resources listed under “Identity-First Language (IFL) vs. Person-First Language (PFL)” also discuss disability.
- Ableism 101 – Access Living, by Ashley Eisenmenger
This page goes over what ableism is, what it looks like (including “everyday” or minor ableism), what are ableist micro-aggressions, and what we can do to recognize and avoid ableism.
- Ableism: Language and Microaggressions – University of the Fraser Valley LibGuides
This page includes examples of ableist words/phrases and their alternatives (excellent for interpreters to consider the full context of their renditions), ableist micro-agressions and their “translations,” as well as videos going over topics related to ableism.
- Disabilities, Neurodiversity, and Chronic Illness – Language, Please style guidance
A searchable glossary-like resource with entry on different topics related to disabilities, neurodiversity, and chronic illness. Each entry is hosted on another page and some are quite extensive, with a definition of the term, guidance on non-ableist language, additional resources, and links to related terms.
- Disability Language Style Guide – The National Center on Disability and Journalism
This comprehensive guide, available in Spanish, Italian, and Romanian, offers not only general guidance on writing about disability, but also guidance on terms listed in glossary format. While it is designed for journalists, each of these entries is incredibly useful to interpreters to help us to understand the full context of each term, both intended and otherwise.
- Glossary of Ableist Phrases – By Lydia X. Z. Brown
This is a pretty comprehensive list of terms that, to varying degrees, are ableist, for reference purposes. Each entry generally has a definition, why it is considered ableist, and to what degree the term may be considered offensive.
- People With ‘Invisible Disabilities’ Fight For Understanding – NPR, by Naomi Gingold
As someone who could easily fit into this category, I felt it was necessary to include something on invisible disabilities. Ableism can also take the form of erasure. People with chronic conditions may “pass” as being able-bodied, resulting in a lack of acknowledgement of their condition(s) and even discrimination.
- The Harmful Ableist Language You Unknowingly Use – BBC Worklife, Equality Matters, by Sara Nović
I really like this article because the author, who is deaf, explains how the term “deaf” initially evokes a sense of pride for them, but that the use of the term in contexts that evoke a negative connotation is hurtful. Using this example as a jumping-off point, the author explains the phenomenon known as ableism, and how it creates “an oppressive environment” for us all.
- Why You Need to Stop Using These Words and Phrases – Harvard Business Review, by Rakshitha Arni Ravishankar
The journalist who wrote this piece reached out to several disability rights advocates for their insights on ableism. Each heading is a takeaway the author has, and each numbered subheading is a supporting point. It also contains tips for readers.
Age & Ageism
- Adults Just Don’t Understand: Checking Out Our Everyday Adultism – Everyday Feminism, by Kel Kray
This is a very comprehensive article that defines adultism (a type of ageism). It also goes over some examples of words and phrases that are adultist and why they are problematic.
- Age-inclusive language: Are you using it in your writing and everyday speech? – Washington University in St. Louis, Harvey A Friedman Center for Aging
This article is a rundown of what various style guides outline as best practices when writing about older adults.
- Ageing: Ageism (Q&A) – The World Health Organization
This page is short, sweet, and to-the-point. It answers a few common questions about ageism and provides no-nonsense, concise definitions.
- Eliminate ageism and age discrimination, says UN expert – United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner
This article explains what ageism is, how ageism is a global issue, and its negative effects on older persons.
- [ES] Juventudes – MODII
This page has a list of terms related to young people (in Spanish, but you can quickly swap to English at the top). I wanted to include this page because 1) it’s an excellent Spanish resource and 2) ageism is often thought of in terms of being discriminatory towards older people, not younger people.
More to come soon! Subscribe to my newsletter to stay up-to-date on this page, as well as many other useful resources for interpreters.