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Job titles on LinkedIn: Traducteur or Traductrice, Traductor or Traductora, Traduttore or Traduttrice?

by Catherine Jan on January 25, 2012

Traducteur ou traductrice?

This one is for the ladies.

I recently published a French-language LinkedIn profile with the help of Patricia Barthélémy from patoudit. (It’s an experimental version that doesn’t look much like my original English-language profile.)

One part that left me scratching my head was the job title. Am I a traducteur or a traductrice?

Should I be gender-specific or not? What do my colleagues do?

Just wondering

  • What would a French client enter in the search box when looking for a freelance translator? Traducteur or traductrice?
  • Would it sound odd for a woman translator to call herself a traducteur instead of a traductrice?

Votes for traducteur

I proposed traducteur because if I were a potential client on LinkedIn, I might enter something like traducteur ressources humaines in the search box. I would NOT type in traductrice ressources humaines.

For example, I was recently looking for an illustrator. I did not search for an illustratrice; I used illustrateur. If other people are searching in the same way, aren’t the illustratrices being left behind?

Same goes for the rédacteurs and rédactrices and a host of other types of freelancers.

Experiment on LinkedIn search box

I did a test in the LinkedIn search box and got these results:

  • Traducteur marketing 659 results
  • Traductrice marketing  1187 results
  • Traducteur tourisme 224 results
  • Traductrice tourisme 485 results

We women translators are lost in a sea of traductrices. Getting found is more of a challenge for us.

On the other hand, a man traducteur has two advantages:

  1. There are fewer traducteurs to choose from
  2. Clients, in my view, look for traducteurs, not traductrices

Votes for “traductrice”

Calling myself a “traductrice” sounds natural and real, despite the difficult pronunciation.

When people ask me what I do, I reply: Je suis traductrice.

As Patricia was going over my profile, she (@patoudit) tweeted out this question:

Question aux traductrices françaises : êtes-vous “traducteur” ou “traductrice”? #nomsdemétier#france#xl8

Her Twitter connections @Millionnaire @LSPTranslation @eduratechoes @nadjflower and @csitraductions were unanimous: Loud and clear, they are traductrices!

What’s a girl to do?

For now I’ve got “traducteur du français vers l’anglais” in my profile’s tagline, but traductrice indépendante in the description of my current position.

Traducteur/Traductrice, Traductor/Traductora, Traduttore/Traduttrice

Ladies, what words do you use?

 

{ 17 comments }

Patricia Lane January 26, 2012 at 09:59

Good question Catherine, and one which made me re-check my LinkedIn profile in French (which I had not looked at in a while, shame on me!). Instinctively, I had gone for “traductrice”, which rings right to my ears (+ flashback to Helen Reddy’s “I am woman, hear me roar” :-). But I hadn’t thought of the SEO effects. So I checked the skills search words I’d entered a while back, which were all in English. I’d focused on LI for English and Viadeo for French, yet since I am letting go of my premium membership in the latter, I entered a few search terms now in French – using both “traductrice” and “traducteur”.
Thanks for that useful wake-up call!

Louise Péron (@LSPTranslation) January 26, 2012 at 10:19

Great article Catherine,
Your thoughts made me reconsider my LinkedIn tag line.
I still describe my current position as “traductrice indépendante”, but I changed my tag line to something more neutral: “Traduction marketing & technique”.
I’ll have to see if this new tag line improves the visits on my profile!
Louise

Sarah Dillon January 26, 2012 at 11:26

Great post. I grappled with this very question when I published Spanish- and German-language version of my LinkedIn profile a year or so ago.

I’m not a native speaker of either language so I didn’t have particularly strong personal feelings on the matter – my priorities were to be found by my ideal segment of clients and to entice them enough to click through to my website where all the magic happens. So in the end we went with “traductora” and “Übersetzerin” for job titles, but I made sure to include “traductor” and “Übersetzer” as keywords within the profile too. This tends to be my approach across all my profiles and online hubs. I’m very happy with my click-throughs and subsequent results, but if I wasn’t, I’d definitely consider ongoing tweaking and testing.

There may not be a one-size-fits-all solution – the wording of job titles has always varied widely across LinkedIn, regardless of the industry, so it seems to be a question of focussing on what exactly you want to achieve with your profile. And so few English-language translators have versions of their profiles in their source language(s) that it seems reasonable to assume that they’re not actively targeting the same client groups that I am, even when we share language pairs…

Very interesting subject, thanks!

Charlie Bavington January 26, 2012 at 12:07

I should probably keep quiet, since the status quo seems to be to my benefit, but is there not an argument here that the male form of any job title should be understood generically, and that therefore any search engine that does not return identical results for traducteur xxxx and traductrice xxxx is practising discrimination?

Likewise in reverse, I suspect, for job titles that are traditionally expressed in the feminine, e.g. assistante.

If it is thought to be discrimination, my feeling is that the long-term solution here is not to require women on LinkedIn and similar sites to perform optimisation gymnastics to cover double the number of possibilties us blokes have to, but for the search engines to find both sexes equally regardless of the gender of the noun entered in the search string. Anyone with a genuine reason for wanting a man/woman can do their own filtering.

Perhaps the site should be approached with a view to rectifying the situation (for all job titles in all languages)? Or explaining it first; I wouldn’t buy “ooooh it’s a bit tricky technically” as an argument, but I could have overlooked some crucial point that gets them off the hook. But as I say, it smacks of discrimination to me, on the face of it.

Goran Bogunović January 26, 2012 at 12:26

I will blatantly disregard gender specific requirement for posting and give my two cents on the subject. :)

In most languages masculine form is also used as a universal form, so in my opinion, as far as your SEO efforts are concerned, this is probably the best way to go. For example, in Serbian language, masculine form “prevodilac” (translator) is used for both genders – there are morphological mechanisms through which you could create feminine form of the word, but “prevodilica” would sound more like an “automaton that translates”. But i digress – if you’re trying to boost your presence in searches, it would probably be wise to use masculine form (or both, if you have an opportunity), in most European languages – please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

Carnet de trad January 26, 2012 at 17:09

You know that I had to check but my tagline as well as my job descriptions state that I am a “traductrice” on LinkedIn, hmm, interesting!

Catherine Jan January 26, 2012 at 21:18

Like Patricia, Louise and Sarah, I use a mix of terms: traducteur, traductrice and traduction. I think we should keep this issue in mind on our websites too.

Oh, and men are free to comment too!

Alison Hughes January 27, 2012 at 21:19

Very interesting Catherine. I’m about to get my website translated into French so definitely something to think about. I would probably never have given it a thought if I hadn’t read your post.

Misha Krasnotsvetov February 1, 2012 at 22:00

Interesting little experiment. I think you should focus on non-gender related keywords, such as translation(s) + language, because often people look for translations instead of translators.

Catherine Jan February 2, 2012 at 21:50

Alison and Misha, thanks!

EP February 3, 2012 at 22:24

As for your title… What about Übersetzerin? <:-)

FrenchNad February 4, 2012 at 17:33

Great point! I shall add “Create a French LinkedIn profile” to my marketing checklist for 2012… I would also go for the generic “Traducteur” or describe the activity “Traduction et Interprétation anglais-français”. I would also add tags/specialties without the accents, since users search for services on their smartphones and omit them…?

astrid February 8, 2012 at 12:29

Great post! My profile is only available in English, as most of my clients and prospects are English-speakers. In French, I tend to use mostly “traduction”, which I guess is the most common search word out of the three, but a mix is probably the way to go. I’m thinking about creating a German profile on Xing and I will definitely keep that in mind.
Funny how people will look for a “traducteur” when the profession is so heavily dominated by women!

Catherine Jan March 5, 2012 at 23:59

@EP, I should’ve thought of Übersetzerin sooner!

@FrenchNad, Interesting point about accents and smartphones, thanks.

@astrid, Yes, it is ironic that there are so many “traductrices” out there, yet that’s not the most popular keyword.

Thanks to Claire on Twitter (@wordsparfait) I found this article in French about this very issue:
http://www.justsearch.fr/blog/le-seo-et-le-genre-des-mots-1704.html

Amandine April 23, 2012 at 20:24

Checking my CV/résumé in English and in French, I noticed the French reads “traduction” (translation) while the English “translator”. I guess I kept it gender neutral more or less unintentionally.

Catherine Jan April 23, 2012 at 21:03

It would be good to know if clients search for “traduction” or “traducteur”. Since I’m not sure, I use both words on my profile.

Amaia Zaza March 31, 2013 at 17:36

Very interesting subject, I had never thought about this. My LinkedIn profile is only in English, but in Spanish I probably would have called myself “traductora”.
If I saw a female translator’s profile in which she called herself “traductor”, I would assume it was a mistake and probably take her less seriously.
I really like the option of using “traducción”.

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