Talking translation

Is gender an issue?


  • Karen Korning Zethsen University of Aarhus
  • Inger Askehave University of Aalborg



female occupation, male translators, female translators, actantial model, job perception


It is a well-known fact that most translators are women and it is a fact which is often mentioned in translation discourse: translation is a so-called female occupation. But is this also a relevant fact and in which ways? In this article we aim to investigate how male and female translators talk about their occupation and whether gender is a relevant factor in how translators perceive their work. Our data consists of 18 narratives written by 9 male and 9 female non-literary professional translators who have been asked to write about their occupation as translators (in a semi-structured way). The data will be analysed and our findings structured by means of Greimas’ actantial model. A general conclusion is that whereas male and female translators choose to talk about the same themes they sometimes talk about them in different ways emphasising different aspects.

Author Biographies

Karen Korning Zethsen, University of Aarhus

Karen KorningZethsen, PhD, is professor in Translation Studies and Head of the Research Group for Translation and Interpreting at the Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus, Denmark. Her primary research interests include translation studies, expert-lay communication and lexical semantics. She has published numerous articles within her fields of interest in journals such as Target, The Translator, Meta, TTR, JoSTrans, Document Design, Text & Talk and the Journal of Pragmatics.

Inger Askehave, University of Aalborg

Inger Askehave, PhD, is professor in professional communication and pro-vice-chancellor at the University of Aalborg, Denmark. Her primary research interests include expert–lay communication, PR and business communication, and organizational communication. She has published several articles on genre theory, language and discourse, translation, business communication, and expert–lay communication in journals such Applied Linguistics, Text & Talk, Perspectives, Document Design, Discourse Studies, and Discourse & Society.


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How to Cite

Zethsen, K. K., & Askehave, I. (2013). Talking translation: Is gender an issue?. Gender and Language, 7(1), 117–134.