The recent CSA Research survey on gender and family in the language services industry reveals a mixed picture. Translation, localization, and related services are a female-dominated field, with about two-thirds of the workers being women. At the same time, the upper echelons of many companies reverse this polarity, with men taking a disproportionate share of seats in the executive suites.
At Localization World in Santa Clara, CSA Research senior analyst Arle Lommel participated in a panel discussing the results of the survey. He was joined by Fabiano Cid, President of Brazilian LSP Ccaps, Anna Schlegel, Senior Director of Globalization Programs, and moderator Loy Searle, Vice-President of Operations for Localization at Deluxe Entertainment Services Group. The group discussed the survey findings and their perspectives on it.
CSA Research reached out to ask Schlegel, Cid, and Searle for their observations about this research and the panel.
Anna Schlegel pointed out that this issue still tends to attract interest primarily from women, and made a call for action:
The fact that the LocWorld Panel on the Gender Survey had 10-15% of males in the audience, tells me that we have a long way to go. I am beyond glad that CSA Research, GALA, and Women in Localization are partnering to place a baseline, but we need to keep this study going. Each of us have a piece in this: We can invite diversity. We can review lists of speakers. We can add more women to existing groups. What can you do today?
She then pointed out that public discussion, like the panel, can have positive results, and cited the following message she later received from audience member, Hilary Atkisson Normanha, international product manager at Eezy.com:
I was very inspired by your comments at the panel discussion on gender in localization. I have talked to our CTO and I will be working with him to get more female engineers on our team.
Fabiano Cid agreed with Schlegel that more is needed:
While we were there sharing hard data and dry figures, I saw many an attendee nodding in awe with what we were sharing. It is a real treat to know that this is but the first step in such a paramount initiative, one which will hopefully make the language services industry more equal, and consequently more attractive to new talent. It is something that I am forever grateful to be part of.
Loy Searle expressed a similar forward-looking approach:
The results of the study should serve as a starting benchmark for future surveys as we all work to change our industry from the inside-out to achieve balance. Thanks to all who took the time to promote it, crunch numbers, as well as everyone who completed the survey and shared their passion and interest in making a difference with us.
The outcomes of the survey are influencing discourse around gender and family issues in the language industry. By providing hard numbers, they help move the discussion past anecdotes to focus on concrete facts. This approach shows where the industry is similar to or different from other sectors, and can assist individuals and companies to determine where to focus their efforts.
To drive the discussion even further, CSA Research is releasing additional slices of the data in an interactive graphical format through the end of 2017. Available free of charge, these will allow industry participants to explore new areas and draw their own conclusions about these fundamental issues. These visualizations focus on region, company type (LSP versus buyer of language services), and company size (those with more than 100 employees versus smaller companies). In addition, CSA Research will soon launch Spanish and Portuguese versions to boost participation from Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula for expanded regional insights.
Your peers have spoken. If you’re not joining the discussion, we encourage you to start. Download the summary report and data slices and let us know what you think about these issues.