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CSA Research Launches Pro Bono Survey on Gender in Language Services
Posted by Stephen Henderson on January 4, 2017  in the following blogs: Translation and Localization
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CSA Research is running a pro bono survey on how issues related to gender affect individuals who work in language-related jobs, both on the supply and demand side. It is open to any individual who works with language services – such as translation, interpreting, localization, internationalization, or language technology – in any capacity. This survey covers a variety of topics, including how: workers view gender, gender affects employment within language functions, workers interact with corporate policies, and family demands vary by gender and geography.

The results of this survey will be available at no charge in April 2017 through CSA’s website and will be sent to participants who provide a valid e-mail address. It will also be distributed through various organizations active in the language services arena.

Take the survey now.

Why Is CSA Research Running This Survey?

We started development of this survey in 2016 after GALA and Women in Localization approached us about the possibility of addressing this topic. Fabiano Cid, GALA Ambassador, explains the motivation behind the survey:

“The idea of understanding what role gender plays in the language industry started in October, 2015, when we raised a toast to Women in Localization during Information Development World. There was a general perception that language services are a predominantly female industry, but we were not sure whether this dominance translated into equal opportunities. To answer that question, we needed concrete data to ascertain the status of gender equality in our industry on a global scale.”

These groups turned to CSA Research because of its long qualitative and quantitative expertise in research methodologies. The annual Global Market Survey, long-running Can’t Read, Won’t Buy, and Global Website Assessment Index all demonstrate the kind of scope and sophistication needed to address a topic as complex as gender.

Because the topics the survey addresses are fundamental socio-political ones, they are very complex and go beyond the topics we typically research and analyze. Even such basic questions as defining what “gender” means for the survey have political implications. Addressing these issues inclusively without being controversial is challenging. The final survey is the result of months of internal discussion that brought out strong opinions, as well as consultation with leading figures in language services and outside socio-political experts. Each of these groups helped us spot implicit biases and refine the questions to ensure that we did not exclude any groups or impose our own ideas or assumptions.

Cid explains how this careful preparation has helped move the project forward:

“Not only has CSA Research sympathized with the project, but also accepted to run a pro-bono survey to help us move forward with the agenda. This is a sensitive issue and CSA Research has proven to be as thorough and detail-oriented in preparing for the survey as in every project they have delivered since the early days. The fact that they required the data to be freely accessible to every organization involved in the promotion and support of the survey made it even more inclusive, which is ultimately what we aim to achieve with this project.”

An additional complexity we had to address is that various personas have widely divergent concerns. Workers in corporate or organizational environments face different issues than do freelancers. The perspectives of business owners or executives often diverges from that of their employees. As a result, the survey is one of the most complex ones that CSA Research has ever developed, but the results will help reveal how these groups see the issues and how their perception affects others.

To ensure that we can compare our results with broader social surveys, we reviewed major surveys and reports on gender from other groups such as the Pew Charitable Trust and the European Commission so that the survey would be compatible with them. Although we cannot address every possible issue, the survey focuses on key topics that cross industry boundaries so that we can see how the situation of workers in language-related functions stacks up against those in other fields.

Why should you take the survey and forward it to others?

All information we collect will be kept fully anonymous, so the survey provides you with an opportunity to make your voice heard without risk. Your responses will help us to develop an accurate picture of how gender-related issues affect both men and women who work with language services around the world.

This survey is being run for the benefit of anyone working with language services. CSA Research will not sell the results or obtain any financial benefit from running it. Instead, we are doing it because we believe it serves a public good.

We need a large enough sample to understand the needs of the various categories of repsondents. If you take the time to complete the survey it will benefit you and your colleagues. The more data we obtain, the better our picture will be.

Who will benefit from taking the survey?

The results will help the following groups:

  • LSPs and other companies that hire linguists. They will benefit from a better understanding of the factors that contribute to employee satisfaction and retention. They can use the results to help tune their policies to meet employees and suppliers’ needs and to understand how those needs vary across different regions.

  • Linguists who work for LSPs. The individuals will be able to see how their employers’ policies compare to others. The results will help them understand what kinds of support and policies they should be able to expect.

  • Employees of organizations that utilize language services. Employees in language functions at these organizations often work in small groups. They have specialized skills that are difficult to replace. They can use the results to make the case for resources that better meet their needs and help their employers keep staff happy.

  • Freelance linguists. Although corporate policies do not directly affect this group, an understanding of how their experience differs from those who work as employees can help individuals decide which career options to pursue and where they are most likely to find supportive environments.

We encourage you to take this survey between now and February 14, 2017 and to pass on the link to anyone else you know who works with language services, regardless of gender, employment status, or country of residence. The more people who answer this survey, the more complete a picture we can provide of this rich and difficult topic.


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