Gender-neutral language is a big topic. I'm just thinking of a couple of points here. One client wants to use the masculine to include the feminine. This applies to the German original, using Student to include Studentin, for example. This problem doesn't arise in the English translation, though. What if there is an explanation at the beginning of a long document that the masculine will be used to include the feminine, and yet there are only three places where this happens in the English translation, and those could be elegantly amended to be non-sexist - and what's more, it might be expected for the English to be non-sexist? Of course, that's assuming the translation is intended for an Anglo-Saxon audience. Second point is the suggestion of following the style guidelines at Kent Law.
The key rule of thumb is to avoid using gender-specific language; resort to alternatives like "he or she" only if there is no way to write the sentence without the pronouns. In most cases, one can rewrite any sentence to avoid the need for gender-based pronouns. There are three methods explained below. The first of the three is the most desirable. Do not use "their" as an alternative to his or her; "their" should be used only when referring to a plural subject. Each of the rules here offers a method of avoiding gender-based language. 1. Rewrite the sentence to avoid the need for any pronoun at all. One can often substitute the words "the" or "a" for the pronoun. Incorrect: A good judge takes their job very seriously. Undesirable:A good judge takes his or her job very seriously. Better: A good judge takes the job very seriously
I agree that one might try to avoid their as a singular, because it is unpopular with many. As a translator, I tend to compromise if the client has a particular opinion on usage. But I am unhappy with the suggestion that their is actually wrong ...Zum vollständigen Artikel