Happy International Women’s Day!

Did You Know There are More Female Translators and Interpreters Than Men?

Did you know there are more female translators and interpreters than men? The translation industry is one of those rare fields that is dominated by women.

Female Translators ATA Survey

During the last few ATA Compensation Surveys (in 20152007 and 2005) women have consistently sat around the 70% mark.

Day Translations has also found that they have more women working freelance for them than men.

A study by aiic also found that there are less men in conference interpreting.


Except in Literary Translation…

It’s interesting that literary translation appears to have a different dynamic.

According to regular surveys by Rochester University literary translators are about 50/50 male and female.

But according to Words Without Borders, in 2013, female translators only make up about 26% of literary translators. However, these women were only being nominated for awards around 15%-20% of the time.


It’s worth mentioning quickly that gender has NO impact on whether you’re a good translator or not! 

Rosetta Stone Translations conducted a survey where they asked their project managers who was better: men or women? A similar, although more scientific investigation, was conducted by The Translation Journal. Their conclusions? Gender doesn’t impact whether someone’s a “good” translator or not.


Female Translators Kicking Butt on International Women’s Day

There are so many amazing female translators working today to bring people and cultures together.

I’d like to bring your attention to a few that I’ve met and who have inspired me in my time as a freelance Japanese to English translator.


Female Translators Jenae SpryJenae Spry

Jenae is a French to English translator who taught herself medical translation. This is one of things that blows my mind about Jenae. I, like many beginner translators, thought I would need a degree or education in a particular field. But she inspired me to teach myself the fields I’m interested in and to push myself to get good in those fields.

She also runs Success by RX, which is all about improving productivity and getting clients. Her webinars are a consistent source of fantastic information for freelance translators.

She’s also an incredibly nice person!



Cassiel is a Japanese to English video game translator who works specifically in visual novels aimed at women.

I met Cassiel shortly after the LogJAM Japan 2016 when she just beat me for first place for Ikinari Maou. We started chatting and I began to get to know her better. Besides being an incredibly kind person, she’s also an inspiration in terms of her approach to translating games.

One of the things that inspired me about her was her approach to sex scenes in the visual novels she works with. Many games aimed at women in Japan have very aggressive sex scenes. But Cassiel is allowed the freedom to tweak these for her audience.

“The main playerbase is fairly young (13-22) and I really want them to enjoy positive, mutual, consensual romance and sex scenes, so that maybe they can take some of that with them when they go into the real world and try to navigate actual relationships.”

This has helped the success of her games! She always gets positive feedback. They’ve become popular among the fans for the high quality translation and the positive impact they have.

Despite chronic illness, fighting chronic fatigue on a daily basis, she always works incredibly hard and takes pride in her work.


Female Translators saori sampaSaori Sampa

Saori is an English to Japanese translator and an instructor at Bellevue College. She practically runs the certificate program for Translation and Interpreting.

After my disappointing time during my MA she was the one that re-kindled my passion for the translation industry. She’s a strong advocate of education and allowing new translators (of any age) to explore what they’re good at. To work on their weaknesses and improve their strengths.

She doesn’t just tell students what to do, she encourages them to think for themselves. To come up with new approaches to translating that are so important in a good translator.

She’s an inspiration and makes me want to push myself even more.



And All The Others…

As I was writing this I kept thinking of more and more female translators who have personally inspired me. Like Molly Lee a video game translator who’s just a joy. Or Kayla Albarado who works so hard in manga translation. Kristen, who’s been an in-house translator and friend for many years.


Then there’s all the inspiring women I DON’T know!

The medical/technical/legal translators and interpreters. The ones who work hard to help make lives easier and better. The literary translators who help bridge cultures, even if they don’t get recognized for how incredibly hard literary translation is. The ones who are fighting battles that we never see. The ones who inspire others to be better translators.


So on this International Women’s Day I’d like to say thank you to all the hardworking translators and interpreters out there.

Who inspires you?


Female Translators Kicking Butt on International Women’s Day
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