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How to account for unspecified gender in a document or form

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Señora Girassol, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. Señora Girassol New Member

    Pennsylvania
    English - US
    Hola foreros!

    Estoy traduciendo al español una carta y unos formularios de emergencia para los padres de un grupo de alumnos de 6o grado que van a hacer un campamento escolar. Necesito saber qué hacer con varias palabras que se refieren a tanto hombres como mujeres, niños como niñas, pero en inglés no tienen género y en español sí.

    I am translating a letter and some emergency forms into Spanish for the parents of a group of 6th grade students going to camp. I need to know how to handle words that refer to both males and females and that in English are not gender-specific but in Spanish are.

    Por ejemplo:

    * Student's name / the student is responsible --> Yo he puesto "nombre del estudiante" / "el estudiante es responsable" pero en realidad la mitad de los estudiantes son niñas... Debo poner "nombre del/de la estudiante" y "el/la estudiante es responsable" para incluir a las niñas o está bien como lo hice? I mean, if I were saying "los estudiantes" it would include both male and female students but is the same true when speaking in the singular in general terms such as these?

    * Parent or other adult in household --> Me parece correcto decir "padre u otro adulto en casa" but I don't want it to look like I specifically mean "father or other adult male." Is there a better way to be clear here? Quizás "padre, madre, u otro adulto en casa"? And by saying "adulto" is it understood that I mean adult of either gender? Or do I need to say "otro/a adulto/a"? That just looks weird to me.

    * On the last day of camp, medications will be placed in student luggage unless otherwise specified by parent in writing. --> "En el último día del campamento, los medicamentos serán colocados en el equipaje del estudiante a menos que se especifique lo contrario por escrito por el padre." I think the grammar of the original is a little odd myself, but I am hoping it is obvious here that we are referring to both students and parents of either gender here.

    I want to be gender-inclusive without making the documents tedious to read. There is also limited space on some of the emergency forms so I need to be as concise as possible.

    Me duele la cabeza... creo que estoy pensando demasiado!

    Gracias de antemano. :)
     
  2. Translator33

    Translator33 Senior Member

    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    English- American
    Hello Señora Girassol,

    That's a very interesting problem to have. I'm looking forward to seeing how native Spanish speakers respond. However, after living in Spanish-speaking countries for quite some time, I think you are fine using the singular form of both student and parent and it will be understood. The word "student" in Spanish is masculine but does not indicate that the student is male unless there are further nouns and pronouns that indicate it as such.

    "El estudiante necesita la firma de los padres u otros adultos responsables" would mean that a student of either gender would need the signature of either parent or another responsible adult, of either gender, to participate..etc.

    Your other option, and again I'm just giving you my opinion based on what I have come to understand living abroad, would be to write in the plural and avoid the complication all together if at all possible.

    A lot of what will determine how the gender is understood, is the context and consistency. As long as you don't unintentionally differentiate between niña and niño estudiantes, then the same noun will be understood to mean both.

    I know in hospitals when they indicate waiting rooms and patient/doctor entrances..etc, they always use the article as relates to the gender of the word and not the gender of the person. They expect it to be understood that male and female patients will use the same waiting room.

    Since this seems to be a general form letter that will be sent to all students and parents, and as such the language will be formal and passive in some cases, I don´t see a problem using the singular form.

    Hope I helped some. Good luck!
     
  3. ratovicius New Member

    Spanish
    * Student's name / the student is responsible --> Yo he puesto "Nombre del estudiante" / "El estudiante es responsable" :tick:

    * Parent or other adult in household --> "padre, madre, u otro adulto en casa"? :tick: (Also it could be "Padre/ Madre/ Adulto responsable)

    * On the last day of camp, medications will be placed in student luggage unless otherwise specified by parent in writing. --> "En el último día del campamento, los medicamentos serán colocados en el equipaje del estudiante a menos que se especifique lo contrario por escrito por el Padre/ Madre/ (Again you could add: "Adulto responsable")" :tick:

    El único problema es que "Padre" en singular se usa para "Father". Mientras que "Padres" si se puede usar para "Parents". Por lo menos donde yo vivo!

    Saludos!
     
  4. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    The RAE is very clear in its recommendation. If you want to address both male and female persons with nouns that have both a male and female form (like niño/niña), you use the masculine form. The RAE explicitely condemns constructs like "niño/niña" or "niños y niñas".
     
  5. chileno1975 Junior Member

    Chicago
    Chile-Castellano
    Hi Señora Girassol,

    I have a few suggestions. And I agree with you on wanting to being inclusive (perhaps to a point). For "parent" I would say "madre o padre." I.e = "madre, padre u otro adulto de la casa (o de la familia)." To refer to the student you can switch up the personal pronoun, and go with "el estudiante" or "la estudiante," just an idea.
    Let me just make one correction, just take it with a grain of salt!
    "En:cross: el último día del campamento"
    ¡Suerte!
    Hernán




     
  6. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    Hola Hernán,

    No le veo nada mal a eso. ¿Qué quieres decir?

    Peter
     
  7. Pablowally New Member

    Spanish - Spain
    Hola Peter. El "En" es innecesario y suena redundante, se dice simplemente "El último día de campamento..."

    Respecto al tema "Parent", en las cartas en España se suele usar, más que "padre, madre o adulto", el término: "Padre, madre o tutor". Después puedes simplemente referirte al "tutor" en el resto de la carta, en vez de tener que escribir padre o madre todo el rato.
     
  8. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    Aah. ¡Gracias!
     
  9. BrooklynBoy

    BrooklynBoy Senior Member

    English - Nueva York
    Es esto correcto?

    se especifique lo contrario por escrito por el Padre

    ¿No debe ser "sea especificado"?
     
  10. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    En mi opinión, es correcto. ¿Por qué piensas que sería incorrecto?
     
  11. Señora Girassol New Member

    Pennsylvania
    English - US
    Gracias a todos por la ayuda. :)
     
  12. BrooklynBoy

    BrooklynBoy Senior Member

    English - Nueva York
    Bueno, me han enseñado que es incorrecto decir "se especifique por el padre". Que si hay "por alguien", pues tiene que ser "es/fue hecho por ______", no "se hace por _____". ¿No es así?
     

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