Talking at cross-purposes? The missing link between feminist linguistics and translation studies

Olga Castro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Following decades of feminist linguistic activism, and as a result of a greater
awareness of the vital role that non-sexist language plays in achieving social
equality, different campaigns were launched in many countries leading to a more frequent use of so-called inclusive language. Bringing this together with current theoretical approaches to translation studies which have been defining translation as an ideological act of intercultural mediation since the 1990s, this article seeks to examine to what extent feminist linguistics have had any influence on translation studies. My purpose is to assess whether particular feminist linguistic interventions in vogue when writing ‘original’ texts within the realm of the source language are also adopted when (re)writing ‘translated’ texts in the target language, bearing in mind the double (con)textual responsibility that translators have towards the source and the target (con)texts. I will examine the arguments for and against the use of inclusive language in (literary) translation through an analysis of the ‘ideological struggle’ that emerged from two ideologically disparate rewritings of gender markers into Galician of the British bestseller The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon (2003), focusing on the ideological, poetic and economic pressures that (still) define the professional practice of translation. It is my contention that the close scrutiny of these conflicting arguments will shed light not only on the existing gap between the theory and practice of translation, but may be also indicative of a possible ‘missing link’ between feminist approaches to linguistics and to translation studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-58
Number of pages23
JournalGender and Language
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Feb 2013


  • feminist linguistics
  • feminist translation studies
  • non sexist-language in translation
  • theory and practice of translation


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