Updated: Towards a more gender-sensitive German localisation of CiviCRM

2022-05-20 13:53
Written by
Andreas - member of the CiviCRM community - view blog guidelines

Something that many of us love and appreciate about CiviCRM is that diversity and inclusion has a very high value for us as a community. That's why from time to time we deliberate how the language in and around CiviCRM can be made more inclusive and gender-sensitive. And sometimes there are very practical results, too – such as the gender self-identify extension, for example.

Many of you will know that gender-equitable language is particularly tricky in some languages, and that one language with many issues and debates in this regard is German. German nouns, articles and pronouns adhere to a binary male/female gender construct: While in English you simply say "the pilot", in German you need to refer to someone as "der Pilot" (male) or as "die Pilotin" (female). Even worse: In conventional language you use the male version to refer to any pilot when the gender is unknown or irrelevant, and you would later refer back to that pilot using the male pronoun “er” (he), not an equivalent of “them”. It will not surprise you that there is an intense debate and a number of alternative proposals about all this in the German-speaking world. These include gender-neutral formulations, a number of suggested inclusive gender markers, and proposals for completely new sets of personal pronouns. Many organisations that use CiviCRM would therefore like CiviCRM to move with the times and are willing to get involved. There is another good reason to take on this difficult issue: CiviCRM Transifex already contains a wide range of variants that reflect that discussion, but there is no single strategy in the current translations.

And that brings me to the real reason for this post: At the CiviCRM Sprint in Berlin this week, after an exchange on the topic, an initiative came together that wants to standardise the German translations in Transifex. The group wants input and is also planning a vote on various alternatives. Anyone who would like to join in or contribute to the discussion can find more information in this post in the German CiviCRM Community Discourse.

Update: please vote now!

The voting for gendering in the German speaking CiviCRM community is now online. You can participate until 29.06.2022 here.

Update: vote closed, translation guide updated

The results in short: Gender-neutral desginations should be used whenever possible. If there is no reasonable gender-neutral desgination, then a multi-gender spelling with a gender star shall be used. The German translation guide has been updated accordingly.