METM09 presentation     Thread: Knowledge updates

Sensitive language: How correct is correct enough?

Sarah Griffin-Mason — Portsmouth, UK

‘Political correctness’ – or sensitive language – is a necessary element in increasingly globalised and democratised knowledge cultures, especially in medical and related fields. But just how far do journals go to satisfy the requirement? This session examines how we can best attempt to maintain clarity of meaning whilst showing respect through the careful use of words. The session analyses and compares information provided in the leading style guides (AMA, APA, CSE), the advice given by publications to contributing authors, and some examples of good usage in an effort to help writers avoid the worst excesses of those texts often disparagingly classed as ‘politically correct.’


Sarah Griffin-Mason is a freelance Spanish-to-English translator and editor based in Portsmouth, UK. She trained as an in-house translator/editor with the InterPress Service and various NGOs in Montevideo, Uruguay in the 1990s and now freelances for clients including UNICEF-TACRO, ICE and various UK agencies. She is a member of the Actas Dermosifiliográficas translation team and regularly contributes to University of Portsmouth and the events and publications of the UK-based Institute of Translation and Interpreting. She is also a committed teacher covering a range of units from Key Stage 2 Spanish to modules on the MA in Translation Studies.