Inclusion and diversity are taking center stage in the world — from the actions we take; to the words we say; to the changes we’re determined to implement. We’re in the business of language, which is a very fundamental part of a person’s identity. Part of our duty — which we take very seriously — is to create accurate translations and images that resonate with all people and all cultures. We don’t subscribe to binary systems, nor do we limit language to what has been used in the past. Language is evolving! It’s flexible and malleable, and so are we.
One of the most important ways language and identity converge is in the form of pronouns. A person’s pronouns are how they present themselves to the world. While some languages (like English) have established multiple gender-inclusive solutions, others have yet to do the same. Romance languages, for example, denote a gender for everything. How is one to create inclusive solutions within a highly gendered language? Accepting that language should reflect people — their needs, identities, and choices — is the first step, and it’s our first step at Chillistore. We are ready to find solutions that transition away from old, stale systems, and move toward modern and inclusive solutions.
In addition to inclusive language, we also create inclusive images and visuals. We work on video subtitling for hearing impaired audiences, as well as develop complex image descriptions in the target language for blind audiences. The challenge of these projects lies at the intersection of inclusivity and accessibility. For example, in English, “X” can denote gender neutrality, such as in the word, “Latinx.” However, the “X” isn’t screen-reader friendly, meaning the technology cannot transcribe texts like “delX.” We’re working on finding unique solutions to this problem. It’s a process, but it’s one about which we’re passionate.
While we don’t think Localization is the only key to addressing complex social issues, our industry happens to be one that’s uniquely positioned to both contribute to the conversation, as well as propose solutions. After all, an emphasis on inclusion and diversity is in our DNA, and has always been what gives us life. Starting with our founder, Anna Woodward Kennedy— a Latinx woman living and running a business in Ireland. It’s never easy moving to a new country, but moving to a new country, starting a business, and making waves in a male-dominated industry? Now that takes real gumption. Anna has had a front row seat to the biases female entrepreneurs experience (which, unfortunately, still exist), and has made a conscious effort to employ female leaders. Anna’s experience informs Chillistore’s continued goal of making our community feel safe, respected, and comfortable.
So what steps are we taking? In addition to hiring a female-led team, Chillistore hosts Bias and Compassion workshops for our freelancers, where we discuss the importance of inclusive, diverse language. We have a zero-tolerance policy for any display of bias, racism, misogyny, or lack of general respect. We monitor the behaviors of our freelancers and translators, and are not afraid to dismiss people after a first offense. Maintaining a safe environment means walking like we talk. And at Chillistore, we believe in walking inclusively and in engaging with diversity. There’s no other way to exist.
We are not afraid to learn as we go, which is key to implementing real change. We’re not afraid of mistakes, but we are ready to address hiccups and learn from them.