Brought to you by Unbabel

The Understanding Podcast — Should language be more gender neutral?

A couple of months ago, I got an email from Matt Carrozo, Director of Brand and Communication at Unbabel and Editor in Chief of The Understanding, where he asked me:

“If you were to make a podcast for Unbabel what would you do?"

Being an avid podcast consumer, all sorts of ideas ran through my mind. Just as if we were about to produce something like NPR's This American Life by Ira Glass or Embedded by Kelly McEvers…

The thing is, we wanted to do something different and avoid the conventional interview format. 

We then realised that a lot of stories weren't being told around the subjects that interest us the most. From the structure, usage and shifting ambiguity of human language, to the exponential, self-learning technologies augmenting human intelligence, we could go for a more of storytelling kind of format.  

In the end, our goal is to have a better understanding of the world. So, we wanted to talk to from world-leading experts, philosophers or scientists to get the answers to the questions that keep us awake at night like:

Is the internet making us lose our memory? Will robots take over our jobs? How does language shape our way of thinking? Why is the English language failing?

So, we did. And today, we’re launching the very first episode of our podcast called The Understanding Podcast — where the art and science of language and technology meet.  On this first episode, we take a look at gender equality, women’s rights movements and what’s the role of language in all this, to understand if we should make language more gender neutral.

We had the pleasure of interviewing three brilliant women about this topic to have a better understanding of how language and society change: Anne Curzan, Professor of English, linguistics and education at the University of Michigan, Heather Burnett, a research scientist at the French Science Foundation, and Helena Moniz, senior linguist researcher at Unbabel.

Give it a listen and let us know what you think:

A special thanks to Julie Belião, head of quality at Unbabel, and Helena Moniz, senior linguist researcher at Unbabel, who helped us produce this story by introducing us to the very right people.