Antidote and the Language of Identity

October 08, 2020 Press releases

Recent events have highlighted the concerns of many communities with regard to how they are represented in language. In times when questions of identity and racism abound, Druide wishes to reaffirm its respect for these concerns. As a widely used dictionary and language corrector, Antidote, Druide’s flagship software, has a particular stake in these matters.

Since 2018, Antidote’s corrector has included a filter that aims to ensure equal representation of men and women in texts. The filter detects terms such as job titles and offers gender-neutral equivalents as suggestions when possible. Vocabulary filters also detect potentially offensive terms.

Antidote’s English dictionaries, which have been constantly updated and augmented since their release in 2015, also strive to be sensitive to questions of identity. A system of usage labels, used in both the definitions and the synonyms, clearly indicates when a word may be considered offensive, in order to help users avoid it. A filter can also be activated to hide any synonyms marked with such labels.

The definitions of Antidote’s 110,000 English words have been adjusted over the years to make them more inclusive. While working on Antidote 10 v4, the most recent free update, Druide’s linguistic team paid particular attention to the language surrounding disability, for example, avoiding the term “suffering from” when describing people living with a particular disability. Linguists continue to review entries ahead of this fall’s next update, focusing on terms designating Black and Indigenous people, as well as vocabulary relating to our new social realities.

It isn’t always easy to keep ahead of our ever-evolving culture and society, let alone define or describe it, even for a team of linguists as experienced as ours. At Druide, respect for the dignity of all people is a top priority, and we remain committed to doing better. Questions and comments are always welcome and can be sent to us at antidote.info.

Druide informatique produces and markets Antidote, the most complete writing assistance software suite available for English and French, as well as Typing Pal, the renowned typing tutorial application. The company is also the creator of WebElixir, a quality assurance service for websites. In addition to its software, Druide publishes French-language literature and reference works through its subsidiary, Éditions Druide.

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