Tone writing problem: how to convey dehumanization?

English is not my native language, neither is it the language in which I write scripts for my comic.
So I’ve finally got to some tone translation problems.
In my main language terms like “male”, “female”, “it” and many others come off as very dehumanizing and demeaning when applied to humans: it comes off as the speaker thinking of them as mere animals, things. But it is apparently not so disrespecting to refer to the humans as “males” and “females” in English?

Now I have a character that needs to appear contempt toward aliens whose corpses the military had found, on the grounds of “They’re not humans, so what’s wrong in referring to them like animals?”. I’ve used the aforementioned words in the native version of his phrases to punctuate the tone that sets off another character, but how do I get the point across for the English version?
There are a few phrases the character speaks before getting confronted on their attitude, a monologue, and so far here’s my current translation. They feel quite a bit tame and subtle to me:

“Bodies of these specimens are an unending fountain of discoveries!”
“There are so many differences in the structure of these creatures with our animals, but at the same time so many similarities, it’s very intriguing!”
“I could write more than one dissertation on the biochemistry of these things alone!”
"And the differences in the anatomical structure of females and males give rise to interesting theories regarding their behaviors (Original word is used to describe specifically animal behavior, like instincts and stuff), and… " (he gets interrupted at this point)


Depends. Scientific language might use males and females to refer to people/things.
If it’s a regular person, in English we kinda refer to animals in a more “cute” way- like boy or girl. “She’s a girl” “He’s a boy” if it’s a pet. If its not a pet, it depends on the person. But you’ll probably find someone saying girl or boy to refer to an animal, but an alien being referred to as male or female seems fine.
It might be rude to be like: “She’s a female” To a woman standing right next to you or when you’re talking casually. But again it it’s scientific I think male/female would be fine terms to use. I think that that is often used in biology as more formal language.

So yeah, I think male/female would be good if you’re going for off putting because that’s definitely not what we call people in non-scientific terms.

Does this help?


A little, yeah, thanks!

1 Like

I feel like I can explain this in far fewer words by just saying that using female/male is a bit more formal and not used casually.