Time to Put Irish First

Posted on: 22/12/2009

Vincent Holmes proposes:

“There is a fundamental error, in my view, in the State’s approach to translating documents, and it needs to be addressed (‘Translating documents into Irish costs €3,000 a week’, Irish Independent, December 18).

Today, most of the State’s documentation is translated from an original version in English to a new version (usually later) in Irish. My thesis is that this pattern should be reversed.

Documentation should be generated initially in Irish (many of our government departments have the capacity to do so) and then translated into English. In keeping with the State’s new 20-year strategy for Irish (Plean 2010 — 2030) this proposal should be addressed for sound economic and linguistic reasons.

The language trajectory for an Ghaeilge is heading in the wrong direction at present, ie, the language is being dominated by English. To reverse this trend, creativity in Irish is a compulsory requirement.

Now that Irish is an officially recognised EU language there may be a way to source payment from Europe — for translations from Irish to English and other languages. I suggest that the Government (as part of its linguistic plan) should address these possibilities.

UNESCO, in its February 2009 report, designated Irish as one of the endangered languages of the world.

To head off these linguistic perils we need to start using an Ghaeilge more creatively.”


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