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Translation of documents into Irish Gaelic: a price worth paying?

Here at Lingua Translations we are firm believers in keeping minority languages alive. The Irish language is one which we have a particular fondness for. We feel that minority languages should get the official recognition that they deserve. But in this age of austerity we can’t help but ask if the amount spent on the translation of documents into minority languages such as Irish Gaelic is really worth the cost?

There has recently been much controversy over translation costs in the public sector. Especially after the recent outcry over NHS document translation costs reaching £60,000 a day! To the average person, that sounds like a crazy amount of money! Now with the Education sector coming under fire for the same reasons, many feel that something has to change in the way that the translation of documents into minority languages is handled.

The Irish exam board CEAA has recently published rising costs of translation of exam papers for Gaelic students. It shows the cost of translating from English to Irish has risen by a startling £500,000 since 2006. Though the prices may be shocking at first, many feel that the cost is worthwhile. It is a necessity to keep the language alive and in use within modern society.

To translate or not to translate…

There are those on the other hand who argue that document translation into the Irish language is a waste of public funds. Seeing that nobody speaks the language. In 2006 however, a national census reported that there are more than 85,000 people in the Republic of Ireland who use Irish Gaelic. Not to mention those in Northern Ireland. On top of that, there are currently over a million Irish language speakers. Even if they aren’t speaking it on a regular basis. So, there seems to be a decent amount of the population that know and speak Gaelic.

So what do you think – is the translation of documents into Irish Gaelic a worthwhile investment in times of economic austerity, or is the Irish economy worth more than upholding its cultural heritage?

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