The Irish government is undermining the use of Irish as an official EU language. This is according to the EU commission.
The specific problems are an out-of-date official modern grammar, leading to partly conflicting use of standards.
There is also a lack of qualified Irish translators and interpretors. There is no training course in the Republic for conference interpretors.
This points to an overall problem of lack of will of the Irish government to promote the use of the language.
Meanwhile, demand for Irish translation at the commission is also running 80 per cent above estimates provided by the Government before the language attained official status.
Source: The Irish Times – Ireland.com
Irish became one of the official languages of the EU
What does that mean?
On 13 June 2005 the Council of Ministers (foreign ministers) adopted a Regulation 9645/05 that granted Irish language the status of official and working language of the European Union. The Regulation stands in support of the EU orientation to promote the richness and linguistic diversity of the EU. It came into effect on 1 January 2007.
Despite the costs of the growing extent of the translations and interpretations the EU not only ecourages multilingualism of its citizens, but also tries to approach the citizens by bringing the political and administrative structure of the EU closer to them – using their mother tongue.
Since Irish accession to EEC in 1973 the Irish language had a status of a Treaty language, meaning that all the treaties had to be translated to Irish, however, Irish wasn’t treated as a working language. When the Regulation came into efect earlier this year it meant that English was no longer the only working language for the Irish representatives in the EU bodies. To be more exact, it means that all key EU legislation has to be translated to Irish and all the acts adopted in codesicion by European Parliament and the Council will be published in Irish (other legislative acts will be exempted for a period of five years since effective translation and interpretation services are yet to be established) .
On a practical level, it implies that Irish representatives are able to address the Council in Irish and that Irish job seekers can put down Irish language when they’re applying for a job that requires knowledge of EU official languages.
Other positive implications of this Regulation include the recruitment of 30 or so Irish translators and interpreters. Providing job opportunitites for Irish speakers is a great acquisition, but making Irish the official language of the EU brings about an important recognition of a language that had been neglected in the past. however, the recognition of the language is not the only achievement. The greatest development is the fact that the Irish speaking community in Ireland is granted the same rights and benefits that arise from EU-citizenship as any other linguistic community in the EU.
Since the Irish language act of 2003, and the putting in place of the An Coimisinéir Teanga (commissioner), there has been much pressure on public agencies to publish all publications in both Irish and English. Legally, not even all state agencies are obliged to provide full bilingual services – yet.
The propect for Irish translators look bright.
“We have a pool of 25 to 30 freelance translators. And we have four full-time. But there’s definitely a shortage and it’s going to become more acute with the new legislation. Údarás na Gaeltachta is actually providing training at the moment in various centres around Ireland. I think the government bodies are becoming aware of the shortage and beginning to account for it.”
See “Luck of the Irish” on Loadzajobs.ie.