23 January 2006

Gaeilge is not lost in translation

Irish Independent

Paul Melia
23 January 2006

IRISH translations of new words which have only recently entered the English language will be available from an online database next year.

The database will show the Irish translation of tens of thousands of words which up to now were not available. They include internet (idirlion), website (suiomh Greasain) and spam (turscar).

The online resource will be called the National Terminology Database, and will be available to help translators and public bodies required to have Irish translations of signs and public notices.

It is hoped that a Defence Forces dictionary, which gives the Irish translation of military terms, a Garda Siochana dictionary and translations of Government legislation carried out by Dail translators will also be available on the database.

Fidelma Ni Ghallchobhair, Secretary of the Terminology Committee of Foras na Gaeilge, said yesterday that it dealt with hundreds of inquiries for Irish translations about new terms and expressions in the English language.

The Irish language was not alone in having to come up with new translations, she said, as French, Spanish and German translators also had to introduce new translations of English words into the languages.

"A lot of these words may have been there before, and queries often come from people who want to put up a sign in a hospital or a health board," she said.

"These were terms and phrases sought by translators or people working in public bodies.

"Some could be quite scientific, where someone wants to know the translation of a particular type of dragonfly, while others are for a sign telling motorcyclists to remove their helmet."

As well as a general list of new expressions, there are also specific ones, including a list of terminology required by people working in libraries; scientific names of plants and animals; biology and science; physiology; geology; astronomy; television and radio terms and computing and information technology.

"Some of it is highly technical, for example there are 10,000 computing terms," she said.

"We are working on a National Terminology Database which will be going online in about a year's time."

In all, at least 330,000 terms are expected to be posted on the database, giving public bodies no excuse not to have all signs, covering practically any topic, available.

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