Dublin, July 27 2022: The Irish Language Technology (ILT) research team at the SFI ADAPT Centre in DCU has provided Rannóg an Aistriúcháin, the Translation Section for the Houses of the Oireachtas, with Translation Memory (TMX) files of primary legislation  (Acts) legacy data spanning the period from 1960-2018. These resources are extremely beneficial to Irish translators as it will allow them to reuse previously translated material using state-of-the-art translation software.

The urgent need for improved technological support for the Irish language has been a recurring issue. The recently published European Language Equality (ELE) project’s report on the Irish language has outlined the necessary steps to securing more technological support for the Irish language to address the risk of digital extinction. 

Speaking about the work, ADAPT researcher and ILT lead at DCU, Dr Teresa Lynn, said: “The lack of sufficient language technologies is one of the greatest risks threatening sustained use of many EU languages right now, not only Irish. For these languages to continue to play a role at both national and European level, they need the help of technology in order to meet translation requirements. Our work represents an important step in this direction.’’

Work on producing these valuable translation files was carried out as part of the EU funded PRINCIPLE project (Providing Resources in Irish, Norwegian, Croatian and Icelandic for Purposes of Language Engineering) which focused on gathering, processing and sharing Languages Resources (LRs) such as translation documents for Norwegian (Nynorsk and Bokmål), Croatian, Irish and Icelandic. 

In addition to assisting the translators working in Rannóg an Aistriúcháin, this data has also been used to improve the quality of eTranslation, which is used not only by Irish translators at the European Commission but also available to anyone working in the Irish public sector.

ILT researchers in ADAPT have facilitated the State's commitment to allowing ‘greater access to digital resources developed for the benefit of speakers and learners of Irish’ as outlined in the Action Plan 2018-2022 for the Irish language by delivering technological support for the Irish language through various projects.

Dr Lynn commented: “We are really delighted to show how our work in DCU could help to facilitate technological progress within Rannóg an Aistriucháin. This project also demonstrates that through our combined efforts we can help further support our language in this digital age, both at national and European levels.”