Gaelic Board and Scottish Government back Google Translate Plan


Gaelic Board officials and the Minister for Scotland’s Languages, Alasdair Allan, have given their backing to efforts to establish a Scots Gaelic translation service on the popular Google Translate app.


This news comes following Murdo Fraser’s call for the taxpayer funded body to establish links with Google and their counterparts in New Zealand who have brought the Maori language to Google translate.


The Gaelic Board confirmed that they will “happily raise the points you make (about Gaelic and Google Translate) with Dr Lamb and his team, including the establishment of links to Google… and the Bord will make contact with Maori corpus developers to learn of the steps they are taking in this important field.”


Alasdair Allan MSP also confirmed in writing that “the Bord is happy to engage in a conversation with Google to try and bring a Gaelic Google translate facility to fruition and to seek advice from Maori language development colleagues on the steps they took in this regard.”


Commenting Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, Murdo Fraser said:


“I welcome the comments from both the Gaelic Board and Alasdair Allan and look forward to hearing what progress is being made on this. Hopefully, with their involvement strides can be made to have an easily accessible online Gaelic translation tool.


“Extending Gaelic’s reach can only be a good thing and its presence on Google Translate would give it a global reach not usually afforded to minority languages.


“I would stress that any service must prioritise accuracy over content as I have been made aware of translation issues with more complex languages. Nonetheless, it is important that officials think big when it comes to protecting Gaelic.


“Smaller languages must seize any opportunity to help safeguard their future and I believe Google translate could be a great starting point in helping Gaelic synchronise with the digital age.