Irish Language Blog

An Irish translator in Brussels Posted by on Aug 13, 2021 in Culture, Irish Language

Haigh, a chairde!

In 2007 Irish was made an official working language of the European Union and so since then numerous translators have taken up residence in Brussels to work for the EU. In the three videos below from 2016 one of those translators, PJ Mac Gabhann, describes life in Brussels and his job as a translator after he uprooted his life in Ireland for a new one in Brussels.

In an interview with the Irish Times, PJ Mac Gabhann reflects on the significance of Irish being made an official working language of the EU:

“More importantly, I feel the Irish language itself will benefit from its improved status in Europe. With Irish as an EU official working language since 2007, the increased opportunities for graduates with Irish language skills to work in translation or in the related fields of lexicography and terminology development alongside language technology are to be welcomed. That in itself is important. Moreover, these developments add to the relevance and growth of the language in the 21st century and prepare Irish for future generations. How blessed am I to be part of all of this?”

Ar camchuairt ar mo rothar – On tour on my bike

Mo shaol abhus – My life on this side

Mo shaol oibre – My working life

Cad a cheapann sibh? What do you think? Would you like to promote the Irish language and work for the EU as a translator?

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About the Author: Bridgette

Just your average Irish-American Italo-Francophone. Client Engagement for Transparent Language.


  1. Rudy Jakma:

    I am a Dutch national, living in Ireland. I work as a tourist guide and did my BA and MA at Maynooth University. Irish is a very difficult language for most people who have not been born and received their primary education in Ireland. I have not progessed much beyond a few simple sentences.
    But Gaelic is part of the Irish cultural identity and in my humble opinion should be preserved and promoted as a living language. The recognition from the EU is an important step in that process. May it continue.

    • Brian Devine:

      @Rudy Jakma Rudy, I found the easiest way to learn Irish is to listen to CDs when you are driving. I know it will have to take second place to driving but repetition will compensate for that. The great advantage is that the grammar will be encapsulated in the sentences. I found Mícheál Ó Siadhail’s “Learning Irish” the best though you will have to change his tapes to CDs. B.

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