Catalogue in Gaelic

Gaelic translation for National Library catalogue

The world-class collections at the National Library of Scotland can now be searched in Gaelic as part of the Library's continuing commitment to promote the use of the language.

The new Gaelic feature on the Library's website was officially launched by Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for Scotland's Languages, when he visited the Library today (September 19). It covers the main catalogue which has almost five million records and includes the majority of the Library's printed collections. It can be viewed here:

NLS has also produced its own Gaelic Language Plan which is published today and sets out how the Library will support the use of the language.

Dr Allan said: 'For Gaelic to flourish, people with the language must be encouraged to use it more often and there must be more opportunities for them to do so on a day to day basis. The National Library's Gaelic catalogue will give speakers and learners a unique opportunity of being able to access this incredible national collection of more than 15 million printed items representing centuries of Scottish heritage, culture and achievement. Incorporating the language in this way raises the status and awareness of Gaelic and the National Library should be commended for the huge effort that has gone into this.'

The work on the catalogue proved to be a challenging project because of the technical and specialist terminology used in libraries which required a creative approach to the translation. 'Shelfmark', for example, became 'Àite air an sgeilp', literally 'the place on the shelf'. There are also more words in Gaelic than the equivalent in English, but the translators needed to be concise because of the way the catalogue interface is laid out.

One positive spin-off from the project has been the development of a list of Gaelic terms relevant to cataloguing which NLS plans to share with other libraries and organisations who want to develop Gaelic versions of their own catalogues. This will assist other libraries in translating their catalogue interface into Gaelic and further encourage the use of the language.

The translation was completed by four members of the Library staff who are Gaelic scholars, but non-native speakers, and a volunteer, Katie Murray, who is a native speaker and former teacher of Gaelic. Once the translation was completed it was checked internally at NLS and externally by Greg MacThomais, a native Gaelic speaker who works in the Library at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig — the Gaelic College on Skye.

National Librarian Martyn Wade, said: 'It is great to see our catalogue available in Gaelic. The National Library of Scotland is committed to promoting and increasing awareness of the Gaelic language and we hope this translation will prove popular with Gaelic speakers and those interested in the language.'

Katie Murray, who volunteered to help with the project said: 'As a native Gaelic speaker I was pleased to be able to help staff at the Library translate the catalogue into Gaelic. Translation from English into Gaelic can be challenging, in particular when dealing with specialised terms such as those used in libraries.'


19 September 2013

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