Government to run second translation unit
THE GOVERNMENT is to run two separate language units for translating primary and secondary legislation from English to Irish.
The post of director for the second of the two units has been advertised, and the recruitment decision predates the public service jobs embargo, according to the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
The new Rannán Seirbhisí Aistriúcháin will translate secondary legislation, such as statutory instruments, while an existing Rannóg an Aistriúcháin will continue to produce Irish versions of primary legislation, it says.
The director of services for the new rannán will be paid between €97,000 and €120,000, and Nuacht TG4 reported it will carry an allowance of €13,000. Translators will be sought, but the department says it is envisaged that some will be on contract.
The Houses of the Oireachtas communications unit has said funding for the new unit will come from “within existing allocations”.
The intention is “to develop the capacity of the private sector to provide outsourced translation services at the requisite standard and to meet needs by a mixture of staff recruitment, outsourcing to the private sector and providing advisory and support services to departments and other rule-making authorities”, it has said.
The unit will tackle a large backlog of statutory instruments from 1993 to 2004 – some 46,000 pages – which require translation.
The existing rannóg, set up after the 2003 Official Languages Act, will continue to focus on primary legislation. It costs just over €1.3 million annually and employs 17 translators. This unit also produces order papers and minutes of proceedings for both Houses of the Oireachtas, along with simultaneous translation services for both Houses and one Oireachtas committee. The second unit owes its origins to a High Court ruling in a case taken by Dublin-based solicitor Pól Ó Murchú. The court found in 2004 that there was a constitutional responsibility to publish statutory instruments simultaneously in Irish and English. The Government appealed to the Supreme Court, citing issues relating to “the correct interpretation of specific constitutional and legislative provisions and in relation to the separation of powers as between the executive and the judicial arms of the State”.
“However, regardless of the outcome of the appeal, the Government has decided as a matter of principle that statutory instruments should be made available in Irish,” it has said.