European Commission Visit Focuses on Irish Language

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Senior representatives from the European Commission's Directorate General for Interpretation visited NUI Galway recently to discuss the University's M.A. in Conference Interpreting. The first course of its kind in Ireland, the M.A. has been designed in direct response to demand for qualified interpreters since Irish became an official language of the European Union. Leagan Gaeilge Leagan Gaeilge The Directorate General for Interpretation is the European Commission's interpreting service and the largest of its kind in the world. While it does not train interpreters, the Directorate General cooperates with a small number of universities internationally to develop professionally focused training of the highest quality. In Ireland, it is working closely with NUI Galway's Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge to ensure the new M.A. in Conference Interpreting is of the highest international standards. The new M.A. in Conference Interpreting is delivered by the Acadamh in An Cheathrú Rua where the first intake of students commenced the course in September. Until now, potential interpreters of Irish had to travel to London to complete their training. The select group of existing professional Irish interpreters include two lecturers on the M.A. programme, Susan Folan and Seán Maitiú Ó Carraidh, both of whom have worked as professional interpreters for all of the European Institutions. The Directorate General for Interpretation was represented at NUI Galway by Brian Fox, Director of Interpreters, and David Smith, Head of English and Irish Interpreting. They gave a presentation to students and staff highlighting the merits of an interpreting qualification with Irish, given the current demand for such a qualification in European Institutions. According to Susan Folan, Course Co-ordinator of the M.A. in Conference Interpreting at NUI Galway: "Fact replaced fiction during the visit of the Directorate, who pointed out the official figures regarding the cost of multilingualism and Irish as an official European Language. The total cost of interpreting of all 23 languages costs 21 cent per citizen per year". The M.A. in Conference Interpreting at NUI Galway is supported by Údarás na Gaeltachta and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
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