Irish Translated At 13,000 Euros Per Minute

From the Irish Examiner: “an Irish-language option across all EU institutions is estimated to cost in the region of €3.5 million each year. Parliamentary translation cost €360,000 last year, meaning each minute an Irish MEP chose the medium of our first language (about 30 minutes in total last year) cost €13,000 (over $19,000 at today’s rate).”

It seems that there are four Irish language interpreters working at the EU parlianment, two at a time, two shifts per days, and the parliament sits 10 days in each month. “Those interpreters cost €30,000 a month, which is paid by the EU with contributions from member states, including Ireland.” says the Examiner. Two are always in duty “in case a situation develops where parliamentary protagonists decide to confront each other using Irish.”

Excuse me?

Can I suggest the next time Ireland’s MEPs decide to confront each other using Irish that the cost of interpreting be the subject of the debate? That should drive the unit cost down a good bit.

This really is stretching the definition of minority language beyond breaking point.

Come to think of it – knowing the EU – how come it’s so cheap?


Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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