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Harry Potter goes Gaelic
Something strange is afoot in Hagbhairts - Harry Potter goes Gaelic by Eoghan Ó Néill Something strange is afoot in Hagbhairts - Harry Potter has gone Gaelic! The Irish language translation of the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (Harry Potter agus an Órchloch) is now
pour EUROLANG le 4/11/03 10:38

Something strange is afoot in Hagbhairts - Harry Potter goes Gaelic

by Eoghan Ó Néill

Something strange is afoot in Hagbhairts - Harry Potter has gone Gaelic! The Irish language translation of the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (Harry Potter agus an Órchloch) is now with the publishers Bloomsbury and will be published early next summer with much fuss and publicity.

The book will be snapped up by the 30,000 pupils in the almost 300 Irish medium schools.

The publishers got an even bigger boost last week, however, when the body responsible for advising the Minister of Education on the Irish language syllabus in English medium schools asked the Minister to consider adding 'Harry Potter agus an Órchloch' to the Irish syllabus.

‘Irish schools have been crying out for suitable reading materials’ says Muireann Ní Mhórain from An Comhairle Um Oideachais Gaelscolaíochta agus Gaeltachta.

‘We are very enthusiastic about this translation as a lot of the reading material in schools is from the 1960's.

We will be using the book in the Gaelscoileanna and we will also be recommending to the minister the book be used for the Junior Cert course and possibly for the Leaving Cert in the English medium schools.’

Máire Nic Maoileoin, who has worked in Irish language translation and publishing for 30 years finished her translation of the Potter best seller in August and is now proof reading the cover for the new book.

Máire won an international award for her translation to Irish of the children's book 'Under the Hawthorn Tree' by Marita Conlon. She is delighted to have translated Harry Potter to Irish.

‘It was quite difficult’ she explained to Eurolang. ‘Some of the terms and refrences in Harry Potter are very English and wouldn't readily transfer to the experience of Irish children so it required quite a bit of care. Also the publishers have a very strict reign on words and characters names and did not want many of them translated. So it was challenging.

I was reluctant at the start to undertake the job because of other commitments but I'm happy to have done so. People tend to get more interested than normal if you say that you've translated Harry Potter to Irish.’

According to Lucy Chapman of Bloomsbury Publishing, publishers of Harry Potter, the company intend to publish all of the Harry Potter series in Irish. Harry Potter books have been published in over 60 languages now.

While Irish speakers are delighted that the 'rememberball' and 'put outer' will be soon in Irish there has been little progress for the translation of the series into the sister tongue of Irish, Scottish Gaelic.

Later this month Máire Nic Maoileoin will describe the challenge of translating Harry Potter to Irish when she addresses a meeting of other translators of Harry Potter at a meeting of the 'Fédération International des Traducters' in Paris.

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Eurolang? is a specialist niche news agency covering topics related to lesser-used languages, linguistic diversity, stateless nations and national minorities within the European Union. It provides an expanding on-line daily service across Europe, to NGOs, the media, European, State and local government, academia, researchers and the general public. The purpose of Eurolang is to provide, on a daily basis, relevant and current news about Europe's regional, stateless and minority language communities, numbering some 46 million speakers, to the general public and to national and regional media (newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, internet media) in Europe and worldwide.
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