Caillte san aistriúchán Gaeilge – Lost in “Irish” translation


Clonegal cow

I recently read that the Irish have updated their dictionary for the first time in something like 50 years.  The new version came out as a result of words that have been created for today’s world and technology.

Words like tweet, texting, downloads and apps have been added to tease those that don’t know how to actually do these activities.

I can only hope, that on the electronic version, it has a spell check option because, for me, it becomes extremely difficult to look up a word when you can’t spell it.  Am I alone here?

Yes I do realize that I use the next words quite often but perhaps the new dictionary will explain the difference between something Irish being brilliant and then something else being fucking brilliant.  I suppose it’s the different levels of brilliance.

New Irish dictionary

There has got to be some geek out there that is also working on translating Irish talk into a few words or a simple sentence.  For example, let’s say a female, someone you might know, comes home after going on a harmless mission buying milk.  She might say.

“I don’t understand why they don’t fix that big hole in the road up by sandy hill, ya know right after that house with a green tractor parked out front.  I was 5 minutes late for Mass and who do I sit next to but Mrs. Murphy… Oh no, not that one but the other Mrs. Murphy … she has a son in Boston who was doing quite well in the banking business until he was caught embezzling money … that Mrs. Murphy, well she was sitting right next to me and leans over to say hello and I didn’t even recognize her … she was as big as a Clonegal cow  but … her hair was done nicely.  We must have talked outside the church for about 20 minutes …she told me Charlie Conroy has been in hospital, ah the one married to Rose living down by the bridge crossing … ya one with the farm with road frontage… I finally had to tell Mrs. Murphy to bug off, I had things to do … I never liked the old whoa but I feel sorry about her cat dying … I stopped at Pat the butcher to see if he had any fresh duck … it would be nice for a change … he didn’t have any but said to call on him next Tuesday at around 11am, or was it 2pm, and he might … the red light on the petrol gauge is on I think we need some … why no … I didn’t get any … I think I still can get about 100 more miles on it … stopped at the bank at 1:15 and forgot that they were closed for their 2 hour lunch break … they could see me standing outside and wouldn’t open the door…I’m kind of glad I didn’t go in … that ignorant cow Maureen Heaney was working … her husband Peter lives at Millburn’s Pub, loves the ponies and has worn a path to the bookies next door … Des thinks he won big last month and that’s why the cow is driving a new Merc …

… translated to

… “Milk…what milk?”

Another thing I would like some geek to come up with is an Irish /European sports translator app.  The following is the first paragraph from an Irish Times article headlined “Clarke calls time after superb 329”

Cricket match

Michael Clarke hit a majestic unbeaten 329 before declaring Australia’s first innings at 659 for four with a lead of 468 on the third day of the second Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday.


All characters in this posting are fictional and any reference to a real person is purely by coincidence … and that statement, my dear friends, was for my personal well being

… for David Kennedy, who is not lost in translation…


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One Response to Caillte san aistriúchán Gaeilge – Lost in “Irish” translation

  1. Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ says:

    This is an official dictionary though on the order of say Oxford. Obviously there have been dictionaries adding extra words over the years. However none of them were state sanctioned eg. for use by state bodies etc.

    There is already an online terminology database at

    They have “domain specific” dictionaries etc. So for example you can search just for the words relevant to say Geology or computing.

    Other then that Pota Focal is great as it throws in glossary as well.

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