British English translation services
Professional UK translation services  |   Visit

Irish translator

The Irish version of English has two significant differences to the British version. The most significant is probably the influence of the Gaelic language (which is called ‘Irish' by all Irish people). Very few words went from this language into international English (leprechaun and colleen are two that spring to mind), but in Ireland there are several more which people use without even realising it. This is more common in rural areas, where words like ‘lúdramán', ‘amadán', ‘giobail', and ‘sceilp' could very easily creep into a conversation. One of the most frequently used Irish words gives sends many Americans into howls of laughter. The word is ‘craic' pronounced exactly like the English word ‘crack'. It is a peculiarly Irish word culturally as well as linguistically. A rough translation would be ‘having a good time' but it is much deeper than that. For Americans, of course, crack is a drug, and they simply can't get used to being told that ‘we had great craic' or even ‘the craic was ninety' which I suppose translates roughly but lamely as ‘the entertainment was brilliant'. Imagine the consternation in American customs at La Guardia airport when the young Irishman was asked why he was entering America and he answered ‘for the craic'!

Another peculiarity cause by the link with Irish is the way people seem reluctant to say yes or no. Instead they answer using the verb that was used in the question. For ezample, if you ask someone ‘do you go shopping every Thursday', they will reply ‘I do' or ‘I don't' instead of yes or no. This is far more common in rural areas, where Irish was the dominant language for centuries, and there is a simple explanation for it. There are no words for yes and no in Irish. Many people think that “ta” and “nil” are the words for yes and no, but in fact these are parts of the verb “to be”.


© 2002-2014