A quarter of the web runs on the WordPress content management system, which is available in more than 60 languages — but not, as yet, in Irish.
However, that situation may be about to change, as a resident of Cork’s Múscraí Gaeltacht is aiming to tackle the issue via a crowd- funding initiative.
Tomás Ó hAodha is a Gaeilgeoir and experienced software developer, who has worked in the community development sector.
He has launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to fund the estimated €4,000 cost of translating some 40,000 words that would allow WordPress to operate as Gaeilge.
The online campaign, which closes next week, has so far raised more than €1,000 towards its target and is being run on an all-or- nothing basis, meaning it will only come to fruition if the total amount is pledged.
“I want to give people a fuller Irish language experience when they create and use blogs and other websites using the open-source WordPress content management system,” said Tomás.
“For a minority language to thrive, it needs a great community and the Irish language has such a great community, both online and off.”
Tomás described the frustration he and other Gaeilgeoirí feel at having to use English in order to operate WordPress sites, even when their content is as Gaeilge.
“I’ve put together quite a number of sites for Irish language groups and for my own use, and even though I can put the content in Irish, the background is always in English,” he said. “It’s all the back end of it, when you log in — if you’re administering or using WordPress, it’s in English.”
When he researched the logistics of translating WordPress into Irish, he found others had already started the project, but their work was incomplete.
“As WordPress is an open- source framework, it means anyone can change it,” he said. “So I went to the WordPress site and there was already a voluntary group that had started work on it, but it was just too big a project.”
The €4,000 costs associated with Tomás’ project will aid the funding of a Foras na Gaeilge-accredited translator, Bríd Ní Fhlathúin, who will also proof-read and collate the work already done and standardise the Irish terminology used.
“My role in this project is purely as an organiser,” said Tomás, who has 20 years’ experience as a software developer. “My challenge is technical. I take the translation and integrate it into the WordPress framework.”
He made a deliberate choice to pursue the crowd-funding option rather than applying for a grant from an Irish language organisation.
Tomás said he wanted to “see if the Irish language community will fund it themselves because once the 40,000 words are translated it’s free for everybody to use”.
“In reality I haven’t a notion whether this is going to succeed,” he said . “But I feel two things very strongly — firstly that WordPress should be available in Irish. And, furthermore, the Irish language community needs to be able to stand independently, without always depending on the usual sources of funding.”
Irish Language Wordpress on Kickstarter
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