Government bodies to spend €10m on Irish translations

The Office of Government Procurement is currently seeking to appoint a panel of contractors who can provide “reliable and high-quality Irish language translation services"
Government bodies to spend €10m on Irish translations

Irish Translation Covid-19 signage outside the Four Courts in Dublin; State bodies are required to make all  documents reports available in both English and Irish under the Official Languages Act 2003. File picture: Collins Courts

Government bodies are expected to spend more than €10m translating legislation, website content, and other text into Irish over the next four years, according to a new tender.

The Office of Government Procurement is currently seeking to appoint a panel of contractors who can provide “reliable and high-quality Irish language translation services … as and when required”.

Examples of materials that will require translation range from general website content and annual reports to “technical source text” that will necessitate “very exacting standards”.

Bodies that may avail of translation services under the framework agreement include government ministers and departments, state agencies, local authorities, local enterprise boards, and regional assemblies.

An Garda Síochána, the Irish Prison Service, the Defence Forces, and the Health Service Executive (HSE) will also use the framework to procure Irish language translation services.

Based on current usage, the total expenditure under the framework agreement is expected to amount to some €10m excluding VAT over the next four years, according to the tender documents.

It is anticipated that around €6m of the total spend will relate to standard, non-specialised text; while €2m will be used for the translation of “technical source text” involving economic, political, or medical terminology.

A further €2m is expected to be spent on the translation or proofreading of legal text and documents, including primary and secondary legislation. 

These may originate in the Houses of the Oireachtas, government departments, or the European Commission.

The tender is divided into three lots in accordance with these categories of material. Up to 15 service providers may be appointed to panels in each of the three categories.

Contracts will be awarded to these service providers under the framework agreement by a mixture of rotation and mini-competitions over the four-year period, depending on the value and complexity of the specific requirement.

State bodies are required to make all forms, documents, and reports available in both English and Irish under the Official Languages Act 2003.

Last month, the HSE apologised after it was contacted by An Coimisinéir Teanga following complaints that its online booking portal for the Covid-19 vaccine was not available in Irish.

It explained that creating a booking system that facilitated multiple languages would have meant that deadlines for the portal to be up and running would not have been met.

“HSELive have a number of Irish-speaking agents on the helpline each day. We apologise to anyone who wished to register in Irish and did not get an Irish-speaking agent in the past few days, as the call volume, in general, has been very busy,” a spokesman said.

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