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Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.

Straitéis 20 bliain don Ghaeilge

Straitéis 20 bliain don Ghaeilge

Career opportunities with Gaeilge in Government, Politics & EU

Career opportunities for people with Irish language skills are abundant across the Civil and Public Services and in the EU.

The Official Languages Act requires the government and public bodies to provide certain services, as well as printed and web-based material, through Irish, where Irish is the client's language of choice. This legislation covers 658 public bodies:

  • Correspondence received in Irish is responded to in Irish.
  • Annual reports and accompanying press releases are published in bilingual format.
  • Irish or bilingual versions of publications of interest to the public made available in hard copy and on websites.

Recruitment campaigns for the Civil Service through PublicJobs.ie have an Irish Language stream. State bodies and government departments are obliged to include a minimum of six percent Irish speakers on selection panels. The government has pledged that one-fifth (20 percent) of places - on public service application panels will be filled by candidates with an ability to speak Irish fluently.

Many senior roles in the public services and state bodies require Irish language skills as part of the eligibility criteria for promotion.

Public Sector and state bodies support staff in studying Irish, through the reimbursement of fees and the granting of study leave.

  • Irish language officers are employed in local authorities, government departments and public bodies such as the ESB, the HSE and third level institutions. They are responsible for promoting the Irish language internally and for overseeing the provision of the organisation’s services through Irish. They coordinate the translation of online and printed documents and organise language classes and cultural events. It is important to be enthusiastic and passionate about the language for this job as it plays an important role in the development of the Irish language.
  • Technical and professional services - Work is contracted out by the public sector to individuals and/or private sector organisations who can provide services as translation, web design, IT consultancy, legal, accountancy, graphic design etc.
Did you know ...

The Houses of the Oireachtas have their own translation (and interpreting) service – Rannóg an Aistriúcháin.

Working in the Gaeltacht - The Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht has offices in some Gaeltacht areas and public sector bodies operating these areas must have the ability to provide services through Irish.

  • Údarás na Gaeltachta is the public body responsible for the social, cultural and economic development of the Gaeltacht. It supports private enterprise start-ups as well as community and language development organisations.
  • A number of broadcast and print media companies are also located in Gaeltacht areas, bringing a need for relevant skills and Irish Language skills in this area.
  • The traditional ‘Gaeltacht’ is also changing. The Gaeltacht Act (2012) provides for the establishment of state-recognised Irish language networks. Community groups cultivating and promoting the language outside of Gaeltacht areas are set to be given additional recognition including the area of Clondalkin in Dublin.

Working in the European Union

The Official Languages Act (2003) and the recognition of Irish as an official working language of the European Union has resulted in lots of opportunities for competent bilingual people in jobs promoting or developing the Irish language.

  • European Commission - A variety of jobs are available in the Commission such as administrators, assistants, contract agents, interim staff and temporary agents. Graduates with fluent Irish are ideal candidates as Irish is now an official EU language. The European Commission also offers graduate training and traineeships.
  • The EU offers lawyer/linguist roles. EPSO regularly advertises upcoming competitions for various positions within the EU on its website, including lawyer-linguist jobs.

It has also resulted in increased opportunities in the area of translation and interpreting.

Translation involves producing a text in a different language ensuring the original meaning is retained, for a specific audience and purpose. 

Interpreting differs from translation in that it is based on verbal and not written communication. 

The European Union operates the largest translation service in the world. To secure employment as a translator within the EU, it is necessary to have the ability to work with three European languages. Since Irish became an official working language of the EU in 2007 there has been much demand for people who can translate into Irish, which may increase over the next few years.

Some translators work in-house, but most work on a freelance basis. In-house translators may be salaried employees, working on a full-time basis in a public organisation or in private translation companies, some of which specialise in Irish language translation.

Freelance translators
are usually self-employed and may work from home. They are commissioned directly by translation agencies or companies. Translators are sources from lists of accredited translators. Foras na Gaeilge and the ITIA register are the main sources of contact information.

High-quality standards of translation are demanded by all customers, which may include public organisations, government bodies in Ireland, the European institutions and private organisations and individuals.

Experienced translators would be expected to produce up to 2,000 words per day, depending on the type of text. Professional translators typically use translation software in their day-to-day work.


In Ireland, opportunities for interpreters include Oireachtas proceedings, international conferences, and legal proceedings. Services may also be required in healthcare, interpreting for people whose first language is Irish.

Irish language interpreters are also used in the European Parliament and the European Commission. To secure a permanent position as an interpreter within EU institutions, candidates must pass an open competition.

The basic minimum requirement for an interpreter working within the EU is the ability to work with three European languages (including the mother tongue). Due to a shortage of suitably qualified candidates, the requirement for a third European language may be waived for interpreters working with the Irish language.

Freelance interpreters interested in working with the EU institutions may apply to sit a test in interpreting in order to be registered on the list of auxiliary conference interpreters whose services are called upon by the European Institutions.

What are the main occupations where Irish may be used?

What types of courses might help?

Undergraduate Courses:

Foras na Gaeilge holds an annual exam as part of their accreditation system – Séala Creidiúnaithe d’Aistritheoirí Gaeilge. Those who pass this exam are included on the Foras na Gaeilge panel of accredited translators. These translators must pass the exam every five years in order to remain on the panel. Much of the subject matter dealt with by both translators and interpreters is specialised in nature, so preparation and familiarity with the subject area in question is required.

Professionals in this area typically develop their expertise and knowledge of a particular subject area such as business, law or medicine. Subject-specific terminology is an important part of expertise.

To work in this area, a postgraduate qualification in translation studies or interpreting is advisable. A primary degree in languages is desirable, though not always essential.

Where to go for further Information

Abair.ie at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) - click here

Ealaín na Gaeltachta  - focused on developing indigenous and contemporary arts in the Gaeltacht areas - click here.

Foras na Gaeilge - Responsible for accreditation of translator/interpreters. An exam is held annually for aspiring practitioners - click here

Fiontar at DCU - offers fellowships and employment - click here

Gaelchultúr.com click here

Gaelport.com - Irish language news and information website listing Irish classes, Irish job vacancies and Irish language events - click here

Gaelscoileanna - click here 

Gael Linn - click here

Glór na nGael - click here  

Irish Voices : EU Careers - click here

Oireachtas na Gaeilge - click here 

PublicJobs.ie - click here

The Irish Translators' and Interpreters' Accosiation (ITIA) - professional body representing the interests of practicing translators and interpreters in Ireland. Email admin.itia@gmail.com