Language focus | 15.09.2010

New English–Irish space science glossary launched

A new terminology guide entitled An English-Irish Lexicon of Scientific and Technological Space-related Terminology has been published in collaboration with the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). The IAA is an independent non-governmental organization that strives to promote ‘international scientific cooperation’ and under this remit, it provides a substantial range of specialist multilingual literature.

In 2010, the organization celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and the new English-Irish terminology guide in print format is published to coincide with this event. According to the Times Higher Education, it includes more than 3,500 astronomical terms, an alphabetical English-Irish glossary, and information on the development of the multilingual glossaries hosted on the IAA’s website. These glossaries are currently available in twenty languages, with Ukrainian, Gaelic, Greek and Indonesian languages being the most recent additions.

The new English-Irish publication also boasts an extensive preface discussing the Irish language and the astronomical history of Ireland; an in-depth report on the IAA and its linguistic initiatives; the issues involved when translating Irish technical terms into English and the strategies employed by translators to overcome this hurdle.

One such problem was highlighted in an article from the Irish Times that stated ‘the Irish word “ga, is used for both ray and radius . . . which could be confusing in space terminology, where both light and mathematics are important fields”. The article also details how the translators overcame other linguistic issues by providing both literal and scientific translations of the source language words and phrases.

More than just a lexicon, this new publication provides an insight into the history of the Irish language, combined with a discussion on the contemporary issues faced by technical translators in this sector.


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