There is a growing level of demand on translation agencies to deliver quality public sector translation services in Ireland. Translation for government departments both takes place in-house and is outsourced to translation agencies who offer public sector translation services.
According to an article at http://www.nccri.ie/pdf/Interpreting%20and%20Translating%20Services.pdf,
the increasing diversity in languages spoken in the country today means that the provision of interpreting and translating services has become a pressing need if people with low proficiency in English are to experience equality of access and outcomes in their interaction with key government services such as health, justice, education and housing.
The 2006 Census illustrates the diversity that exists among Ireland’s non-Irish population. Immigrants numbering over 10,000 without mother tongue English come from Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Nigeria, Latvia and China and there are between 1000-10,000 immigrants from each of the following countries: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Russia and Ukraine. While there are some remarkable similarities among the different groups there are also areas of strong dissimilarity e.g. while many Polish people are primarily here to work, Chinese people often come here to study.
Graph and figures from Census 2006
According to Paula MaGovern at http://careeradvice.loadzajobs.ie/industry-insight/multilingual/multilingual-jobs-in-ireland-irish-translation-942, over recent years there has been a particularly sharp increase in demand for the translation of English into Irish, not least because from 1 January 2007 Irish became an official language of the EU. This means that all key EU legislation must be translated into Irish. At http://www.siliconrepublic.com/news/article/3828/government/public-bodies-get-lost-in-translation/ John Kennedy states that the introduction of various pieces of legislation means that every document produced will have to be done in both languages, ranging from an information notice to a press release.
A major challenge for public sector translation services in general, and for translation for government departments in particular, is producing health care, education, and legal service documents that are sensitive to cultural differences. According to a Garda spokesman at http://thetranslatorscafe.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/ireland-garda-siochana-spent-almost-e3-million-on-interpreters-last-year/ the Garda Siochána spends almost €3 million on interpreters per year, and deals with over 200 languages and dialects on a regular basis. The contracts to translate for the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Courts Service and the Garda are the biggest public sector translation contracts in the country. In 2007, these three bodies had an annual bill of about €5.75 million. The HSE spent €750,000 on interpreting in 2007 and uses a list of preferred providers that it issues to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. The Courts Service spent more than €2 million on interpreting in 2008, and expected to spend €2.5 million in 2009. According to Ivana Bacik in her article The Language Barrier: Access to Justice in the New Ireland
the most frequently used languages in court are Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Romanian and Russian.