What is An Caighdeán Oifigiúil?

An Caighdeán Oifigiúil, as it is called, is the official standard for Irish grammar first published in 1958.

All Irish translators must follow this if they translate for Irish Government.


Historically there were three main dialects of Irish coming from Ulster, Munster and Connacht. Therefore, for official government communication, it made sense to have a single standard. The original version wasn’t perfect so there were many books and dictionaries published that clarified or added to the original standard. There were aspects of grammar that were left unclear or unaddressed.  Some parts were not widely accepted by the regions so the government decided to review the standard in 2012.  You can read the Caighdeán Oifigiúil 2012 Review here.

Why Change It?

The reason for the update is simple enough. Language is a living thing, so it changes and grows over time. Socially, a language will change. New words are defined. How how it is used on a daily basis by those whom speak it also changes. So, it’s important for any standard to match the social changes. For example, one issue that arose is that some grammar books started to contradict each other over time.

Changing with the Times

STAR translates both from English to Irish and vice versa. All our Irish translators are Irish nationals and work in Ireland. Our customers include public sector and government departments, private companies, utility companies, web designers and advertising agencies based here in Ireland. We are proud to work with many of the Irish State Departments.

As a translation company, we have to constantly educate ourselves to be aware of language changes. Our managing director Damian Scattergood is an Irish speaker himself and has commented on the standard on TG4, the Irish television station. Damian’s thoughts on the standard and review are available on our blog in both English and Irish.

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