Téarmaíocht na Géarchéime: COVID-19 Terminology in Irish

One of the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that as a community we have become familiar with a whole range of technical terms that we had never previously had much use for. Some of these terms are brand new (e.g. infodemic) while others were restricted to the domains of science and medicine until recently (like the term ‘coronavirus’ itself). Gaois is creating a bilingual termbase to collect the most key technical terms used to discuss matters relating to COVID-19. This resource will be of use to translators, journalists, educators and anyone who wishes to discuss technical aspects of the pandemic as Gaeilge.

This terminology research is being carried out in Terminologue, the terminology management system developed by Gaois that was made freely available online in 2019. The main concepts are identified and logged in a database where comprehensive Irish-language data is added - definitions, usage examples and, of course, the Irish terms themselves. We are studying government and EU publications, material from the Irish-language media and content from social media so as to provide as accurate a picture as possible of the Irish terms that are being used to discuss and interpret the virus and its impact. The collection will be published in the Gaois terminology database at the end of the summer. The data will also be made available to the Terminology Committee in Foras na Gaeilge who are supporting the project.

Two types of corpus material are being collected for this project - monolingual Irish-language material and bilingual English-Irish data. At the most basic level these kinds of resources are useful to identify terms and usage examples. It’s also possible to carry out deeper analysis of corpora, however, to discover interesting trends and language patterns. We hope to report on this kind or research at a later date.

This project is funded by DCU COVID-19, Research and Innovation Hub.

Keep an eye on the @gaois_ie Twitter account for the latest information.


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