A Gaelic spell-checker for Microsoft Office was officially launched this week at the Scottish Parliament.
The resource, containing a database of approximately 547,000 forms, was funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig and was created as a writing support material for the Gaelic language. The project was conceived by Leo McNeir and the late Dr. Roy Wentworth.
It is hoped that the spell-checker will provide users of Microsoft Office services such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, more confidence to use the language in a wide range of formal and informal settings for example, in education, business and via social media. It will also help standardise Gaelic spelling which, until fairly recently, varied from region to region.
Minister for Scotland’s Languages, Dr Alasdair Allan said: “This is an important step forward for old and new Gaelic speakers alike. On the one hand, it acknowledges the currency and enduring vitality of the language and will help raise its profile through social media and online, giving it even greater prominence and connecting even more speakers from across the world.
“And on the other hand, it is a wonderful recognition of the work of Leo, the late Dr Roy Wentworth and others pushing for practical ways to open up Gaelic to as many people as possible and to build the confidence of those learning it. This gives Gaelic speakers the tools and opportunities that speakers of other contemporary languages expect and I hope others will follow Microsoft’s lead in supporting the thousands of speakers and the Gaelic businesses contributing significantly to our economy.”
Managing Editor of the Project, Leo McNeir said: “The project in all its phases was supported financially by Comunn na Gàidhlig and Bòrd na Gàidhlig. The team is indebted to our colleagues in both organisations for their considerable support and encouragement throughout. We would like to express our sincere thanks to Microsoft for their assistance and co-operation which has made possible the development and deployment of this valuable resource for the language and the Scottish Gaelic community as a whole.”
Chris Forrest, Managing Director of Microsoft Scotland, said: “This is the result of several months of hard work with our partners at Bòrd na Gàidhlig and we are proud that Scottish Gaelic speakers will now be able to use the features of Microsoft Office in their preferred language”