Voluntary Gaelic Language Plans – FAQs

There is a growing interest by organisations to engage with the Gaelic language and speakers and learners across Scotland and internationally.  This is made clear in the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2021.

Whilst statutory Gaelic language plans are developed by public authorities in Scotland under the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005, third sector and private organisations are not obliged to do so. However, many private and third sector bodies are keen to develop and implement voluntary Gaelic language plans.

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions regarding the development and implementation of voluntary Gaelic language plans.  If you have any further questions, you may also contact Brian Ó hEadhra – Partnerships & Development Manager at Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

Why should we develop a Gaelic Language Plan?

Gaelic language plans are prepared to increase the capacity of an organisation to support the usage, status, and acquisition of Gaelic as part of its functions.

Gaelic language plans enable members of the public who may wish to use Gaelic in conducting their daily business with your organisation and enables your employees to use Gaelic in the workplace as part of their normal duties.

What is the impact of adopting a Gaelic Language Plan?

By developing a Gaelic language plan or policy your organisation helps secure the status of Gaelic as an official language of Scotland commanding equal respect to the English language. Private and third sectors in Scotland have a vital role to play in ensuring that Gaelic remains alive as a language and recovers in future.

Gaelic language plans help ensure that Gaelic continues to be used and that the linguistic diversity of the whole of Scotland is enriched.

Does our Gaelic Language Plan need to be approved by Bòrd na Gàidhlig?

Voluntary Gaelic language plans do not have to be approved by Bòrd na Gàidhlig unlike statutory Gaelic language plans. We are, however, happy to receive a copy of your plan for our records.

Will introducing bilingual services cost more?

It may cost more in the short term but there are long-term benefits and costs can be kept to a minimum through effective planning. More information is available here.

How can we incorporate two languages without compromising design and branding principles? Will it weaken our brand?

Bilingual branding is used as standard internationally and has been shown to increase brand strength if developed creatively. Gaelic provides a unique selling point and distinctiveness to an organisation. Again, planning and ‘thinking bilingually’ from the outset is key. More information is available here.

Will Gaelic put off those whose first language is not English?

Research has shown that this is not the case and that in fact Gaelic engages interest and often provides a ‘feel good’ factor. Many people will already have more than one language and will be well acquainted with using two languages or more daily.

What do we do if demand/uptake of Gaelic services and resources is low?

Remain focussed on the long-term picture – development increases demand but there may be a time lag. Review the extent to which the use of these services is promoted and encouraged.

How do we manage the additional burden of working bilingually?

Bilingual staff can carry out their role in Gaelic and English and can switch between languages, representing added value. If staff are up skilled, they become more confident and committed and can respond to all customers effectively.

Can we get help in writing a Gaelic language plan? Are there any templates?

You can access Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s Statutory Gaelic Language Plans webpages here where there are various tools and resources which you may find helpful.  Feel free to contact Bòrd na Gàidhlig if you have any questions.

Can we get funding to support our Gaelic Language Plans?

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has several funding schemes which may support elements of your language plan, such as training, events, and collaborations.  Please see our Funding webpages here for more information or contact Bòrd na Gàidhlig directly.