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Why Was Among Us Translated Into Irish? – Feature

© Alex Olney / Nintendo Life

Last week, it was announced that Among Us, the fantastically popular friend-murdering game, was localised officially into Irish. For many (mostly, the Irish) it was an exciting thing; for others, the response was mostly: “But why?”

It’s a legitimate question — Irish, or Gaeilge, is only spoken by around 40% of the Irish population, and is rarely used as a first language. It’s what’s known as a “minority language” — a tongue spoken by a minority of people in a country, like Welsh (622k speakers), Māori (157k speakers), and Basque (665k speakers). And, as with many minority languages, its speakers are invested in protecting it, rather than having it slowly eroded by the majority language, which in this case is English.

But asking “why bother” is to ignore the fact that Irish is still alive and well, and that its speakers are interested in representing it for reasons other than just being able to speak to each other. We spoke to Úna-Minh Kavanagh, the person who took charge of the Irish translation project, to find out more about the reasons behind it.

Among Us Irish2© Alex Olney / Nintendo Life

Kavanagh is a streamer who plays games in both Irish and English, with fully Irish streams every Sunday. Officially, she says, there are very few games that have Irish translations, and many of them — like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, If Found…, and Dicey Dungeons — were made by Irish people with a vested interest in their own culture.

When Among Us got huge, Kavanagh knew she wanted to add it to the rota — “it was kind of natural that I’d play it, in particular with my audience on stream,” — but there wasn’t an official Irish translation yet. That’s not unusual, of course. Úna-Minh often ends up playing games on her stream in English, with Irish subtitles — and she ends up learning quite a few new words along the way.


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