HOW to develop a Gaelic Language Plan

Writing a Gaelic language plan is a challenging but rewarding process. Our role is to guide you through the process and to make your plan not only easier to write, but also easier to implement - and effective in its results. There is a lot to be gained from a well-considered plan that affords respect both to the Gaelic language and its users, and which builds on the unique strengths of your organisation.


Guidance on creating a Gaelic language plan

This section aims to provide an overview of the key areas that should be covered in a Gaelic language plan. More detailed information is contained within the official Guidance on Development of Gaelic Language Plans which can be downloaded from the resources section of this page. Developments within these areas should signify a concrete commitment to Gaelic and the way in which the organisation enables its staff and service users to learn and use the language, the primary aim being the creation of an environment conducive to the use of Gaelic in public life. All developments should be underpinned by the guiding principle of equal respect. In a practical sense this means that where Gaelic is introduced into operations and services it should be on an equal basis to English with the long-term aim of mainstreaming the language.


  • corporate identity
  • signage

Demonstrating equal respect for Gaelic and English in your corporate identity and in your organisation's signage has an immediate impact on the status of Gaelic, making it visible, accessible and valued. The inclusion of Gaelic has a strong awareness-raising effect both amongst the public and within the organisation, creating a positive image of the language and promoting its use. The presence of Gaelic in signage and corporate identities lets Gaelic users know that Gaelic is welcomed and valued by the organisation.


  • reception
  • telephone
  • mail and e-mail
  • forms
  • public meetings
  • complaints procedures
  • internal communications

Enabling communications through the medium of Gaelic increases the visibility and status of the language and creates opportunities for its practical use, for staff and the public. Including Gaelic in daily communications raises its profile as a modern language and adds to the mainstreaming of Gaelic in Scottish public life.


  • printed material
  • public relations and media
  • websites and social media
  • exhibitions

Including Gaelic in printed materials enhances the visibility and status of Gaelic within the organisation and amongst the public. The increased volume of Gaelic in published materials provides a valuable resource to develop Gaelic literacy in support of Gaelic education initiatives and helps develop terminology which is current and responsive to change.


  • training
  • language learning
  • recruitment
  • advertising
  • designation of Gaelic essential / desirable posts

There are two important elements in relation to staffing. Firstly, to ensure that the organisation has the skills to serve the Gaelic speaking public in relation to its functions. Secondly, to support Gaelic speaking communities by providing employment and Gaelic usage opportunities in these areas. These can be enabled through two routes: recruitment and training. It is important to identify posts where Gaelic language skills are essential or desirable and also to provide training to up-skill existing staff that could fulfil these requirements.

Gaelic Corpus

Gaelic corpus relates to developing the 'body' of the language. Public authorities have a key role to play in ensuring that standards of orthography (the Gaelic writing system) are used in public life. This extends to utilising existing corpus resources such as the national Gaelic place-names database on signage. Gaelic corpus includes the following areas:

  • increasing the relevance and consistency of the Gaelic language
  • increasing the quality and accessibility of Gaelic translations and interpretation
  • increasing the availability of accurate research information
  • Gaelic orthographic, terminological and place-name development
  • developing expertise on Gaelic translation and interpretation
  • encouraging Gaelic surveys and research

Developing Gaelic language plans that are reasonable and proportionate

The Bòrd recognises that Gaelic language plans will differ depending on the functions of individual public authorities and where they operate in Scotland, and in terms of the number of Gaelic users and the potential for the development of Gaelic in their area.

The Bòrd is committed to working with authorities individually to achieve Gaelic language plans that are reasonable and proportionate according to their circumstances.