The Estonian Connection

– A Conversation with Indrek Ois

Episode #15

In this episode of The Language Question, we navigate the intriguing linguistic journey of Indrek Ois, an Estonian translator with a profound connection to the Irish language. During our conversation, we explore the unexpected pathways that led Indrek from informal Irish classes in Estonia to becoming a pivotal figure in Irish-Estonian literary translation, including his remarkable work translating “Madame Lazare” into Estonian.

We discuss the realms of language, culture, and translation, revealing how the Irish language has not only bridged geographical and cultural distances but also forged a unique and inspiring story that intertwines the histories and identities of two nations. Indrek has not only embraced our language but also contributed to its international presence in a truly remarkable way.

Podcast Notes

A Unique Journey with the Irish Language

Indrek’s journey with the Irish language is nothing short of extraordinary. From informal classes in Estonia, taught by a German linguist, to immersing himself in the Connemara Gaeltacht, Indrek’s dedication to learning Irish has been unwavering. We explore how his initial curiosity evolved into a profound connection with the language and how this relationship has shaped his personal and professional life.

Irish Language in the European Context

Indrek shares his experiences working with the European Commission and how the Irish language has found its place in European institutions. We discuss the challenges and triumphs of working with a language that is rich in history and culture but is often met with surprise on the international stage.

Translation: A Bridge Between Cultures

We delve into the world of translation and how Indrek has navigated through it, especially translating “Madame Lazare” into Estonian, marking a significant milestone in Irish-Estonian literary connections. His insights into the nuances and challenges of translation, especially involving a language as unique as Irish, are enlightening.

Comparative Cultural Reflections

Indrek draws intriguing parallels between Ireland and Estonia, touching on shared colonial histories and cultural preservation. His perspective offers a fresh lens through which to view our own history and the role language plays in maintaining cultural identity.

Academic Pursuits and Continuous Learning

Despite being a seasoned translator, Indrek’s pursuit of formal education in translation from Maynooth University showcases his commitment to continuous learning and mastery of his craft. We discuss how academic and practical experiences intertwine and enhance one’s skills in language and translation.

Indrek’s story is not just a testament to the global reach of our native tongue but also a reminder of the beautiful connections and understandings that can be forged through the shared love of a language.

Listen to the full episode to dive deeper into these topics and enjoy a conversation that traverses borders, connecting hearts and languages in the most unexpected of ways.

More on Indrek Ois

Indrek Ois Ní Ghlinn

Indrek Ois, a linguist and translator, joins us from the European Commission, where he serves as a staff translator, navigating the intricate world of language and communication. Indrek’s journey with the Irish language has been both unique and inspiring, leading him to complete an MA in Translation and Editing from the Centre for Irish Language at Maynooth University in 2021.

Notably, he has brilliantly bridged Irish and Estonian literature by translating Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin’s multi-award-winning novel “Madame Lazare” into Estonian, titled “Proua Lazare,” marking it as the first book to be translated directly from Irish into Estonian.

Indrek’s work and dedication beautifully illustrate the power of language to connect cultures, histories, and stories across borders, offering new perspectives and understandings in the global linguistic landscape.

Free Irish Learning Resources Guide

Whether you are just starting out or have already begun your language learning journey, I have compiled a collection of resources that should help you along the way.