Chat-GPT but for Gaelic is being created by Glasgow and Edinburgh University.

Funding worth £225,000 from the Scottish government has been given to linguists and AI researchers as they take the subtitling project on.

15,000 pages worth of transcribed Gaelic from the School of Scottish Studies Archive, will be fed into the machine.

The lead researcher, Professor William Lamb, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Literatures, Languages, and Cultures, said: “This is about compiling large amounts of knowledge gleaned from Gaelic speakers in the past and returning it to Gaelic speakers, in various forms, in the present.”

A fellow researcher, Professor Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, of the University of Glasgow, said: “This will add substantially to the development of language technology for Gaelic. It is gratifying that DASG’s resources are being deployed in this way and being further developed.”

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Jenny Gilruth, the education secretary said: “The Scottish government is proud to support this cutting-edge project, which will help Gaelic to thrive in the digital age and safeguard our country’s rich linguistic and cultural heritage.”

Tens of millions of people have used sites such as Chat-GPT since its launch in late November last year. The chatbot can answer questions using natural language and mimic other writing styles.

Gaelic, has faced many challenges over the years, including language suppression and declining numbers of speakers. Despite recent efforts to promote and preserve the language, Gaelic still faces significant obstacles in Scotland.

Historically, the British government enacted policies aimed at suppressing Gaelic and promoting English as the dominant language in Scotland. This included banning the use of Gaelic in schools and discouraging its use in public life. As a result, many Gaelic speakers were forced to abandon their language and adopt English in order to succeed in education and employment.

Today, the number of Gaelic speakers has been in decline for many years. The 2011 Scottish Census found that only 1.1% of the Scottish population spoke Gaelic, down from 1.2% in 2001.

This decline is due in part to limited opportunities for Gaelic speakers to use the language in everyday life, with most Gaelic-speaking communities located in remote areas. 

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There is also a digital divide between urban and rural areas in Scotland, which can make it difficult for Gaelic speakers to access digital resources and connect with other Gaelic speakers online. 

Despite these challenges, there are efforts underway to promote and preserve the Gaelic language in Scotland. The Scottish government has invested in Gaelic-language education and cultural initiatives, and there are many community-led projects aimed at revitalising the language