Gaelic version of Anne of Green Gables takes beloved story back to its roots

A young girl walks into the Green Gables home in Cavendish, PEI.Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press

A Nova Scotia publishing house published a Gaelic translation of Anne of the Green Gables, the beloved novel written by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

This is the first time that the century-old story has been translated into the Scottish language, although Gaelic is the language with “the closest cultural and historical ties to LM Montgomery and Prince Edward Island after the English, ”according to Halifax-based publishing company Bradan Press. , which is the source of the most recent version of the book.

The Gaelic translation titled Anna ruadh or Red-haired Anne, was added to the heritage collection last month at Green Gables Heritage Place in Cavendish, PEI, as part of the novel.

Emily McEwan, Founder of Bradan Press and Editor of Anna ruadh, said in a recent interview that the Gaelic translation draws on much of the island’s Scottish history, adding that Montgomery has Gaelic speaking ancestors on both sides of his family.

“When you read the Gaelic translation, that humor sounds so natural… just as funny as it is in English,” McEwan said.

“Prince Edward Island humor, Montgomery humor that she grew up with and was imbued with – that’s Gaelic humor, that’s Scottish humor,” said she added. “Of course it fits so well into Gaelic because the culture it came from was partly Gaelic in the first place. “

“Anne of Green Gables” tells the story of an orphan named Anne Shirley who comes to live on the island after being adopted by two siblings. It has become a Canadian classic since its publication in 1908 and has since been translated into over 30 languages.

McEwan said she expects readers of the Gaelic version to be those who wish to work on their skills in the language and who are longtime fans and collectors of the book.

It was sometimes difficult to find precise Gaelic words to translate the vivid descriptions of Montgomery trees and flowers, Morag Ann MacNeil, the book’s Gaelic translator, said in a recent interview.

“I dug and rummaged a lot,” MacNeil said, which included contacting experts on Montgomery’s work and regular references to the Gaelic dictionary. Despite the challenges, MacNeil said the book is an accurate translation.

“The Bible is translated into Gaelic… if you can do something like that, you can translate everything, can’t you? She says from her home in Scotland.

MacNeil echoed McEwan’s sentiment, saying the book “translates well” into Gaelic and remains an enjoyable read despite its age.

“It’s almost like they’re written in Gaelic to begin with,” MacNeil said. “Although this is a very old, old book, it doesn’t look like it is, and I think it’s because when something is good, it’s good no matter the time.”

This story was produced with the financial assistance of Facebook and the Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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