2007 - 2021

Firefox in Scots: Here’s the Medium, Noo Whaur’s the Message?

Ah want this tae luik like actual reportage raither than jist mair mumpin aboot Scots, sae ah’ll stairt aff wi the simple facts – Scots has got its ain browser noo. “Wab stravaiger”, ah dout ah should say, syne masel an ma co-translator, Ashley Douglas, spent lang eneuch thinkin it up. Firefox is noo available for doonload in the Scots language, an we’re richt prood o it, the twa o us an the translation company, Rubric, that we wirked wi tae dae it.

Awricht, thon’s eneuch facts tae be gettin on wi. Let’s crack on wi the mumpin.

Cause there’s ayeweys a guid wheen o girnin associatit wi onythin that’s tae dae wi Scots, especially when it’s happenin online. Ye cannae sae muckle as spreid yer “Wird o the Day” tea-towel oot on the Seton Sands withoot it turnin intae an NBA Jam-style clamjamfrie o hauf-coort dunks an ritualised self-owns. An that’s a sin, cause it maks it nearaboots tae impossible tae celebrate onythin withoot contortin yersel tae occupy thon ever mair shilpit gable end atween public rejycin an public gloatin.

But thon’s aw par for the coorse, nae dout, an ah’ll no gang ower it aw again. Whiles, scrievin aboot Scots stairts tae feel like wan o thon Simpsons clip-shows, a compilation tape o auld sairs an ancient grudges, a low-budget place-hauder for better things tae come…

An, luik, here’s a better thing that HAS come. The first major bittie o saftware translatit intae Scots. We’ve still no got a wird-processor that willnae turn yer tentily-curatit Scots scrievin intae a sea o choppy ridd waves. We’ve still no got text messagin that leas yer wirds the hell alane, raither as fussily correctin them as suin as ye’ve got them, like a mortified auntie at a church fair. But we’ve this at least, a browser in Scots, a mair-or-less literal portal tae awthin else. As guid a place tae stairt frae, ah dout, as ony.

But here’s a wee koan tae scart yer heids ower. Is a doorwey really a doorwey if it disnae lead tae onywhaur?

See, ah’m aw aboot ma Scots Firefox the noo. Ah’m yaisin it for awthin – news, shoppin, stravaigin, media. Awthin ye can think o – weel, apairt frae Scots. Cause, as ye’ll hae nae dout hae noticed, apairt frae the endlessly repeatin Rooms Wan-Oh-Wan o Twitter an the page ye’re luikin at richt noo, there’s hee-haw oot there on the Internet in Scots. Nae news, nae media, nae info, nae naethin. An ye neednae pynt oot tae me, by the by, the irony o a muckle lowp forrit for the Scots language bein reportit on exclusively in English. Irony is jist the warld we bide in, the watter we breithe. If we’ve no biggit up a herd immunity by noo tae misogyny enquiries heidit up by men, an journalistic balance achieved bi settin the faur-richt against the centre-richt, we never will.

But ah’m no wantin tae get intae aw that again… An wha really expects news ootlets or magazines or broadcast TV tae offer ocht in Scots when there’s neither carrot nor stick tae guide them? No me… An yet thon disnae chynge the central issue – that there’s 1.5 million Scots uisers oot there tae wha Firefox in Scots will be a job hauf-duin, a brig that leads tae naewhaur, a juttin promontory leadin oot intae a cauld daurk sea.

Confucius is richt eneuch aboot thon journey o a thoosand miles. Here’s us five hunner miles in, an God kens how mony single steps, an still ploddin on, waitin on somebody, onybody, tae meet us haufgates alang the wey. The government, the media… Like yersel, ah’m no fussy. Ah jist wantit awbody tae ken that we’ve duin the haird pairt. We’ve got the medium, noo we’re jist waitin on the message.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Colin Robinson says:

    Another problem that I foresee is that Scots has no standard rendering. Don’t the algorithms by which web browsers operate not need standard renderings to work? In other words, if I typed something in my Scots – or, alternatively, my grannie’s Scots – into Firefox Stravaiger, would it be recognised, or would I have to adopt some authoritative rendering?

  2. Alasdair Good says:

    When is this going to happen as I have just tried to access Scots on Firefox and it’s not considered a language on the list of languages. Can you guide me on how I access?

  3. Knawlege says:

    Would Scots writers kindly stop using ‘oo’? It’s for English language enthusiasts.

    1. Colin Robinson says:

      Yep, the use of English phonetics in rendering Scots is as cringeworthy as the apologetic apostrophe. I prefer to use diacritical marks to distinguish sound-values in my written Scots.

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