I have been intrigued by this for some while….
If you have ever been abroad in a non-English speaking country, I am sure that you have witnessed business owners and their employees going out their way to serve/greet/help you in English instead of their native language. They do whatever they can, to accommodate you. And if you are a business owner or have ever considered to start a business, you probably have thought about what name you would choose. Most think, it should be a name that is easily recognisable, understandable, pronounceable and that ideally provides some relevant information about what you do to your customers.
And then you see a car with “TACSAI” written on the side! :-O
Taxi drivers can choose if they want to have the big sticker on the front door of their Taxi in English or in Irish. The vast majority chooses English (and possibly considers the points above), but a surprisingly large amount of Taxis in Dublin use the Irish language version “Tacsaí”. And the ones that choose Tacsai seem to go against all logical reasons for choosing a specific business name as a service provider in an industry that particularly serves a very international audience. Unsurprisingly – but somewhat inconsistently – they won’t greet you with “Conas atá tú?” when you enter the taxi, but their brand on the outside is not at all considering to accommodate their international customer base.
Without a doubt you might think of “800 years of occupation” and “forced adoption of English” as reasons why some prefer the Irish language brand, but there are also other countries in this world where English was forced upon the population and you probably won’t be too surprised that Indian taxis are called “Taxi” despite the role of Britain in their history.
Even more puzzling, though, is why the word “Tacsai” even exists! The word “taxa” is originally Latin and means “charging”. That word was used in 1890 in Germany to make “Taxameter”, an automatic meter to record the distance and fare. So does “Tacsai” have the same root? Does it go back to the Latin “taxa”? No, not at all! It is a made up word that tries to copy but be different at the same time.
I’d say the Irish that is used nowadays could easily live with some “foreign” words like “Taxi”. It hasn’t done any harm to all the other languages that just use the word “Taxi”. But there seems to be a flavour of Irish speakers that seem to have to translate EVERYTHING just for the sake of it. After all there is even a word for “Internet”, one of these olden Gaelic communication concepts, you know!? In case you want to know, it is the “Idirghréasán”. Oddly, force-translating modern words makes Irish more outdated than if it just adopted the words!