Gillebrìde MacMillan and Àdhamh Ó Broin, Gaelic consultants for Outlander


Research: Marie Modica 

He said: "Sam [Heughan] was fantastic and John Bell [who plays 'Young Ian' Murray] deserves special mention for his commitment to making his pronunciation perfect. They all really wanted to make sure there was as much as possible on the show to make it as authentic as possible."


The native speaker has confirmed he will continue as a Gaelic coach over the next season. Fans are eagerly awaiting the end of "Droughtlander" as the Starz series returns for its seventh season which will air later this year.

Gillebrìde MacMillan was a Gaelic consultant for the final season of Outlander. The language consultant surprisingly hadn't even heard of the successful saga when his friend shared a Facebook post with him saying they were looking for Gaelic singers.

Speaking to The National, the teacher said: "I had just released an album when my friend sent me this advertisement and I thought I'd see what would happen. I recorded an audition in Edinburgh that was sent to the United States, and then I got the part. I didn't really know the extent of what I was involved in until I got there and [I saw that] they had built a castle inside the studio." [Editor's note: he played the role of Leoch's bard in season 1].

Impressed by his luck, Mr. MacMillan, a native of South Uist, couldn't believe the talent he would work with on the Starz set, adding that [Sam] Heughan was "fantastic."

He said: "The previous Gaelic consultant (Àdhamh Ó Broin) had left so they wanted someone for season seven. This led me to work with the actors, teach them some Gaelic and write a song for the new season. No one could have imagined what Outlander has become and really what a phenomenon it is. For me, it was amazing to work on the show that gives you recognition, and then work behind the scenes and see so many places in Scotland that I would never have experienced. I visited so many castles, villages and towns that I did not know, much to my shame."


Something that impresses the Scot is Outlander's commitment to portraying Scotland as authentic as possible rather than opting for something more stereotypical. Rather than simply filling a "Gaelic quota", there is an effort to make the language as much part of history as possible.
He explained: "It could be so easy for them to put one word in every other sentence and fill a Gaelic quota like that. But they actually do something meaningful and deeper by weaving it into the episodes and the music."

Mr MacMillan hopes that knowing that roles like this exist will encourage children across Scotland to see Gaelic as an opportunity rather than something 'boring'. He said: "It's important that a minority language is highlighted on the international stage so that people who are in school right now and don't think it's cool and wonder about jobs, see that there are opportunities. People are interested in learning that. It's a skill they have that sets them apart from others when they're looking for work."

For MacMillan, however, the fan base is what makes the show as special as it is, adding: "It put me in touch with this network of incredible fans who support the show so much but also with anyone who has a connection to it. I think it was the most rewarding thing, I was able to meet people from all over the world. They have a love of the show, a love of Scotland and a love of the Gaelic language too." 

Source: January 2023 article, found on the Scottish DailyExpress website, entitled:

Sam Heughan praised for his Gaelic by Outlander's language adviser. 



Àdhamh Ó Broin is not only the world's most famous Gaelic language and culture consultant, having built his reputation in film and television by working on Sony Pictures' Outlander, but is also an independent producer, involved in several Gaelic language short films and series in recent years.

Àdhamh is known for his deep esoteric knowledge of the history, idiom, dialect and accent of Scottish Gaelic, his unwavering personal passion for his culture of origin and the boundless energy and determination to create the best possible rendering, both on and off set. Think about poetic translation into any dialect needed, versatile teaching methods and materials based on the different language abilities of your cast [of actors], and patient and dedicated advice on set.


As a producer, Àdhamh cut his teeth in the Gaelic and cinematic worlds as much for putting all his talent into projects rich in languages and culture such as Origins of the Laoich, The Herring Girls and 1815, as well as speaking fluently on television.

If you're committed to keeping your actors relaxed and enthusiastic about your production material, look no further:


"As Laird of Leoch, I had to get used to a new pair of legs, drink large amounts of Rhine [wine] and talk to the clan in Gaelic. Àdhamh was my rock for this last point. The support he has given me has been exceptional. He was always available with patience and good heart."

–Gary Lewis 


"It was wonderful to have Àdhamh around. Because here is a man who lives and breathes this language."

–Graham McTavish


"A fantastic teacher. I really enjoyed working/learning with Àdhamh. He brought the language to life for me and instilled in me a lasting passion for Gaelic. Friendly, hardworking and energetic, he provided the perfect guide."

-Sam Heughan

Married with four children, Àdhamh has devoted much of his life to the study and preservation of the language and its multiple dialects, and he brought this expertise to "Outlander".


He grewup on the west coast of Scotland, where he was surrounded by Gaelic place names, so he was used to it from an early age. As English became the ubiquitous language throughout Scotland, Gaelic began to disappear. His grandmother thought it was an injustice and that someone in the family should learn about it and make him come back. Once he tasted it, he hooked until he became obsessed with it. 


The series takes risks with its use of language, mainly by not subtitling it. However, Claire doesn't speak Gaelic either, so there's usually someone standing next to her to translate. Ironically, Catriona Balfe, of Irish descent, is the only person in the cast who actually knows Gaelic. This ancient language was easier for some actors than for others. Gary Lewis, who plays Clan Chief Colum MacKenzie, is from Glasgow and gives several long speeches in the language. Another Scot, Graham McTavish, plays Colum's powerful brother, Dougal, and he is also frequently called upon to speak in Gaelic.

"I'd like to speak Gaelic," McTavish says. "It's a beautiful language, but it's hard to learn."

That's where Ó Broin comes in, constantly helping actors make sounds they've never created before. He hopes that exposing millions of people to the language will help save it.

"If you want to destroy a people, destroy its language. It contains all his history and his way of seeing the world," he says. "It will be fantastic to have a whole new generation of people interested in Scotland, our language and culture."

Some anecdotes 


On the occasion of their conversations in Men In Kilts, Graham McTavish and Sam Heughan revealed some details behind the scenes of the series...
Graham McTavish testified that he had to learn a number of lines in Gaelic for his role in the series:

"We were obviously speaking Gaelic in Outlander - we learned it phonetically, but it was sort of a fraud on our part that I'm ashamed of. I got signs in one scene because I had a six-page speech!"
Sam Heughan said:

"But I also remember they wrote on signs, but you didn't have your glasses on because Dougal doesn't wear glasses, so they had to write them in very big letters so you could read them!"



It is Àdhamh Ó Broin, who holds the sign

Then at the abbey: episode 16 of the first season: To ransom a man's soul


J: How can they leave me in this pain?
M: We will do everything we can to heal you.
J: Some things can't be cured. What I wish is that you end it now.
M: I can't stand these things you say anymore.
J: I won't overcome that. Will you force me to beg you?
M: I made a promise to your Mother. Peace to his soul. May nothing bad happen to you.
J: It's too late, Godfather.
M: And Claire? Making her a widow by abandoning her? Do you have your head in the porridge? You don't have a single thought for her!
J: I don't have a single thought that isn't for her...


This is what Jamie replied in Gaelic to William:

Episode 4 of the third season: Of lost things

"Do you really have to leave, Mac?"
- "Na bith còin, a bhalaich. Bithidh e glè cheart. (Don't cry, man. Everything will be fine.)"


There is a big translation error in a dialogue between Jamie and Mrs. Fitz, just after the scene where the young man received the correction instead of Laoghaire (season 1, episode 2: Leoch Castle).
When she gives him a potion to relieve him, Jamie replies "Top of life!" (according to the English subtitles), which is translated in the French subtitles as "Succulent!" and, in the dubbing, we hear him say "Il n'y a pas mieux!"
Except that this expression in English seems to come out of nowhere... and for good reason! The subtitles are based on automatic sound capture, but in reality Jamie speaks in Gaelic to say "Tapadh Leat!" which simply means "Thank you!", in a somewhat formal way.

This is not the first time that there has been an error of appreciation of Gaelic in the subtitles, including in the original version. We will remember the debate over Murtagh's words in episode 1: the moment he saves Claire from BJR's clutches, he shouts something at her which, with the English subtitles, becomes "Druid!" and that the French subtitles logically translate as "Druidesse!" -- which would imply a possibility that Murtagh saw Claire coming out of the stones when in reality Murtagh simply shouted "Trobadh!" at her in Gaelic, which can be translated as "Come!

Conversation between Murtagh and Jamie in the cart to the abbey


Original Gaelic Dialogue
Jamie: You need to stop my heart!
Murtagh: I haven't listened to this!


In French
J: You must put an end to my torment!
M: I won't listen to that!

The invocation in the river before the battle of Alamante:

Season 5 Episode 7: Roger Mac's Ride