Initially highly praised as a monumental achievement in Scottish folklore, the Carmina Gadelica subsequently has received some criticism for Carmichael's interpretation and presentation of the material. Criticism has ranged from the opinion that Carmichael was excessive in his editing of the source material, to the accusation that some of his sources were fabricated. Some of his translations tend to sacrifice accuracy for a type of Victorian, anachronistic style which was popular at the time of the works' first publication. In other cases it is clear, from comparing his notes to the finished product, that in some cases he may have invented additional lines and verses and incorporated them into the poems he had recorded, without acknowledging these changes.
These criticisms acknowledged, the Carmina is still seen as essential to Scottish folklore studies. It is used as a source by respected folklorists such as F. Marian McNeill as well as contemporary students of Gaelic language and folklore.