A Government savings agency is to abandon its Welsh language services.
National Savings and Investments (NS&I), which is best known for Premium Bonds, says that the service costs too much to run; with just 107 customers corresponding with the company in Welsh in February 2012, that represents a cost of over £900 per customer which it says is “not a cost effective use of public funds.”
Crown body language schemes are voluntary, but once adopted, cannot be revoked.
Gwenith Price, Deputy Welsh Language Commissioner, has asked the Welsh Secretary to intervene. She stated that
“When the Welsh Language Act 1993 became law the government of the day gave an undertaking that government departments and Crown bodies would prepare Welsh language schemes in the exact same way as that of public bodies.
The NS&I’s scheme was given approval in 2007. There is no provision within that act which enables an organisation, of its own volition, to end a scheme.”
Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws has also written to the bank, and received a reply stating that the company’s intention was to end Welsh language services by April 22nd.
You might know of popular site engrish.com, which displays translation mistakes on signs around the world. This phenomenon is happening a little closer to home as well!
In the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales, officials put up this sign.
The Welsh text translates as “Station current closed in front follow entertainment,” leaving motorists thankful that the English alternative makes sense. Network Rail, who employ contractors to undertake highway maintenance, have pledged to investigate and rectify the mistakes.
Embarrassingly for the bilingual country, this isn’t the only recent translation blunder. Readers of Welsh language magazine Golwg have submitted so many examples of badly translated public information that the magazine has decided to publish a book entitled Sgymraeg (bad translations.)
Shoppers at Tesco in Swansea were confused by this sign last year, as allanfa is Welsh for exit.
Swansea will play host to the annual Celtic Media Festival next April, it has been announced. The aim of the festival is to promote the cultures and languages of the Celtic regions within the media. Films will be shown in Welsh Gaelic and Breton as well as English. The 34th celebration will feature screenings and exhibitions from Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland, and Brittany, as well as master classes for local students.
The full programme will be announced in early 2013.
More information can be found here.
A father and daughter from Gwynedd, North Wales, are refusing to pay their parking fines as the tickets were not written in Welsh. Noel Jones and his daughter Bethan were issued with the £65 tickets after parking in the car park of a village community hall in Penrhyndeudraeth. The private car park is primarily for the use of customers, and resident drivers have been issued with bilingual notices regarding the parking enforcements for the past two years.
67% of locals use Welsh as their primary language, however both Noel and Bethan Jones are fluent in English. The pair feel that the tickets are not in line with council policy as they are not written in both English and Welsh, and therefore they should not have to pay.
The ticket was issued by a private firm, FlashPark, which is based in London. A spokesman for FlashPark has said that the tickets will be reissued in Welsh.
Two teachers of the Welsh language have taken it upon themselves to provide an online Welsh language learning service, free of charge to anyone wishing to learn the language. Their passion for the language and wish to use natural, spoken Welsh to teach others has resulted in an mp3-based learning system available at SaySomethingInWelsh.com. The creators have been so generous with their time that they have made the language course free for all users, and are busy supporting a new international Welsh language community.
A FREE internet course in Welsh has stunned its creators, with more than 3,500 learners registering from locations as far afield as Timbuktu and New Zealand.
SaySomethingInWelsh.com – which emphasises the spoken word – was set up by teachers Iestyn ap Dafydd and Aran Jones because of their frustration with more conventional courses.
The site has been inundated with plaudits from people across the world who decided to sign up for what they see as a more user- friendly way of learning the language.
Available in MP3 files which can be downloaded and played at any convenient time, it claims to get rid of time wasted on reading and writing in order to help people learn to speak and understand Welsh far more quickly than is possible with traditional methods.
Iestyn and Aran describe themselves as “serial language learners” who wanted to make sure that cutting edge approaches were available in Welsh.
“I can’t think of a time when I haven’t been trying to learn one language or another,” said Aran, who lives in Pwllheli and is chief executive of the Welsh language communities group Cymuned.
The course is free because it is possible to distribute electronic files for very close to zero cost.
“We realised early on that the work involved in putting the course together, the writing and recording, was something we were happy to do as volunteers just to make sure that this kind of material is available in Welsh,” said Iestyn of Maesycymmer, near Caer- philly.
“It costs us virtually nothing to distribute the course, so we thought it would be a boost to Welsh learners, and to the language itself, if we offered it for free.”
Full article from WalesOnline.