Tag: Welsh

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Welsh Language Re-included in Council during Pandemic

Multimedia Translation

After facing criticism, the city council in Denbighshire, Wales will now allow Zoom in council meetings to better serve Welsh language speakers with simultaneous translation in meetings.

After failing to provide Welsh interpretation services for meetings throughout the pandemic, a city council in Wales has set plans to reincorporate Welsh translation into future meetings. At the onset of the pandemic, an issue arose around security issues with Zoom, driving the council to use a system that does not support simultaneous translation for meetings. However, the exclusion of Welsh language services drew criticism.

Cllr Mabon ap Gwynfor, chair of the Welsh Language Steering committee on Denbighshire council, commented in a letter to fellow members that language is not a “nicety that could be put aside.” He acknowledged in the letter the unprecedented nature of the pandemic but added that the situation proved Welsh was “not a key consideration” for the council.

“We’ve not had any Welsh translation in any of our meetings since lockdown,” he said. “Other councils have held meetings with translation for many months because, when they looked at the technology and planned for meetings, it was an essential requirement.”

A Denbighshire council spokesman said that due to concerns about security, the meetings had used the in-house video conferencing platform, which lacks the capacity to provide Welsh translation. However, with the many security improvements on Zoom, along with the app’s simultaneous translation capabilities, the council would employ Zoom for all future council meetings.

“The council is integrating Zoom with its existing council chamber conferencing system, which includes simultaneous interpretation and webcasting,” the spokesman said. “Denbighshire’s solution will provide a permanent bilingual, hybrid meeting system that will meet the Welsh Government’s expected legislative changes next year. It is anticipated that the hybrid meetings installation will have been completed in early October and subject to satisfactory testing may be available for conducting bilingual public meetings later in the month.”

Hybrid meetings, where some members attend via video conferencing software and others in person in the council chamber, are currently only legal due to emergency legislation brought in because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many councils are now preparing for a permanent change in legislation next year, which would see local authorities able to hold hybrid gatherings. Some councils believe the move will boost attendance at meetings and increase engagement with the public.

“It seems that here in Denbighshire it was felt that it was either not a consideration when planning for meetings or was deemed nonessential,” said Cllr ap Gwynfor, adding that he is “far more comfortable” expressing himself in Welsh, which is also the first language of his wife and four children too. He added, “It’s the language I dream in, I think in, and live my life through. It’s not acceptable that our language has been dismissed.”

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MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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Global Branding and those “Minority” Languages: Business Benefits

Language in Business

Superb article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper about the business benefits of branding using what are often snottily referred to as “minority” languages: Basque, Cornish, Irish, Welsh, and so on.

Read it here: Let languages shout out your business benefits.

Make no mistake, such languages offer a competitive edge for domestic and global brands. Using Irish (Gaeilge) for example drives a multi-million Euro market. Interestingly, these languages are particularly valuable to business when used in the food industry (the localization angle of which, along with sport, we do not hear about often enough).

Tayto Crisps: Irish Branding Gets Emoji. There's Irish-language Tayto Crisps too.

Ireland’s famous Tayto Crisps go emoji. There are Irish-language Tayto Crisps too. They don’t taste any the worse for Unicode! (Image: Ultan Ó Broin)

Of course, using language to engage consumers does not require sellers or buyers to be even remotely fluent in it, contrary to what Willie Brandt claimed.

Not that claims of minority language usage don’t come without their own problems.

 

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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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So, Not Enough Basque (Euskara) Understanding?

Language in the News, Localization Culture

Spanish-related topics are always hot, and not just in Europe. Catalonian separation, economic turmoil, my eight-year old sporting a Barcelona football (soccer) shirt, it’s all happening.  Besides current events in the news, Spain itself is a country rich in history, culture, with a weighty past and present world influence, and a territory that offers language professionals and hobbyists plenty of scope for exploration and discussion.

One of the languages from that region, Basque (known as Euskara), just doesn’t seem to get enough coverage, in my opinion. Perhaps that’s because I worked briefly on a Basque localization project (for an early version of Microsoft Office as it happens) or because as an Irish person I feel some affinity for the Basque people, and how their culture and language fares as a coexistence project alongside with other, bigger European entities. Maybe it’s because the Basque language–Latin character-based and all as it is–just looks so intriguing when viewed beside other languages! Regardless, I think we’re missing out on something great by this omission of coverage.

So, let’s all explore the Basque language a little more, and see what lessons it holds for other language isolates or minor languages, their promotion, their adoption and usage, as well as how such languages play out on a bigger stage.

Thankfully, Moravia have done a fine job in helping us along the road to more understanding with their eye-catchingly titled blog post Did the aliens plant the Basque language? I learned a lot from that, and I know you will too, so check it out!

If you have other Basque language or culture-related sources, then add them to the comments.

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Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally.

Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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