Public body Welsh translation errors ‘tolerated far too often’ says, North Wales MS

Welsh translation errors are “tolerated far too often”, according to a North Wales MS.

Llyr Gruffydd, of Plaid Cymru, raised the issue with the Minister for the Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, in the Senedd following two high profile blunders by the UK Government.

Mr Gruffydd said these kinds of mistakes send a “very unfortunate message in terms of the status of the Welsh language.”

He asked the Minister to write to the UK Government about the issue. Mr Miles responded that he was “happy” to do that.

One error by the Westminster administration, which came to light recently, was widely circulated on social media after being spotted on an official webpage about the oath of allegiance carried out during citizenship ceremonies.

In English, the oath begins: "I (name) swear by Almighty God." The Welsh translation says: "Byddaf i (enw) yn rhegi i Dduw Omnipotent."

However, the Welsh translation should use the word tyngu instead of rhegi. The difference between the words is that rhegi means to use a curse word, whilst tyngu means to swear allegiance. The page was last updated in July 2022.

This came just over a week after the UK Government made a Welsh language mistake in its Emergency Text Alert.

The alert system is intended to warn the public about life-threatening situations such as floods and wildfires.

In the Welsh language version of the test siren, the word for “safe” was translated to “yn Vogel” rather than “yn ddiogel”.

The word “Vogel”, which means “bird” in German and Dutch, has no meaning in Welsh, and the letter “v” is no longer included in the modern day Welsh alphabet.

The correct translation would be “yn ddiogel”, which means “safe”.

Llyr Gruffydd MS said: “Everyone sees examples—some more unfortunate than others—of mistranslations or spelling errors from time to time.

“They can be amusing at first sight, but of course they do send a very unfortunate message in terms of the status of the Welsh language, when we see these examples being tolerated far too often.

“We saw the UK Government's text message test claiming that they were going to keep us 'vogel' rather than 'ddiogel', safe.

“We also saw the UK Government's website encouraging us to 'rhegi i Dduw omnipotent, rather than to swear an oath. But I’m not just pointing the finger at the UK Government; there are unfortunate examples across the public sector.

“Will you as a Government, therefore, write to public sector bodies in Wales just to encourage them and to remind them of their responsibilities in this regard, and to convey the same message to the UK Government too?”

Jeremy Miles MS replied: “I’m very happy to do that. Perhaps if there was less emphasis on complaining about renaming Bannau Brycheiniog, and more emphasis on accuracy, we might all be happier.”

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  • Marc Jones
    published this page in News 2023-06-30 10:41:20 +0100

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