Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Why is Welsh treated as an handicap?

My local Llantrisant Community Council have just delivered a leaflet explaining tome what its been doing over  the last Number of years.

A cynic may think that the Councilors may be using this to rise their profile ahead of the elections in May 2012.Though I think it's about time the Council explained the work it does and how we benefit from the work these unpaid councilors do.

However as you can see the glossy leaflet is in English only and I've highlighted the instruction.

"This Newsletter is available in Welsh and larger print...."

Although my Welsh is poor, I was tempted to ask for a Welsh version to give my support for bilingualism. But wouldn't that mean I was tacitly accepting the situation. That the ability to speak Welsh is seen in the same way as near blindness?

If it's a question of cost.Perhaps a less glossy leaflet, could be produced and because the last of the four page leaflet consisted of contact number of  the councilors, together with photos this will not double the cost anyway.Does a leaflet double in price because it's fully bilingual? I doubt it.

Indeed perhaps Llantrisant CC should investigate how other community and town councils deal with bilingualism especially since the Welsh language Act of 1993...
"obliged all organisations in the public sector providing services to the public in Wales to treat Welsh and English on an equal basis".

Clearly to my mind a monoglot leaflet does not comply with the act .Though perhaps someone can tell me what the legal position is.

This situation is being reflected in the Assembly as Syniadau points out in his Blog .

"the Assembly Commission, ....., made the decision only to translate contributions made in Welsh to English, but not vice-versa. A few weeks ago they published a paper outlining options for translating it, one of which was to use Google Translate to provide a rough translation that would then be corrected by professional translators".
Now I use Google translate  and whilst its a remarkable piece of technology  it has still a long way to go before it is fully accurate,  and I'm doubtful if it can translate to the accuracy, that a full report on our AM, contribution for a number of years if ever , and whilst I can vouch for translating Welsh into English I can't vouch for the reverse.

The argument as argued by the Libdem's Peter Black is...
 "In principle I support a fully bilingual record but it is at this point that priorities have to be applied. Isn't it tokenism to just provide a straight translation? Would those resources not be better used in developing the language across Wales? Those are hard questions that we need to answer our satisfaction before proceeding"
I'm sure many  Language supporters may consider the idea that th the "resources not be better used in developing the language across Wales" to have some merit.

However: Either  the Welsh Language is equal to English in all respects in Welsh life  or it is not.

Remember ,the Welsh Assembly unanimously approved a set of measures to develop the use of the Welsh language within Wales] On 9 February 2011 further enhancing the 1993 Act. This measure received Royal Approval and was passed, thus making the Welsh language an officially recognised language within Wale . The Measure:he official status of the Welsh language;...
  • creates a new system of placing duties on bodies to provide services through the medium of Welsh;
  • creates a Welsh Language Commissioner with strong enforcement powers to protect the rights of Welsh speakers to access services through the medium of Welsh;
  • establishes a Welsh Language Tribunal;
  • gives individuals and bodies the right to appeal decisions made in relation to the provision of services through the medium of Welsh
  • creates a Welsh Language Partnership Council to advise Government on its strategy in relation to the Welsh language;
  • allows for an official investigation by the Welsh Language Commissioner of instances where there is an attempt to interfere with the freedom of Welsh speakers to use the language with one another.[Peter Black and the Libdems were arguing that this did not go far enough.
The point i'm trying to make is that as long as there's a argument  that there's no need to translate Assembly contributions into Welsh because "everyone can understand English". Then the mindset will always be that Welsh is not a real Language but an ecotic option or worse still seen on the same level as handicap.




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