Ymddiheuriadau os oeddech chi’n disgwyl cyrraedd fersiwn Gymraeg y wefan hon trwy glicio ar y gair ‘Cymraeg’. Pwrpas y dudalen hon yw codi ymwybyddiaeth o’r iaith Gymraeg, a nodi fy ngwaith dros a thrwy gyfrwng yr iaith.
This is not the traditional page you’d expect to find when you click on the word ‘Cymraeg’ on a website’s homepage.
Welsh speakers, for example, would be expecting to find a Welsh version of the website – I have apologised for this above. Why? you may ask. Well you see Wales is working towards becoming a bilingual nation.
There is still some way to go – the language lost a great deal of ground during the industrial revolution and practices such as the Welsh Not – but things are moving in the right direction.
We can contribute to this in some small way, because although we don’t offer fully bilingual services, we can offer advice on bilingual matters, and occasionally translation.
Becoming a bilingual nation
Legislation over the years has aimed to ensure equality in the use of Welsh and English languages by public sector bodies dealing with the public in Wales. Since 1993, public bodies in Wales were required to produce Welsh Language Schemes to plan how they’d do this, but progress was slow, so the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 took things a step further.
Out went the Welsh Language Board, and in came the Welsh Language Commissioner. Where the Board was more of an advisory body, the Commissioner’s role is strictly as a regulator. Welsh Language Schemes – which allowed public bodies to choose what they would do – will be replaced in time by Welsh Language Standards which will set out what is expected of them including the timescales.
The first public bodies in Wales to be answerable to the Standards are local authorities, National Park authorities and Welsh Ministers. In time, all public bodies will be answerable to their own set of Standards which will be specific to their sector, be it education, environment, health, or transport.
Our interest and experience in bilingualism
From a personal point of view, I feel privileged to have been brought up in a Welsh-speaking household, and attended Welsh-medium infant, primary and secondary schools from the age of three-and-a-half up until I was 16.
I am fully bilingual, and happy to converse or write in Welsh or English. I have worked for a number of public bodies in Wales where Welsh was valued and where I’ve co-ordinated and/or developed Welsh language strategies. These include the Wales Tourist Board (now part of Welsh Government), Environment Agency Wales (now part of Natural Resources Wales), and the University of Wales, Newport.
I was Welsh Language Scheme Facilitator for the latter, responsible for drafting the University’s Welsh Language Scheme and ensuring the successful day-to-day implementation of the Scheme for 10 years. I wrote the Annual Monitoring Report for the Welsh Language Board (later the Welsh Language Commissioner) and offered advice on Welsh language issues to staff.
While at the University, I successfully completed an online Welsh translation course and a Gloywi Iaith (Language Improvement) course – both via Cardiff University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning. While I’m not an accredited translator, I have been translating for most of my adult life.
Dyfan Wyn Owen
Partner – Writing Services