Committee calls on Welsh Government to show greater commitment to language
The chair of a Welsh council’s language committee has written to the Welsh Government calling for greater commitment to the language by providing simultaneous translation as a default in their meetings.
Councillor Elfed ap Elwyn, chair of Cyngor Gwynedd’s Language Committee, said that this would be a significant step towards normalising Welsh as the language of business and work and encouraging more public sector workers across Wales to use the language.
According to Councillor Elfed ap Elwyn, if the goal of one million Welsh speakers is to be reached by 2050, it is essential that the Government leads by example and do more than the minimum to meet Welsh Language Standards.
Councillor Elfed ap Elwyn, Chair of Cyngor Gwynedd’s Language Committee, said: “It disappointing and frustrating that Welsh speakers have to request a translation service at meetings. I’ve asked the Minister for the Welsh Language and Education what proactive efforts are being made by the Government to promote the use of the Welsh language in meetings and to encourage Welsh speakers – be that their own officers or officers of other organisations – to use their Welsh in meetings.
“I also want to know what efforts are being made within government departments to encourage and promote the language, ensuring that officers are aware of the of the Welsh Language Standards’ requirements when giving those attending the option to contribute to meetings in Welsh.
“Simply, I would like to see the Government follow the example of Cyngor Gwynedd and provide translation at the time by default.”
Councillor ap Elwyn has stated his concern that the Standards relating to meetings do not go far enough in protecting the rights of Welsh speakers.
“In reality, the system currently puts the burden on Welsh speakers to request a service that they themselves do not use,” he said. “I am concerned that this in itself is an obstacle for people who want to use their Welsh.”
The Language Committee’s demands have been supported by the Cabinet Member responsible for the Welsh language on Cyngor Gwynedd, Councillor Menna Jones.
She said: “I support my fellow councillor’s request and look forward to hearing the Minister’s reply.
“As a council, we have worked hard for years to lead the way and ensure that Welsh is a working language as well as a community language. The journey has felt lonely at times, so I’m glad to see that other organisations such as the FAW and the Eryri National Park have recently taken great strides to normalise the use of our language and indigenous Welsh names.
“I am calling on the Welsh Government to take advantage of this opportunity to commit to holding meetings in Welsh wherever possible, and to provide simultaneous translation by default. By doing this they would be taking a huge step forward in raising the status of the Welsh language here in our own country.”
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