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Language Commissioner accuses Amazon of ignoring offer of help to include Welsh  

11 Mar 2021 4 minutes Read
Samsung Galaxy displaying Amazon logo. Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

The Welsh Language Commissioner has accused Amazon of ignoring his offer of help.

Aled Roberts told Nation.Cymru that he has yet to receive a reply to his attempt to reach out, in the wake of complaints that the online retailer has been rejecting reviews written in the Welsh language.

Roberts said he has contacted the company in the past to “inspire them to include Welsh on their website” and that “we have received no response to our correspondence to date”.

He added that it’s “important for Welsh speakers to be able to write and review products online in their preferred language”.

In response to the comments by the Commissioner, an Amazon spokesperson said: “We apologise for this technical error. A further investigation is underway and we are taking action to correct this.”

Amazon recently refused to publish a review by Andrew Dixey on its website, who has described the rejection as an “insult”.

The company claimed in an email that the review broke its “community guidelines”.

It had previously apologised for a “technical error” that prevented a dual-language review by Cathryn Sherrington of the book Lladd Duw, by Dewi Prysor being posted.

After reading a story on Nation.Cymru about the matter, Dixey, a retired former estate manager of the St Fagans history museum, wrote a review of Academi Pel-Droed: Dim Chwarae, a Welsh language translation of a children’s book by Tom Palmer, in order to see if the issue had actually been resolved.

His review said: “Good book. My son enjoyed reading it, the second in the series. I don’t know if it has been arranged this way, but some linguistic aspects are repeated, which is a big help to a new reader. There’s also a moral aspect that comes in.”

‘Bilingual service’ 

Aled Roberts, The Welsh Language Commissioner said: “We have worked with a number of large corporations to develop their Welsh language services, large businesses including Coop, Lidl and Metro Bank have responded brilliantly to develop a bilingual service. We would like to applaud their approach in working with us.

“It’s important for Welsh speakers to be able to write and review products online in their preferred language.

“We have contacted Amazon in the past to inspire them to include Welsh on their website, but we have received no response to our correspondence to date.

“We urge Amazon to include Welsh reviews on their website, and we will contact them again, to offer our advice on incorporating Welsh to their work.”

Following the rejection, Andrew Dixey told Nation.Cymru: “I see it as an insult to us to be honest. To sell a Welsh language book and then to ignore people to who read them. Well, you have to be able to speak Welsh to read them. It doesn’t make sense does it.

“I’m certainly not [happy with Amazon]. This is the third time I’ve tried. After last week I thought well ‘I’ll try again with another book’.

“I tried with a book that has been translated from English, a book for my son that I’ve read with him.

“I submitted a review that I thought was fair enough. Not that it’s a good book and that’s it, but to say why maybe some people would be interested in using the book to help a child.

“To tell the truth, I didn’t believe them that it was some sort of technical hitch. I never believed that. So I tried again.”

Response from Amazon to Andrew Dixey rejecting Welsh language review

Dixey received a response from Amazon that said: “Thank you for submitting a customer review on Amazon.

“After carefully reviewing your submission, your review could not be posted to the website. While we appreciate your time and comments, reviews must adhere to the following guidelines:

“Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it. Feedback on the seller or your shipment experience should be provided at www.amazon.co.uk/feedback.

“We do not allow profane or obscene content. This applies to adult products too.

“Advertisements, promotional material or repeated posts that make the same point excessively are considered spam.

“Please do not include URLs external to Amazon or personally identifiable content in your review.

“Any attempt to manipulate Community content or features, including contributing false, misleading or inauthentic content, is strictly prohibited.

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