A town council will become the first in its county to have Welsh language translations on its website, councillors have been told.
Monmouth Town Council has decided to include pages in Welsh on its official site, and it was said at a meeting of councillors that this will make it the only Monmouthshire community council to do so.
However, Mayor Mat Feakins suggested delaying the work for three months because of what he called “capacity issues” in the office associated with the appointment of a new town clerk.
The website is being updates in order to comply with accessibility laws and it is expected that the Welsh pages will be added after the new version goes online.
At the meeting the councillors agreed “to progress with the partial inclusion of Welsh for the static pages on the website and to ensure the use of good quality Welsh translation, with the uploaded documents to remain in English, and to seek quotes for translation”.
They said that the intention is to carry a Welsh alternative for the home pages on the website that rarely change. But agendas, news updates that are uploaded regularly by the clerk’s office, will continue to be English only.
A question was asked at the meeting about whether the council should have Welsh on its website at all. Cllr Emma Bryn, who is a Welsh speaker, responded with incredulity.
She said: “I am surprised it is even a question.”
But Cllr Terry Christopher said: “Surely if people want information from the town council in Welsh they could request it.”
When Cllr Anthea Dewhurst suggested people could use the Google Translate facility, Cllr Bryn said: “I would rather see parts in correct Welsh and then go into English than it being Google-translated incorrectly. I wouldn’t be upset. It would be a brilliant start.”
Cllr Claudia Blair said: “We should make Welsh a priority. We are not a high level of speakers but we are never going to be if we just say, Oh well. We should make it a priority to improve our Welsh language on the site.”
Cllr Jamie Treharne agreed: “First and foremost we are in Wales, we are a Welsh town, we are a Welsh council. I think Welsh language should be used.
‘‘If it’s just the stationary bits on the website which leads to English language agendas and whatever, that for me is a step forward and it a positive step forward.
‘‘I think that we should at least provide Welsh language on our website to promote the fact that we are, and proud to be Welsh, even though I don’t speak it myself.”