Welsh Government tells translators to remove ‘derogatory’ ‘the’ from Ukraine
The Welsh Government has updated its guidance to translators to tell them to remove the “derogatory” ‘the’ from Ukraine.
The page of its searchable database of terms used by Welsh Government translators in their everyday work has been updated today to tell staff and freelancers working for the government to make the change.
That means removing the definite article ‘the’ in English and the fannod ‘yr’ in Welsh, it says.
“Note that the Welsh Government Translation Service advises against using the definite article in front of the name for Ukraine, in English and in Welsh,” the website now says.
“Ukrainians generally consider doing so to be derogatory, in any language.”
In Welsh the advice notes that using ‘yr’ could “undermine their right to be a sovereign nation”.
The use of the definite article is thought to have arisen because ‘ukraina’ originally meant ‘borderland’ and so would be translated as ‘the borderlands’. Following independence in 1991 however, the Ukrainian government explicitly requested that they would be referred to as Ukraine without the ‘the’.
There has also been a campaign to use Kyiv rather than Kiev (the capital’s Russian name) in English and Welsh, with has gained further traction as a result of the Russian invasion on Thursday.
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