The Welsh tag features blog posts about the Welsh language, its people, culture and history; some posts will mention news about the Welsh language.

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The Migratory Language Welsh

Flag of Wales; migratory languages welsh

Flag of Wales

Migratory Language Welsh lands in Argentina

Over 150 years ago,  some 150 Welsh migrants took to the seas seeking a new way of life in the new world.

They gave themselves three places to choose from as their new home: Vancouver Island, Palestine or Argentina. Ultimately they chose Argentina to settle and establish a new colony as their home — a valley named Chubut in the region of Patagonia. The reason for their decision to settle in that part of South America was one of isolation. At the time, there were no other European settlements in the region, only indigenous tribes.

There was a lot of political radicalism in Wales during the 19th century and a growing sense of Welsh national consciousness engulfed many rural communities. They wanted to retain their national identity without the possibility of a passive English language invasion.

Politics and Religion

One man named Michael D. Jones, a radical, a religious man and nonconformist, was tired of the political and religious influences the English had over the Welsh population. Jones was a believer in the preservation of the Welsh language and traditions. It was he who became the leader of this like-minded community of travellers and partly his decision to travel to Argentina.

Jones had a single objective: to build a new Welsh colony overseas. One that is self-governing, democratic and nonconformist.

New Hope: Argentina

As all new beginnings bring hardships and struggle, the new Welsh colony had to overcome many difficult obstacles. When they arrived in 1865, they lived in caves along the coastline. But as the years went by, they experienced a golden age, a period of good fortune and prosperity: a time of economic and cultural growth swept through the settlement. They spoke only Welsh and preserved many national traditional such as the Eisteddfod (a traditional ceremony called “the chairing of the bard”).

Changing Times

Decades later, the Argentine government stepped in and enforced all community settlements in Argentina to learn and speak only Spanish. This meant that Spanish could only be taught at schools.  There wasn’t much the Welsh community could do but slowly adapt as the Spanish language took hold and Welsh eventually lost the battle. However, some families kept the language in the house. Old world Welsh traditions didn’t die out either and are still practiced to this day.

Centenary Celebrations & Revival

One hundred years on, 1965, there was a growth in interest in all things Welsh. Welsh culture and language began to reassert itself into the settlement. The small village in Chubut was finally connecting to Wales and there was a sense of appreciation among the villagers of the pioneering role the first settlers played.

Michael D. Jones migrated from Wales to save Welsh national identity and establish it elsewhere. But what he failed to realise was, that with immigration comes assimilation: the new country creates its own, new identity. However, the Welsh-Argentine community of Chubut will always remain proud of its roots.

The STAR Team

Source: BBC Magazine

Lost in translation: Welsh sign translation error

Welsh sign translation error, Swansea council

In November, Swansea council made the ultimate translation faux pas with a Welsh sign.

The original sign read, “No Entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only“. The sign was to be erected close to a supermarket near a residential area.

The text was sent for translation but unfortunately, the translator was not in the office. Instead his email sent an automated response.

The automated email stated:

Nid wyf un y swyddfa ar hyn o bryd. Anfonwch unrhyw wiath i’w gyfieithu.“, which in English translates to “I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated.

As the original message contained two sentences, the receiver assumed this was the correct translation. Thus forwarding the translation to the sign makers to be printed. The sign was printed and duly erected.

Swansea council stated that the sign would be corrected as soon as possible – a new sign now stands in its place.

The moral of the story is always proofread before you print.

“People rely on email all too often for basic communication on projects. When a translation is only two lines, people tend to treat it with indifference”, Damian Scattergood commented. “We have found that some people translate two lines like the safety warning stickers you see on kitchen appliances, signs and posters. The use of free translation tools and expecting the results to be perfect do not mix.”

“For us, every translation whether it’s two or two million words should to be handled with the same due care and attention. A simple phone call in this case would have saved money and embarrassment for all”, added Damian.

Damian Scattergood is the Managing Director or STAR Translation.

The STAR Team