A number of charities have faced financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic; and to respond to the crisis the Welsh Language Commissioner provided temporary free translation service for the third sector.
The Welsh Language Commissioner has a team who provides specialist support to charities on using Welsh in their day to day work, called the Hybu Team. When the officers spoke with charities, they realised that a number of their staff were furloughed, and fundraising events were postponed or cancelled.
Because of the barriers facing the third sector, the Commissioner provided a temporary translation service, translating up to a thousand words free for charities.
The Welsh Language Commissioner has already got a proofreading service. The service asks organisations to try writing their text in Welsh – with the Commissioner’s Hybu Team then offering helpful corrections and advice. The proofreading service is also free, and has proved hugely popular in recent years.
One charity that has taken advantage of the Welsh Language Commissioner's temporary translation service is RNLI. Chris Cousens, RNLI Water Safety Lead for Wales, is grateful for the support he received during the pandemic:
“The translation service has been a great help to the RNLI during a challenging time for the charity.”
“Due to the fast-paced and ever changing landscape of the last few months, we have often needed Welsh language support at much shorter notice than usual. Each time, the Welsh Language Commissioner have always returned our translation request quickly and reliably, allowing us to progress our lifesaving work and provide the best service possible for our teams in Wales and the wider public.
“The latest set of translation was for our Summer Beach Safety Campaign, which will inform families visiting the Welsh Beaches about how to stay safe and enjoy the coast responsibly.
“We would be keen to seek support from the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Office moving forward about developing our Welsh language offer.”
Awel Trefor from the Welsh Language Commissioner is pleased that they have been able to offer practical help during the pandemic. She said:
"We had a fantastic response to our offer with a number of charities very grateful for the service. We translated 37 pieces of work for 29 organisations. We are delighted that we have been able to help RNLI install bilingual safety messaging on the beaches in Wales. The charity needed to respond quickly, due to the changes in travel restrictions between England and Wales.
Awel is very grateful to Welsh translators for their help:
“We acknowledge that we are not translators, and we decided to send some complicated pieces to translation companies. We thank them for their help, especially considering it is a difficult time for them too."
The temporarily translation service has now finished, but the Commissioner continues to offer a free proofreading service to organisations. If you work for a charity, or for medium to large sized business and need help or advice on how to develop your Welsh language provision, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org