Wales is famous for many things – like rugged coastlines, stunning beaches, Snowdonia, having a dragon on the national flag, and that village with the ridiculously long name.
But above all else, Wales is perhaps best known for its population of passionately defiant Welsh speakers. This begs the question, should UK companies – and Welsh businesses in particular – include a Welsh translation option on their websites? Spoiler alert: the answer is yes. And not just because we get to make a cheesy joke about how ‘www’ really stands for the ‘Welsh Wide Web’!
The Language of Cymru
The language of Wales (or Cymru, in Welsh) has evolved over 4000 years. It is Britain’s oldest language and one of the oldest in all of Europe:
- While the vast majority of residents speak English, Welsh is the preferred mother tongue of many traditional families.
- Over half a million people (an estimated 538,000) in Wales speak Welsh. That’s one in every five residents. (Office of National Statistics).
- Welsh is the only Celtic language not considered endangered by UNESCO (Architekst).
Fun facts About the Welsh Language
While the vast majority of residents speak English, Welsh is the preferred mother tongue of many traditional families.
The Benefits of Making Your Business Info Available in Welsh
For starters, those half a million people represent a whole heap of spending power. And while you might assume that people who need it will just use a translation app, consumer research shows that that’s not the case:
- 65% of people prefer to read in their native language, even if it’s poor quality (CSA Research).
- 40% will not buy in other languages (CSA Research).
- In a choice between similar products, 75% of consumers will select options where information is available in their language (ITI Translates).
- 56% of online shoppers say having information in their language is more important than price (ITI Translates).
- 73% want product reviews in their native language (CSA Research).
- Businesses that translate their landing pages and ads can expect to gain up to a 20% increase in conversions (Toppan Digital).
But revenue isn’t the only consideration. All businesses have an ethical responsibility to ensure equal access to information and services for all individuals, regardless of their preferred language. Plus, there are several other reasons why having your website available in Welsh would be advantageous:
- Get more website traffic – The more people you can attract and keep browsing your website, the better your site will do in search engine rankings.
- Gain a competitive advantage – Offering a Welsh language option sets your business apart from competitors by showcasing your dedication to inclusivity and accessibility.
- Build brand awareness and loyalty – Modern-day consumers actively favour value-driven brands, so being inclusive of varied linguistic needs can improve your brand reputation.
- Avoid negative PR – If your company gets called out for not being inclusive, the PR repercussions can be severe.
- Legal protection – While rare, Welsh residents have been known to file lawsuits when information is unavailable in their preferred language.
The Business Case for Making Your Website Multilingual
For many businesses – and smaller enterprises, in particular – duplicating web pages into multiple languages can be challenging from a budget perspective. After all, the more languages you add, the more expensive it becomes. And where do you draw the line? If you add Welsh, then surely you must also add other minority languages like Gaelic?
We understand that it can feel overwhelming, which is why many companies simply ignore the problem – or, more likely, push it down to somewhere near the bottom of their priorities list for reconsideration at a later date. That can be an easy decision to justify, as the grand total of Welsh speakers isn’t huge when you compare it to English, or even other commonly-spoken languages in the UK, like French, German, and Spanish.
However, all of those small numbers add up. In fact, it’s estimated that 4.2 million people speak a language other than English at home. So the ideal scenario would be to add functionality for several languages in one bulk action. That’s where assistive software comes in.
How Recite Me Can Help
One of the best ways to make your website available in multiple languages is to use assistive technology like the Recite Me Toolbar, which offers:
- Text translations in over 100 languages
- Text-to-speech in 65 languages
- A built-in dictionary and thesaurus to check definitions
Of course, one of the most significant benefits of our toolbar is that you don’t just get linguistic assistance. Users also get access to an entire suite of other tools that help website visitors with various disabilities, including physical, visual, auditory, cognitive, and neurological conditions. In addition to the linguistic features above, the Recite Me Toolbar also offers:
- Font personalisation for size, typeface, and colour
- A mask screen tool to help with focus
- A ruler to make reading easier.
- Audio file content downloads as an alternative to real-time reading
- Customised and accessible PDF downloads
- The ability to strip away image carousels and graphics
How Does the Translation Feature Work?
The toolbar utilises Google Translate machine translation, using state-of-the-art computer software to translate text from one language to another without the need for human involvement.
Concerned about accuracy? Don’t be. If your original web copy is high-quality, you shouldn’t encounter any issues. However, you do need to be up-to-date with best practices if you’re to actively improve the accuracy of your translated web content.
“It’s probably an obvious thing to say that the quality of the translation depends on the quality of the source text, but many people just don’t know how to write better translatable or ‘machine-friendly’ content.”
Bernie Petegou, Senior Sales Executive at Recite Me
Want to know more about machine translation, accuracy, and how to write the best quality machine-friendly content? You can learn more here.
We’re proud to work with several Welsh organisations across various sectors and industries – both public and private. Our current client list includes:
Adult Learning Wales is the national adult community learning organisation for Wales. They provide access to education from Pre-entry Level learning to Level four qualifications.
“A large percentage of our learners are learning English as a second language (ESOL). Having the translation feature has proven essential in allowing them to access and read guidance information in a format they understand. This also means we can work more sustainably and avoid the need to print guidance documents in multiple languages.”
Martyn Reed, Adult Learning Wales
North Wales Fire & Rescue was one of the first to install the Recite Me Toolbar, and the team has been delighted with the result.
“Providing Recite Me across our website, with its assistive toolbar, means not only can we offer language choice in English and Welsh to residents, but we can also support members of the public in any language- whilst also being accessible to people with disabilities, learning difficulties and visual impairments.”
Tracey Williams, Corporate Communications Manager, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service
Make Your Website Available in Welsh
Ready to become more inclusive and reap the rewards of reaching a much broader market? The Recite Me team is here to guide you on your mission and provide all the support you need.