Knowledge sharing – Welsh language

22 January 2021

A huge thank you to everyone who joined this weeks knowledge sharing webinar. It was great to see so many people involved and keen to sharing thinking and ideas. Over 50 people from across Wales came together to look at how design and delivery of public services in Wales can help promote the Welsh language and meet user needs.

Session overview

At the session we heard from Alun Shurmer from Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, Jeremy Evas from Welsh Government and Heledd Evans from Natural Resources Wales. From customer service to behaviour change and building confidence, some the key points from the three speakers were:

Research and experience to date suggests four key blockers to increased use of Welsh in public services: people, tools, guidance and budget. Do we have the right people, with the right skills in the right place? The need is there, the question is what stops it from happening?

We need to think about designing services with the Welsh language in mind from the outset. That includes thinking about how, when and why people want to access services in Welsh and how services can be designed to allow them to do that. This also includes testing with Welsh speakers as services are designed and iterated. As an example, this blog post on prototyping touches on testing prototypes with Welsh speakers as part of our work.

The principles of behaviour change (making things Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely) should apply equally to our thinking about how we design services and promote the use of the Welsh Language. You can find out more about EAST in this guidance from the Government Communications Service

A common theme throughout the session was confidence. Confidence for Welsh speakers to engage with public services in Welsh and confidence for those who build public services to think differently about how they provide those services. How do we build that confidence and ‘normalise’ use of the Welsh language?

The discussion that followed covered a number of areas including language preferences, making Welsh language a default option, skills and capability and the sharing of challenges and good practice.

A first for us

In a first for us at the Centre we ran the webinar using a simultaneous translator. To be honest we weren’t sure how it was going to work, but the technology was actually pretty straightforward to set up (once we worked out what we needed!) and easy for people to use. As a result, everyone attending, including the speakers, could choose to engage in either Welsh or English. As part of our learning, we’ve found that Zoom only records the original language, not the translation so whilst we are sharing the recording of the session, please be aware that the majority of the session was conducted in Welsh, so the recording may be limited for non-Welsh speakers.

You can access the recording here:

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