Speech by Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and Welsh Language on Thursday 10 August 2023, at the Llŷn and Eifionydd National Eisteddfod.
A year ago, at the National Eisteddfod in Ceredigion, I spoke at a session similar to this with CDPS. I stressed how important it is to put Welsh speakers at the centre of services. I also said that we need to ensure that content in Welsh is easy for Welsh speakers to understand and use.
Cymraeg is for using, and not just for service provision was my message back then. And I talked about how language is a people thing, and more than just process.
And I still believe that.
And I’m so proud that CDPS puts the consumer at the heart of everything they do. It’s been a pleasure to work with you over the past year towards what we are launching this year a hefty, important, useful book.
Last year, we heard from Welsh speakers about their experiences using Welsh language services. Their message was that they sometimes struggle to understand the services, so they used them less often than they could. This is, of course, a shame, as we want to increase the use of Cymraeg.
Last year, we learned from the joint session with the CDPS that we need to do more than just translate to make Welsh language content more accessible. That’s why today is an exciting opportunity for us to hear about the work CDPS has led on since then, based on the voices of those we’ve chatted to. And that’s all about ‘trio writing’.
Now this is a method of writing that involves three or more people in the content creation process. The aim is to create clear, easy-to-understand content for people, however much Cymraeg they have. The great thing about it is that it can improve both languages at the same time!
Many people have told me during my time as a Minister that they don’t think their Welsh is ‘good enough’ to be used in formal or official situations. I know this is something a lot of people feel deeply. Cymraeg is a valuable part of our culture, and we want to make it accessible to everyone, whatever their level of Welsh or however they feel about their language skills.
A year ago, I asked whether we were brave enough to change things. Today I see that we are. And that’s a good thing. We’re brave enough to put Cymraeg at the centre of our planning. We’re brave enough to do more than just translate. We’re brave enough to use trio writing and make content in Cymraeg more accessible to us all. We’ve been brave enough to listen to service users.
I know this may not be an easy task, but I also know it’s one that must be done. Welsh is a valuable part of our culture, and by making content in Cymraeg more accessible, we’re not just helping Welsh speakers, we’re also helping to secure the future of our language.
So let’s be brave. Let’s change things. Let’s make content in Cymraeg more accessible to all of us. Together, we can make Welsh a living, thriving language for generations to come.