Welsh Language Standards: communication and marketing guidelines
This guidance outlines how all communication and marketing work prepared and delivered by, or on behalf of, the Welsh Government, should treat the Welsh language.
In this page
This guidance is the Welsh Government’s Interpretation of the Welsh Language Standards, and outlines how all Communication and Marketing work prepared and delivered by, or on behalf of, the Welsh Government, should treat the Welsh Language. This guidance is for Communication and Marketing work for external audiences (in Wales).
External agencies working for the Welsh Government on Communication and Marketing work are required to follow these guidelines and deliver to the standards outlined.
Our main principles are:
- All Communication and Marketing work will be produced in both Welsh and English.
- The Welsh Language will not be treated less favourably than the English Language in our Communication and Marketing work, in terms of:
- presentation, e.g. use of font, size, colour and format
- position and prominence
- when and how material is publishe,d made available or exhibited.
- Communication output in Welsh will be of an appropriate quality and standard.
While we hope this guidance will be of assistance to other bodies in Wales with their bilingual marketing, Welsh Government cannot be held responsible for other organisations output.
Social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat)
This applies to all official WG Twitter channels including ministerial, corporate, campaign and departmental.
All accounts will be bilingual or separate Welsh and English. The biog should always contain details of the corresponding account in the other language.
All original information will be available in English and Welsh at the same time.
All WG Twitter handles will be either Welsh or bilingual.
On bilingual accounts, single bilingual tweets are encouraged wherever possible. If sharing a link to a WG webpage, then the url should be in the relevant language.
There is no stipulation as to which language appears first on bilingual feeds. Varying the order is recommended.
There will be no pinned tweets on bilingual Twitter accounts.
The feed should allow contributions in both Welsh and English and all reactive posts will be in the same language as the original post.
Tweets destined for an international audience will be issued in both English and Welsh.
Sharing or retweets will be in the original language. If an English-only re-tweet is considered important or of much interest to followers of the Welsh language feed then the tweet can be summarised in Welsh with a link to the original English tweet.
If separate Welsh and English hashtags are used, then both hashtags must be used on English and Welsh social media channels, to ensure cross-promotion and a unified conversation.
Best practice is to have a single, bilingual feed. But when there are separate language feeds, the Welsh feed should be promoted periodically (we recommend every 2-3 weeks) on the English feed and the relationship between the 2 feeds should be made clear. The biog for English feed should include the address of the Welsh feed and vice versa.
English-language case study videos are not permitted on Welsh language social media channels. (Please see ‘Audiovisual Production’ section for limited exceptions to this rule.)
Live-streaming on social media channels will be in the language spoken.
For guidance on paid-for online advertising on social media channels, go to ‘Advertising’ chapter below.
Video – separate languages
To comply with the Welsh Language Standards, planning ahead is essential.
For case study videos, the first step, always, should be to seek out bilingual participants, so that Welsh and English videos can be produced. Otherwise, 2 separate case studies of equal merit in both languages can be produced.
Do not proceed with any audiovisual project until sufficient bilingual participants have been secured. English language videos cannot be shown on Welsh language social media channels.
These videos will be subtitled in the language spoken.
Ministers, international experts or holders of Senior Public Office individuals with information or testimony of special and unique importance. These individuals may be shown speaking their message in English on Welsh language social media channels but they will be subtitled in Welsh.
Video – bilingual
Bilingual videos should be 50:50 Welsh:English. Careful consideration should be given to the language balance when preparing participants and storyboarding.
Subtitles for bilingual videos will appear in both English and Welsh simultaneously when Welsh is spoken, OR the same video can be posted twice, with Welsh and English subtitles respectively.
On separate English and Welsh social media channels, subtitles will be in the language of the channel.
Including Cymraeg in an English video
It can be advantageous to include some Welsh within an English video; this is a good opportunity to promote the Welsh language. We recommend the following best practice ratio: 75% English: 25% Welsh in these cases. The video will be captioned all in English for social media publication.
Including English in a Welsh video
On occasion, some English language content may be included within a Welsh video if it improves the overall message and completes the narrative, fully reflecting the case study. This video will be captioned all in Welsh for social media publication.
In a campaign, influencers may be used to support communication of WG messaging.
On WG platforms, influencer output will be 50:50. English:Welsh.
Meetings, events and exhibitions
The following applies to meetings arranged by Welsh Government that are open to the public and public events organised, or 50% funded, by the Welsh Government.
A meeting, conference or seminar that is open to the public
The invite will be sent in Welsh and English, with Welsh positioned so it can be read first. If using an online booking system, we recommend using a fully bilingual booking engine, e.g. Tocyn.Cymru.
All material advertising the meeting, including the invitation, will state that anyone attending is welcome to use Welsh at the meeting.
It is best practice for the Chair to be bilingual and able to conduct the meeting in Welsh as well as English.
All speakers will be asked ahead of the event whether they wish to speak in Welsh.
Simultaneous translation will be provided for those attendees who are not bilingual. The Chair will inform attendees orally, in Welsh, that they are welcome to use Welsh and the translation facility will be explained and tested before the meeting starts.
Any signage or display material displayed at the meeting or event will be bilingual with Welsh placed so it can be read first.
Holding slides for speakers will be bilingual, and presentation slides for Welsh Government representatives will be bilingual, with the Welsh positioned so it can be read first.
Live tweeting from any event will be bilingual; see our social media section for further guidance. Staff should be available for moderating in both languages.
When a third party makes items available for any of these events, then responsibility for preparing and delivering the items to the appropriate Welsh language compliance lies with those individuals or organisations.
Agendas, minutes or other papers available to the public from Welsh Government will be available in Welsh and English.
Messages over a public address system will be made in Welsh first, followed by English if necessary.
Any reception arrangements should ensure that bilingual staff are present to greet attendees on arrival. Bilingual staff should wear a badge or lanyard to show they can speak Welsh.
The programme content of any National Service or celebration event organised and funded by Welsh Government will not treat the Welsh language less favourably than English.
Virtual/online meetings. seminars, conferences and events
In addition to the above, the following guidelines should be followed:
- Welsh Government uses Microsoft Teams for most online meetings and events. The Translation Service can advise on providing simultaneous interpretation for your event on Teams. Other platforms are only permitted in exceptional circumstances and if needed, you should discuss these with the meeting organiser.
- It is best practice for the Chair to be bilingual and able to conduct the meeting in Welsh as well as English.
- Presentation and holding slides for Welsh Government representatives will be bilingual, with the Welsh positioned so it can be read first.
- The Chair should encourage attendees to post questions and comments in the language of their choice in online chat. Moderators for these events will need to be bilingual.
Welsh Government presence at an exhibition or show
The following applies to Welsh Government presence at an exhibition or show in Wales:
- Any promotion relating to the Welsh Government’s presence, including an advert in the event programme, will be bilingual.
- All display material and signage will be bilingual.
- Staffing arrangements for an exhibition will ensure continuous bilingual presence, with lanyard or badge to indicate the ability to speak Welsh.
- Any services offered to those visiting the Welsh Government’s exhibition will be available in Welsh and English.
- If a third party is offered space for their material on a Welsh Government exhibition it is that party’s responsibility to provide material in Welsh and English.
- It is best practice to showcase the Welsh Language in international exhibitions and when international delegates visit an event in Wales, as part of our cultural offer.
- In Welsh Language events such as the Urdd and National Eisteddfodau, material may be in Welsh only, .e.g. presence in the event programme, or entertainment provided.
- Guidelines for public competitions or awards nomination procedures will not treat the Welsh Language less favourably.
- Where music is used on stands or at events, e.g. awards ceremonies, it is good practice to play and promote Welsh language music.
Advertising (including campaign ads, recruitment, public notices, paid-for supplements and advertorials)
Print advertisements will always be in Welsh and English with the Welsh positioned so it can be read first.
Welsh-only adverts will be used in Welsh language newspapers magazines and Papurau Bro.
Official notices will be published or displayed bilingually with the Welsh placed so it is likely to be read first.
Out of home adverts
All ambient advertising will be bilingual,(e.g. posters, digital advertising displays, e.g. at supermarket entrances, airports, bus backs and sides, inside trains, advertising on back of bus tickets).
Separate Welsh and English displays should not be used. The Welsh language should be placed so it is likely to be read first.
Urls and/or QR codes should feature in both languages on adverts whenever possible.
TV adverts will always be produced in Welsh and English.
The Welsh language will not be treated less favourably than the English in the production of the adverts.
Adverts will not be dubbed into any language.
Urls and/or Urls and/or QR codes should feature in both languages on adverts whenever possible.
TV adverts: media buying
We will buy maximum TVRs for the demographic and subject area within the budget available. On S4C, we will not subtitle our Welsh language adverts.
Welsh adverts will be shown on other channels within Wales, with English subtitles, to an approximate ratio of 70:30 English:Welsh.
TV and radio adverts are always an element of a wider campaign. Should it be difficult to purchase the appropriate Welsh language TV and radio airtime, then other means of extending Welsh language coverage and output should be considered.
Radio ads will always be produced in Welsh and English.
The Welsh language will not be treated less favourably than the English in the production of the adverts.
Radio ads: media buying
A minimum playout of 80:20 English:Welsh per individual station. This will increase to 65:35 when:
- The broadcasting is in an area with a hgh propensity of Welsh-speakers.
- The subject of the advert is targeted at under-25 demographic
- The station broadcasts Welsh Language programming.
Cinema slots will be bought on a 50:50 ratio.
Welsh Language cinema ads will be subtitled in English.
We recommend bilingual advertising, i.e. single ads containing both languages. Where this is not possible, adverts can be displayed in single language format in carousel fashion.
On Facebook and Instagram Welsh-speakers can be targeted with paid-for advertising in the language of their choice. However, this is not representative of the total Welsh-speaking audience of Facebook/Instagram.
Bilingual paid-for advertising is being accepted on Twitter and Tiktok currently.
We recommend single bilingual adverts that can be seen by all. Where this is not possible due to text limitations, the default position for these adverts will be a 50:50 ratio.
Adverts will be in Welsh and in English; the platform restricts Welsh language adverts to a 1:10 ratio.
Presentation and communication
The corporate identity (new or revised) will not treat Welsh less favourably than English. This includes visual statements, name or names used, Branding and slogans.
All stationery and electronic addresses will use the corporate identity correctly to ensure the Welsh language is not treated less favourably than the English.
The Welsh language will be given consideration at the outset when creating any identities for Welsh Government campaigns or programmes e.g. names and straplines. These can be in Welsh only or bilingual.
Slogans must work equally well in both languages (this is also the case for a mnemonic). Full consideration must always be given to the Welsh and English idiom.
The above points also apply to work delivered on behalf of Welsh Government by or through third parties.
This relates to all exterior and interior signage, including plaques and hoardings that promote a Welsh Government programme or funding.
Signs (new, replaced or temporary) will display any text in Welsh and English. The Welsh text will be accurate in terms of meaning and expression.
It is preferable for corresponding Welsh and English text to appear on the same sign. Where Welsh and English appears on separate signs, the signs must be given equal visibility and prominence. Welsh will always be placed so that it is likely to be read first.
Backdrops and displays
On any backdrop, banner or display from the Welsh Government, Welsh and English will appear together on the same items, with the Welsh placed so it is likely to be read first. Care should be taken not to obscure any of the text as a result of the room or exhibition set up.
When correspondence is sent to several people, e.g. letter, circular or email
The Welsh version will be sent at the same time as the English and be presented in the same way. For example, if the English version is signed or includes contact details, the Welsh version must as well.
Any communication that invites further correspondence or response will state that replies in Welsh are welcomed and that a Welsh response will be given without any delay.
Email text will be bilingual with the Welsh appearing first; best practice is side-by-side text with Welsh on the left and English on the right.
Email subject titles will be bilingual, with Welsh first, and short enough for both languages to be seen simultaneously at a glance.
In html emails the Welsh will be positioned so it is likely to be read first.
Any attachments will have a title in the relevant language, and bilingual attachments will have bilingual titles
Any messages sent on SMS will be in Welsh and in English with the Welsh message appearing first.
Any automated telephone voice messages will be in Welsh as well ad English with the Welsh message heard first.
The most suitable format should be used for printed correspondence, e.g. a door-drop booklet should be in tilt and turn format, whereas a letter should be back to back English and Welsh.
If an address is used, it is recommended that the address appears on the envelope, rather than use a window envelope. The enclosed letter need not carry the address and be to ‘At ddeiliaid y cartref’ and ‘To the Household’.
Welsh language or bilingual addresses should be used. English-only addresses are not acceptable, unless those addresses are in England.
The Welsh letter will be facing outwards in any postal communications.
If no address is used, (door-drop), the envelope will be addressed bilingually to ‘At ddeiliaid y cartref / To the household’. If a window envelope is used then ‘At ddeiliaid y cartref / To the household’ will appear in both languages on both English and Welsh letters.
When a specific group has been consulted on their language choice for communication, the correspondence will be sent in that language.
On letter signatures, all Welsh Government job titles will be bilingual on letters in both English and Welsh, with the Welsh appearing first.
Communicating with the media
This applies to the way Welsh Government Press Office communicates with the media.
Press notices will always be issued in Welsh and English at the same time. If sent by email, the Welsh should be positioned so it is read first.
Press notices will be uploaded onto the Welsh Government website at the same time in both languages.
An English only press notice may be issued (with the Welsh following as soon as possible afterwards) if it is deemed that there is an immediate and significant risk to public health or citizen’s welfare, or a potential financial impact, e.g. on share prices. Ministerial clearance should be sought for issuing a communication in one language only, but in exceptional circumstances where this is not possible, the Head of News can authorise, whilst ensuring the equivalent bilingual material is issued as soon as practically possible afterwards.
All reactive lines are responded to in the language of the query. If the query is in English then a line will be prepared in Welsh on request or if there is likely to be interest from Welsh language media outlets.
Anyone contacting the Press Office wishing to correspond in Welsh will be responded to in Welsh. Where necessary they will be transferred to a Welsh-speaking colleague, and Out of Hours every effort will be made to transfer the call to a Welsh-speaking Press Officer should the Duty Officer not be a Welsh-speaker.
In live broadcasts of Welsh Government Press Conferences, journalists will ask questions in Welsh or in English. When answers are given in Welsh they will be always be given in English as well. Information slides will be presented bilingually during these Press Conferences and posted online bilingually simultaneously.
Where BSL interpretation is used, it will be available for both Welsh and English.
The message and the contact details on the Out of Hours answerphone will be in Welsh and English.
Any general correspondence with the media, e.g. Operational Notes and Diary Markers, will be bilingual.
When a Minister does not speak Welsh, media interviews will not be routinely available in Welsh, unless specifically requested and a suitable alternative interviewee is agreed by the relevant Minister.
Newspaper columns and features
Copy supplied through Press Office to newspapers written by Ministers or senior Welsh Government staff at no cost to promote the government’s policies will be supplied in the language of the publication.
Any ‘paid for’ supplement or advertorial will follow the guidance on newspaper advertising.
Helplines or call centre communications
Helplines/Call Centres will provide a Welsh language service which is no less favourable then the English language service.
The number for the Welsh language service will be the same as for the corresponding English language service.
When publicised, the telephone number will state (in Welsh) that calls in Welsh are welcome.
Any performance indicators for dealing with telephone calls must not treat calls made in Welsh less favourably than calls made in English.
Research commissioned and focus groups arranged on an all-Wales basis to assist and inform communication and marketing work should operate a minimum ratio of 8:2 English:Welsh, with 2 groups conducted in Welsh.
The research topic or the demographic of the target group might prompt and increase in the number of Welsh research groups.
Grants, sponsorship and contracts
All those contracted to deliver a service on behalf of Welsh Government will be subject to the Welsh Language Standards.
It is always advisable for those organisations who receive Welsh Government grants or sponsorship to seek advice on delivering communication work bilingually in line with the Standards.
In a state of emergency
During the first 24 hours of an unforeseen public health or safety emergency, all endeavours will be made to ensure materials are available in Welsh as well as English, although during this time speed and accuracy of communication for the safety and wellbeing of the public will be deemed as being of paramount importance.