I used to work for an American boss, here in Cardiff, and we often discussed the importance of the Welsh language in our marketing. In his Louisiana drawl he’d ask: “Hey, Alan, how important is this Welsh stuff to us?” or “Will doing it in Welsh make a difference?”
My answer was always pretty much the same: “it’s totally irrelevant, but absolutely essential” and I stick to my guns on that.
It’s irrelevant because all the audience who can understand the message in Welsh will also be able to understand the message in English
It was essential however, because we needed to engage with everyone, no excuses, in their preferred language. It had nothing to do with politics; it was a matter of respecting what people wanted and believed in.
As a result of that advice we undertook our consumer marketing campaigns bilingually and as then raised our response rates by 50%. Read that again: FIRTY PERCENT.
I would not be telling the whole truth if I did not say that almost all of the results came back in English, but the benefit to us as a company was clear.
Why then is it so difficult for the National Assembly to understand that bilingual accounts of proceedings are also totally irrelevant, but absolutely essential?
The people of Wales, and those who love the uniqueness of their language, need to be respected.