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Welsh daily in political row over translation costs

A Welsh daily newspaper sparked a political row after it slammed proposals to spend £400,000 translating all proceedings of the Welsh Assembly into Welsh.

In a strongly-worded page one comment, the Western Mail said the plan could not be justified at a time of austerity.

It created a storm on social media sites and at one point on Twitter the story was trending in fourth place across the UK, as well as generating 460 comments on the paper’s Wales Online website.

The Mail’s stance caused controversy partly because of its historic role as the principality’s national newspaper and also because a significant section of its readership comes from Welsh-speaking West Wales.

Tuesday’s front-page editorial began:  “An extraordinary recommendation has been made by eight AMs that would see up to £400,000-a-year spent on translating the written record of every meeting held at the National Assembly into Welsh.

“We say that at a time when budgets are squeezed and public services are being cut, this is a luxury we cannot afford.”

Following the reaction to the page one comment, the paper issued a further statement in defence of its stance.

And the paper’s chief reporter Martin Shipton also appeared on the BBC Radio Wales phone-in programme to explain its position.

The statement said:  “We fully support the right of AMs and others to address meetings in Welsh or English, according to their choice, and the publication in both languages of the official Record of Proceedings of plenary meetings.

“But we believe the recommendation to translate all Assembly proceedings into Welsh, at such enormous cost, is a step too far in this period of austerity. At a time when front-line public service and benefits to poorer people are being cut, we cannot in all conscience support a huge increase in the National Assembly’s translation budget.”

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  • May 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I read the other day that a leading Italian university is to start giving its lectures in English as it is the international language that its’ students must master if they are to flourish in their careers.
    Compare that with the narrow minded Welsh zealots still trying to ram their native tongue down the throats of Welsh men and women who don’t understand a word of it.
    There are double standards at play here though. I presume the paper is still perfectly happy to waste taxpayers money on bilingual ads from the Assembly and the local authorities?

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