A Django site.
January 29, 2008
» No politics here - just milk labels

Once again I find myself musing about bilingual packaging. This time Daioni milk has caught my attention. Is there something about dairy products or the dairy industry that particularly lends itself to being branded as “Welsh” or do I just spend more time staring at dairy packaging than other packaging? With the Exception of Halon Môn, all my examples of bilingual packaging are dairy products.

Anyway the Daioni label actually contains almost no Welsh, in fact I guess we could debate whether or not it should even be considered bilingual. But what did strike me was their website – fully bilingual. After several examples of the use of Welsh in branding NOT being extended to the website, it was refreshing to find an example where the opposite is true.

The website is actually quite nice too – I am a sucker for pictures of cute animals and that whole “these are the people (and cows) who make your milk” personal touch thing. Of course it isn’t perfect, would you like “Saesneg” or “Welsh”? And I’d suggest that the cross language links would be better leading you to the same page in the chose language rather than the homepage. But , come on – cute animals, who can resist?

As an aside, I see that the feed to BlogCymru is once again working, which means that my ruminations on milk labels and cute animals will shortly be appearing amidst some very earnest discussion about Welsh politics. No politics here – just milk labels.

January 17, 2008
» Rhif deg

In these times of the phony non-election campaign it is good to learn that the Downing Street website is now available in Welsh. This reveals to us all manner of interesting information, for example a page in Welsh about Tony Blair appears in the breadcrumb navigation as “You are here: home > Welsh homepage > Welsh PMs in history > Welsh Tony Blair”. Who would have thought that so many previous Prime Ministers were Welsh.

Of course, once they remove the news story from the Number 10 homepage the Welsh homepage will be rather harder to find. A search on “Cymraeg” doesn’t actually return the Welsh homepage, but it does return this page Welsh guide to Government which might come as a bit of a disappointment to anyone who thought they might actually get some information about Government in Welsh. The Welsh homepage is, somewhat un-obviously linked via the “other languages” button which is in the “Newsroom” section, listed after latest news, media centre, email updates, photo galleries and webchats. Just as well that they are “keen to make it more accessible to people in the UK and around the world”, just imagine if they were reluctant.

Yes of course I’m being grumpy and critical and I should be celebrating the fact that they have at least started and that they have started with Welsh. It’s a Monday, I haven’t had a cup of coffee yet and I have a cold. It’s my blog and I’ll be unsatisfied if I so choose! Anyway it’s Mike’s fault he sent me the link to the story.

November 9, 2007
» Bilingual website wins award

Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price has won the British Computer Society’s best MP website award, as reported in a piece on the BBCs website. It is not entirely clear what the criteria used were, though they are reported as “design, engagement, accessibility” with the best overall considered to be an outstanding example of the very best incorporation of all three qualities.

What encourages me about this is that Adam’s website is bilingual, showing that it is entirely possible to have an excellent site and make a bilingual provision – the two are not mutually exclusive as many people who resist making a bilingual provision might like us to believe.

However it is interesting to note that his blog, whilst featuring entries in both Welsh and English is not bilingual (not every story is available in both languages). This pattern of presenting relatively static content bilingually and more volatile content monolingually (usually in English) has certainly been a characteristic of Welsh political party websites, though Plaid has adopted a fully bilingual approach since the launch of their redesigned and rebranded website. Similar attitudes towards volatile content can also be seen on some commercial sites, Outlook Expeditions for example state “Due to the dynamic nature of this website we apologise we are unable to produce a Welsh translation. ” They do however offer to send a copy of their bilingual brochure (again static content). Once again we see the Welsh language being minorised not only in terms of content availability, but also in terms of a language of consumption (after translation) rather than original creation.

Thanks to Beverley for pointing this story out to me.