Poor translations of Welsh road signs are nothing new, unfortunately, but this latest report is a real winner. According to the Penarth Times, a road sign in Penarth literally tells Welsh speakers to stand in the middle of the road!
The English version of the sign says “When red light shows wait here,” but the Welsh translation, “Tra bydd golau coch sefwch yma,” translates to “When red light shows, stand here,” as if urging pedestrians to stand in the road where the sign was set up.
The sign was spotted by Welsh law student Eleri Griffiths, who informed the local newspaper via Twitter. Ms. Griffiths, who handles Welsh translation for the Law Society at Aberystwyth University, expressed her dissatisfaction with the translation (along with the state of Welsh translation in general):
“The amount of signs that come out with the wrong translation is ridiculous. I don’t understand why it was allowed to be completely wrong. It’s not right. Welsh is an equal language to English and if English signs were wrong people would complain about them… There aren’t many Welsh speakers so there are people translating English to Welsh just by going on Google Translate. It’s quite frustrating.”
It is quite frustrating…and an excellent reminder that when it comes to translation, it’s the little things that count. Since bilingual road signs began going up in 1965, there have been enough Welsh translation gaffes and errors to fill a book, quite literally. Titled Sgymraeg, it was published in 2011 is available here if you’re in need of a laugh.
If you’d like your business to avoid translation errors like this, give us a call!