Reply to post: Re: You vill parle Amrecianish Da!

Mind your language: Microsoft set to swing the axe on 27 languages in iOS Outlook

Martin an gof Silver badge

Re: You vill parle Amrecianish Da!

I'd like to see you explain that to the people living in the Gaeltacht

Check my posts - as a speaker of Welsh, known to use it occasionally in day-to-day life (including at work), and living and working among people who live as much of their lives as possible through Welsh, I agree with what you are saying.

There is some kind of logic to dropping minority languages however, particularly if you are not yourself a user of those languages, and posters here (and elsewhere) regularly prove the point - as I see someone has done a little down the thread.

A lack or otherwise of truly "monoglot" speakers (you'd be hard pushed to find monoglot speakers of any language, in many countries other than England) nor indeed of the total number of people who are either capable of using the language or actually do use it regularly should not be a criterion for sidelining any particular language.

I posted because the Urdu thing was actually mentioned in the article. Urdu can hardly be described as a minority language, yet it's still on the drop list. Why?

One possible reason is lack of professional translators. Yes, most fluent speakers of two languages could make a good stab at translation, and indeed many open source projects rely on such people, but "a good stab" isn't good enough for something people are paying for and in some circumstances there are actually rules about this sort of thing.

For example, my wife has been a BSL user since childhood, has worked her entire career with deaf children, holds a "level 3" qualification in the language and has been known to interpret on a non-professional basis. Interpretation, much like translation, when done professionally has to be done correctly, particularly where absolute clarity and accuracy is required. It's one thing for my wife to interpret a church service for any BSL users who turn up, but she would never dream of standing in for a professional interpreter at (say) a court hearing or a medical consultation.

It's a sad fact that languages with small numbers of users have even smaller numbers of people with sufficiently high level knowledge of the language to undertake professional translation work.

Welsh is privileged in that since the mid 20th century there has been a revival in a language that up until then was being actively suppressed. As a result, there are now more speakers than (probably) there have ever been and use in the formerly dwindling heartlands is still relatively strong.

On the whole.

Where half the houses in the village haven't been bought as holiday homes by residents of Birmingham.

So Welsh has a small but steady supply of professional-grade translators, but they are in great demand. There are probably ten times as many Welsh speakers in Wales as Irish Gaelic speakers in Ireland.

Sorry, rambling.

Companies and public bodies should do everything they can to support these languages but particularly with companies there often comes a point where they can't or won't or simply are a bit thick about how bi- or multilingualism works. It's a matter for debate how these companies should be dealt with.

M.

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