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UK’s Ukraine language support task force

Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru has written to those organisations who established the UK’s Ukraine language support task force in response to the war in Ukraine to express its support for this initiative.

The 6 members of the task force are the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL), the National Register for Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI), the Association of Translation Companies (ATC), the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC UK & Ireland), and Charity Translators.

The practical support offered by the task force includes making Ukrainian-English templates for the most commonly needed documents for visa applications freely available, and assisting the UK’s Ukrainian communities by opening of channels of communication.

Charity Translators, a volunteer organisation working with the charity sector, has drawn up a list of available initiatives and resources to support those affected by the war in Ukraine. A volunteer with Charity Translators is Cari Bottois, a PhD researcher in the School of Modern Languages at Cardiff University.

Further information can be found on the websites of the partner organisations, and we refer you to the Ukrainian crisis page on the ITI website.


Elan benefits from scholarship

Elan Grug Carter from Minera near Wrexham has been awarded the scholarship offered by Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru to one of the students on the Professional Translation Studies scheme at Aberystwyth University.

Elan is studying full time for an MA which she is evidently enjoying,

‘I’m really enjoying the translation course in Aber,’ she said. ‘I feel that I’ve learnt loads already and am looking forward to the rest of the course.'

A former pupil of Ysgol Morgan Llwyd Wrexham, Elan gained a BA degree in Welsh at Cardiff University earlier this year. She also undertakes translation work on a casual basis for HMCTS.

Elan’s desire to become a translator started in her teens when she was a waitress in a restaurant near Wrexham when she realised that a lot of Welsh speakers visited the restaurant. As a result, she decided to translate all the menus into Welsh in order to promote the use of the language and increase the confidence of the customers to speak Welsh. This gave her enormous pleasure and seeing the change in the approach of the customers gave her a great sense of pride.

This is the second year that the Association has offered a scholarship to assist a student at the start of their journey to becoming a professional translator. The scholarship is funded by the Association’s ‘Sbarduno’ Fund.


Annual Report 2020-21

The Annual Report 2020-21 shows that Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru succeeded in continuing to respond to the needs of its members and undertook the daily task of administering, organising and managing the work of the Association despite the restrictions but at a lower level.

From the outset, emphasis was given to keeping in touch with members and providing them with as much relevant information as possible and on responding positively to the circumstances in which we lived. The challenges of remote interpreting was one of these. Despite it being a year of cancellations and postponements, of not holding events and of not being able to welcome new members, it was possible to arrange some activities. The short translation e-workshop proved popular.

Most reassuring was that Covid-19 appeared to have had no impact on members' loyalty to the Association and the number of members remained high.

Covid-19 had a varied impact of on the work of translators and interpreters, some lost work, but many were busy. Things changed dramatically for interpreters and their professionalism in adapting to new ways of working deserves high praise.

In acknowledging his appreciation of the members’ contribution throughout these uncertain times in his Chair’s message, Huw Tegid Roberts said that this demonstrated our members’ ability to respond to changing situations and to adapt their ways of working. He also emphasised how the important role of translators and interpreters in seeking to convey information both accurately and accessibly became increasingly apparent.

Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru was part-funded by the Welsh Government in 2020-21, and we would like to place on record our thanks for this support.

Nia Ar Englynion

Nia celebrates 20 years!

In July 2020 Nia Wyn Jones, Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru’s Systems Manager, celebrated a very significant milestone, that of twenty years of working for the Association. When Nia started in her post she was the only full-time member of staff, Megan Hughes Tomos was a part time Director at the time. As the Association grew, so she came to enjoy the company of others of us in the office!

As those who are familiar with the Association know only too well, Nia has played a crucial role in its development during this time. Not the least of her many duties is the administration of the examinations and interpreting tests, ensuring they happen smoothly and efficiently. And they do!

To mark the occasion Ifan Prys wrote a delightful chain of ‘englynion’ (a traditional Welsh short poem form written in ‘cynghanedd’, the strict metres). In his ‘englynion’, which we have not translated but can be seen on the Welsh side of this website, Ifan has skilfully woven together the buildings which have been home to the Association since 2000, namely Aethwy at Bangor University; Bryn Menai, our office in Upper Bangor from 2001 until September 2019; and the present office in Intec, Parc Menai on the outskirts of Bangor.

We are grateful to Tonnau, Pwllheli, for the calligraphy and the framing of the ‘englynion’.


Interpreting in Microsoft Teams

Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru has written to Microsoft Teams (3 December 2020) urging them to move swiftly to a successful solution to the matter of providing interpreting as an integral component of Microsoft Teams.

Our letter emphasised that because it is not possible to provide interpreting in Teams Welsh speakers are being prevented from using their mother tongue in meetings. For interpreters, it has meant a serious loss of income in a year when the impact of Covid-19 on them financially has been brutal.


Mari Lisa

It is with great sadness that we heard of Mari Lisa’s sudden death.

Mari was one of the Directors of Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru, an examination marker and a tutor, and one who contributed generously to the activities of the Association. As well as being a highly regarded translator, Mari was a novelist and poet. We will be the poorer for her passing.

As an Association, we extend our sincerest sympathy to Mari’s family in their sad loss.


Report on the activities of 2019-20

The Report on the activities of Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru in 2019-20 shows that the Association continued to hold membership examinations and provided various professional development activities and opportunities, continued to work in partnership with the higher education sector, and continued to forge links and collaborated with public organisations and with other translation and interpreting associations for the good of the Association and to raise the profile of the Welsh translation and interpreting profession.

One again this year, it is a source of great pleasure that membership of the Association on 31 March 2020 was at a record high of 411 members.

In acknowledging his appreciation of the members’ contribution, Chair, Huw Tegid Roberts, in his Foreword looks forward confidently,

‘Whatever the future holds, I hope that all of us will be encouraged by the fact that we are members of an Association of over four hundred members, all of whom have a part to play in ensuring that the Welsh language continues to thrive as an integral part of the public, private, voluntary and leisure aspects of our nation. Thank you all for your contributions to the vital work of ensuring that the citizens of Wales in this Covid dominated period can continue to live and work through the medium of Welsh.’

Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru is part-funded by the Welsh Government, and we would like to place on record our thanks for this support.


Her Gyfieithu 2020

Grug Muse is the winner of Her Gyfieithu 2020, the Translation Challenge into Welsh.

Grug Muse is a poet, editor and researcher. She is one of the founding members and editors of Y Stamp literary magazine. Her first volume of poetry, Ar Ddisberod, was published by Barddas in 2017, and her work has been published in several publications including O’r Pedwar Gwynt, Barddas, Poetry Wales. She is a recipient of a Literature Wales Writers Bursary in 2020. She is currently working on a PhD research project at Swansea University.

Grug wins a prize of £200, as well as the Her Gyfieithu Staff, sponsored by Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru, which is awarded for the best Welsh translation.

In sponsoring the Her Gyfieithu Staff once again, it gives Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru great pleasure to acknowledge the fine craftsmanship of Elis Gwyn who has carved this unique prize from a piece of wood found in the woodlands around Llanystumdwy.

This year’s challenge was to translate a series of short poems titled ‘Nahaufnahmen’ by Turkish poet, Zafer Şenocak, from German. Zafer Şenocak lives in Berlin, where he has become a leading voice in discussions on multiculturalism, national and cultural identity, and a mediator between Turkish and German culture.

Her Gyfieithu adjudicator, Mererid Hopwood, received 11 entries, and said that Grug’s entry was the translation that captured her imagination and was most successful in creating the feeling of a ‘poem’.

The competition is organized by Wales Literature Exchange, Wales PEN Cymru and Literature Across Frontiers in collaboration with University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea University, Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru, O’r Pedwar Gwynt, Poetry Wales and the Goethe-Institut.

The winner of Translation Challenge 2020 is Eleoma Bodammer.

A digital event will be held on 30 September, to coincide with International Translation Day, to celebrate Grug and Eleoma’s success.

The winning poems and the adjudications can be read on the Wales PEN Cymru website.


Remote interpreting

In response to the new demands for interpreting during the present pandemic, we have included a new sub-section in the free to use search facility for translators and interpreters on our website which will allow people to find Interpreting Members who provide a remote interpreting service.

The Welsh Language Commissioner has published an advice note, ‘Holding bilingual video meetings’. This advice note has been prepared to provide quick advice to organisations during the global crisis caused by COVID-19. The note is intended to give practical guidance to organisations on how to continue to offer high quality bilingual services during this unprecedented period. This document is an annex to the advice document 'Bilingual drafting, translation and using Welsh face to face' which was published in 2019.

The advice note also refers to the guidelines produced by National Museum Wales for using an interpreter with ‘Zoom’. These practical and detailed guidelines offer specific instructions for everyone involved in a meeting. Though intended for internal use originally, we are grateful to National Museum Wales for sharing these guidelines publicly so that they can be of assistance to others when holding bilingual meetings remotely.


Message to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for measures for the self-employed

This message was sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 25 March 2020 under the heading ‘Support self-employed translators and interpreters’:

First of all I hope that you, your family and your staff are all well and safe at this very uncertain time.

I write to you on behalf of the members of Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru, the association of Welsh translators and interpreters. Of our 410 members, some 43% are self-employed.

Government measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus have led to the immediate cessation of meetings which has left self-employed interpreters with cancelled assignments and a loss of income as a result. Work for self-employed translators is also drying up quickly.

Whilst we welcome the measures announced by the UK Government to support SMEs in this crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is posing an unprecedented threat to the livelihoods of these self-employed members as they are not covered in these measures to assist the business sector. They face an uncertain future and potential financial ruin. In addition, they are not eligible to claim Statutory Sick Pay for time spent in self-isolation.

We call on the UK Government to extend the Coronavirus Job Protection Scheme to include self-employed and freelance workers, so that self-employed translators and interpreters may also benefit from arrangements which could cover 80% of their earnings now that they are unable to work. The use of recent tax returns could be one means of judging eligibility.

It is invidious that employed people are protected by UK Government measures but self-employed people have been abandoned. It is imperative that the support measures for the business sector be extended to include and safeguard the self-employed as a matter of urgency.

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