If your business is located in Wales, how do you prefer to communicate with your audience? Do you like to embrace your native tongue or do you find it safer to stick to English?
One Welsh Facebook group recently attracted the attention of the North Wales Daily Post for seemingly encouraging users to stop posting in the language. Though a supposed screenshot from the Snowdonia Mountain Community Facebook group described Welsh as “lovely…in its right settings”, it dismissed it as “not a true international language” and encouraged users to use English to help their posts be understood by a wider audience.
Not surprisingly, the group (which has no official connection to the Welsh mountain range itself) got some criticism for this, which prompted administrators to explain that they encourage English for marketing reasons, since reaction times are likely to be slower if English speakers have to translate Welsh content.
Of course, Facebook does have an option for users to translate posts into their own language, but it can make mistakes. We referenced an example of one unfortunate slip-up (also related to Snowdon) in this article.
Speaking your clients’ language
Remember that all content you post on social media or add to your site should have a target audience in mind, and that should include the language they speak.
The obvious answer might be English, but there are many cases of shops and businesses in areas of high immigration publishing signs and other materials in languages that attract this audience. Native English speakers might grumble about this, but before they do, perhaps they should consider how many signs in the popular holiday resorts of Spain, Portugal, Greece and many other parts of the world are printed in English for their benefit.
So, there may be cases where it’s appropriate to have content in another language, and if you’re keen on Welsh language preservation like some media sources such as S4C and Y Cymro are, there may be some merit in taking a Welsh-first attitude, but generally you should prioritise the majority of your target audience.
At Engage Web, we can help you build a target persona for your content, and if you would like an option to have parts of your sites in a different language, we can advise you on how to go about this. Speak to our team to learn more.