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Sunday, November 16, 2003

Bi-lingualism in the National Assembly for Wales

I have just been reading the agenda for Thursday's House Committee. This is the Committee that deals with the day to day running of the Presiding Office side of the Assembly (as opposed to the Cabinet and Government side). Despite my protestations the House Committee continues to meet in private with one sanitised public meeting each year. So much for transparency. Anyway, one of the reports deals with the service provided by Presiding Office staff to the Assembly's Committees. I was fascinated to read that in October the Assembly's translators translated over 1.2 million words into Welsh and that excluded the verbatim, bi-lingual record of proceedings. On average between 90,000 and 100,000 words are translated to produce that verbatim record for each three and a half hour Plenary session. That is the equivalent to a small novel, twice a week detailing the wit and wisdom of sixty politicians. This is not a point about bi-lingualism but about the volume of words that are thrown at the unsuspecting Welsh public from our centre of democracy each day. They can't accuse us of not speaking up now can they?

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