Welsh language technology action plan

Cymru the digital destination

After a lengthy wait the Welsh government has at last published its “Welsh language technology action plan”. The aim of the plan is to ensure a solid foundation for digital technologies in the Welsh language and will focus on three key areas.

1. Welsh Language Speech Technology
2. Computer-assisted translation
3. Conversational Artificial Intelligence

What does this mean in practical terms? How will the plan respond to the numerous challenges that face the Welsh language in an increasingly digital age?

Without understanding fully the budget that will be available to deliver the work packages contained within the plan, it’s difficult to assess fully. On Radio Cymrus morning news programme on Tuesday the 23rd of October Eluned Morgan, the minister with responsibility for the Welsh language, stated that £400,000 would be available, and this within the current financial year ending March 2019. However, she did offer a clarification in the senedd during the afternoon suggesting the figure would be higher and that all would be revealed in Mark Drakefords autumn budget statement.

This raises the question as to the long-term funding of the plan. The Welsh language department have previously funded on a project basis, you can see previous examples here. One thing currently missing are the assessments of these projects’ effectiveness, indeed has every project that has attracted funding been delivered? And have they been assessed for value for money?

Numerous questions, ones we will receive answers to in the coming weeks.

This is why Melin Drafod was established, to ask these questions, and also to suggest answers from a different perspective of the “experts” Welsh government call upon for their advice. Now that the plan has been published and the mystery behind the membership of the Welsh Governments Welsh Technology Board has been revealed we will set out our own vision for a comprehensive digital strategy for the Welsh language, one that has the vision and ambition the language needs and deserves.

We look forward to working with Welsh Government in the exciting work of implementing the plan and developing Wales as a centre for language technology innovation and internationalisation.

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