Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Tendering Linguistics

Increasingly, tendering for public sector work in Wales involves the use of electronic facilities, such as those promoted by Value Wales, an arm of the Welsh Government.  In principle, it's a sensible way to go, and I found myself registering as a supplier last week in order to express an interest in a particular contract.

The website actually permits registration in English or in Welsh - in theory.  And it's an example of why so many people end up saying 'why bother, I may as well just do it in English'.  It's only half-translated, which means that some of the questions are in Welsh, and others are in English only.  Most of the drop-down options lists are in English only as well.  And for me, the absolute gem was the screen I got at the end confirming my registration:

Apart from the interesting observations that American and English are apparently considered to be two different languages, and that there seems to be a word missing in both of them, Welsh doesn't even get included, even for those who have tried to register in Welsh.  The order of appearance of the languages also conveys a subtle message about the likely location of suppliers to the Welsh public sector.

For all the rhetoric emanating from the government, it's sometimes hard to believe that they are really serious about encouraging indigenous suppliers, let alone those who choose to operate through the medium of Welsh.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Has this omission been rectified and if not why not