The Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee are looking into the challenges and opportunities for the Welsh language in a digital world.
The rapid growth of digital technology has transformed the way we live and lead our lives. It impacts on everything we do, from how we work and do business, to how we consume media and socialise. New technologies pose specific challenges for minority languages; English is often the default language of new software and digital platforms for instance. Even when Welsh language options are available, additional steps or language packs are required in order to ensure the interface is available in Welsh. But new technologies can also offer opportunities for the Welsh language, providing new and innovative platforms for the language to be visible and accessible where it was not before.
In 2018, the Welsh Government published its Welsh language technology action plan.
The action plan aims to bring together the main components, projects and challenges to be addressed if technology and digital infrastructure is to develop to allow the Welsh language to be used in the digital sphere as friction-free as it is for the English language. The document states that the Welsh Government want to see the ‘Welsh language at the heart of innovation in digital technology’.
The plan identifies three key areas to address:
1. Welsh Language Speech Technology
2. Computer-assisted translation
3. Conversational Artificial Intelligence
The action plan includes ‘work packages’ that the Welsh Government notes as being ‘critical to realising the vision of this Action Plan’.
Aims of the inquiry
· To evaluate the aims and objectives of the Welsh language technology action plan.
· The Committee is aiming to understand what progress has been made, and is being made with the various work packages in the plan.
· The inquiry aims to give the Committee a better understanding of how the various work packages are being implemented, who is responsible and accountable for the work streams, and what funding, grants and resourcing has been made available.
· The inquiry will also try and determine how the Welsh Government, with relevant partners, will work with the large technology companies, and whether it has the right amount of influence within the tech sector.
The inquiry will be approaching stakeholders for written evidence and holding formal meetings to gather oral evidence.
It is anticipated that the report will be completed during the Summer recess 2020 and published in the Autumn Term. The Committee also intends to look at other issues, such as the use of Welsh language speech technology in the public sector and building skills in multilingual digital literacy during the Fifth Assembly.
If you wish to contribute to the inquiry please email seneddCWLC@senedd.wales
Business type: Committee Inquiry
Reason considered: Senedd Business;
First published: 11/03/2020