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The Welsh language


The Welsh language, known as “Cymraeg” in its native tongue, is one of the oldest languages in Europe, carrying a rich history and culture. 

Although thought by many to be exclusively spoken in Wales, Welsh is also spoken in Patagonia in Argentina, after a contingent of Welsh settlers arrived in 1865, looking for independence. Traditionally mainly spoken further North and outside of Wales’s capital city, some research has shown that Welsh’s popularity in Cardiff may be increasing.

Brief History of Origins:

  • Ancient Origins: Welsh is a Celtic language, originating from the languages spoken by the ancient Celtic Britons before the Roman invasion of Britain.
  • Old Welsh: From roughly 800-1100 AD, the language transitioned into Old Welsh. Notable manuscripts from this period include the “Llyfr Aneirin” and “Llyfr Taliesin”.
  • Middle Welsh: Welsh underwent significant changes between the 12th and 14th centuries, evolving into Middle Welsh. A majority of the surviving medieval Welsh literature, such as the ‘Mabinogion’, is written in this form.
  • Modern Welsh: By the 16th century, the language transformed into Modern Welsh, mainly due to the influence of the Bible’s translation into Welsh by William Morgan in 1588.

Number of Speakers:

It’s estimated that over 870,000 people speak Welsh. The majority reside in Wales, but there are also Welsh-speaking communities in England, the U.S., Canada, and Argentina.

Where It Is An Official Language:

Wales: Welsh gained equal legal status with English in the public sector in Wales with the passing of the Welsh Language Act in 1993. The Welsh Government aims to have a million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Example of Text:

Welsh: “Croeso i Gymru!” 
English Translation: “Welcome to Wales!”

Where It Is Used and How:

  • Education: Welsh is taught in schools, with some institutions using it as the primary medium of instruction.
  • Media: TV and radio channels, such as S4C and Radio Cymru, are dedicated entirely to Welsh content.
  • Literature: Welsh has a vibrant literary scene, including poetry, novels, and other publications.
  • Signage: In Wales, public signs are bilingual, often displaying Welsh first, followed by the English translation.
  • Music: The Welsh music scene thrives with both traditional and contemporary music sung in Welsh.

English Words Used in Welsh:

Due to the impact of globalisation and proximity to England, many English words have found their way into Welsh, albeit with a Welsh pronunciation. Some examples include:

  • “bws” (bus)
  • “tacsi” (taxi)
  • “sioe” (show)

Welsh Words Absorbed into English:

Several Welsh words have been integrated into the English vocabulary, either directly or indirectly. A few include:

  • “corgi” – A breed of dog; in Welsh, it means ‘dwarf dog’.
  • “bard” – A poet or storyteller; in Welsh, it is a term for a poet with certain privileges.
  • “penguin” – Believed to derive from the Welsh “pen” (head) and “gwyn” (white), possibly describing the appearance of the great auk.


The Welsh alphabet, unlike English, actually has 28 letters. Although it is based on the Latin alphabet, the letters can sometimes represent different sounds, which can be confusing for English speakers to learn.

The 58-letter Welsh word “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” is the longest town name in Europe!

In summary, the Welsh language is a testament to the rich history and resilience of the Welsh people. Despite facing challenges, particularly during periods when its use was suppressed, Welsh has remained a living language, deeply woven into the cultural fabric of Wales. As efforts to revitalise the language continue, Welsh stands as a symbol of national pride and identity.

At Brightlines, our Welsh translation services provide accurate and culturally relevant translations for government departments, global corporations and many smaller companies located throughout the world.

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Our translation services - FAQ

Do you use native translators?

Yes, always. All our translators are native speakers and most are still resident in their native country. We pride ourselves on ensuring that all Brightlines’ translators are native. We do not accept applications from non-native candidates or allow them to register on our online recruitment database. All our translators are rigorously tested.

How long will the translations take?

The turnaround for the translation will depend on the word count. As a rough guide, assume that the translators can comfortably process about 2500 words of non-specialised text per day. Proofreading can effectively be completed on a basis of 4000-6000 words a day. Our minimum turnaround time is usually about three days, although it is possible to shorten this if you are in a rush for the final files and we will always be happy to discuss this with you.

What is the variation in your translators’ experience and qualifications? Are they native speakers? Will the cost increase if we use a more experienced translator?

All our translators have to go through a series of tests to make sure they are as good as they say they are, and only if they pass are they allowed to work for Brightlines. There is quite a range of experience and qualifications, but all translators have a minimum of five years’ experience. All translators translate into their mother-tongue without exception and are generally based in-country so they are up-to-date with the local language. We match translators with projects/clients depending on the subject matter, and most of our translators have industry experience in their speciality – there is no better experience than being immersed professionally in the industry they specialise in. Our costs are based on translator experience, speciality (i.e. medical, creative, scientific) and the language choice.

Which languages can you translate into?

We have an extensive database with hundreds of trusted and tested translators covering all commercial languages. If you cannot see the language or dialect you need please ask.

I don’t know the word count; can you base the quote on the number of pages?

Our pricing structure is based on a rate-per-word, but we can estimate from a page count. If we can’t see the source document then we would usually estimate between 300 – 500 words a page depending on the density of the text and the presence of photos and images.

Does the translation need to be proofread?

Brightlines is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company. This means that quality is safeguarded. We adhere to the “four-eyes principle” and translations are always checked by a second professional proofreader (who is not the translator). If the translation is for internal use and reference purposes only (i.e. not to be published, distributed or used in a court of law), or you simply don’t wish to have proofreading, we can remove the proofreading stage.

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If you need Welsh translations, get in touch with our team, or get a quick quote.