Firms Find Benefits of Bilingualism Are Growing; Business WORLD

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), February 25, 2009 | Go to article overview

Firms Find Benefits of Bilingualism Are Growing; Business WORLD


Byline: IEUAN WYN JONES

THE Welsh Assembly Government recently published its proposals for conferring legislative competence for the Welsh language from London to Wales.

It is keen to ensure that the necessary tools are available so that a framework can be created to support and promote the language in a way which is fit for 21st century Wales.

There's so much good will towards our language, including in the world of business - regardless of whether people speak it or not. The days when people didn't recognise the benefits of being a bilingual nation are gone.

The recession reminds us that every business needs customers - we overlook extra competitive edge at our peril. Right on our doorsteps we have a truly unique selling point, in the form of our language and culture.

In our own home market, there are an increasing number of customers who appreciate businesses committed to the language - and, in response, private sector prominence for Welsh has increased enormously in recent years.

For example, a survey by Beaufort some years ago found that two-thirds of people in Wales - 85% in North Wales - felt that bilingual signs in shops were important.

Companies now using the language include leading supermarkets who provide a bilingual environment in their stores: Tesco for example has introduced a Welsh-medium scanning service at their checkouts.

Highland Airways, who operate the north-south air service, operate a trilingual website where you can use English or Welsh to order your ticket (or Scottish Gaelic if you prefer!).

These companies are following the lead of smaller Welsh-based businesses - and many others are following in their footsteps. …

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