Back in February, Microsoft celebrated International Mother Language Day (IMLD) alongside UNESCO by announcing that the Welsh language has now joined a growing list of languages to benefit from translation services provided by Microsoft Translator. Developed by the National Assembly for Wales in partnership with Microsoft, the system will consist of tools, services and applications which will provide support across the suite of Microsoft products and services, including Word and Outlook, along with Bing Translator applications for Windows, Windows Phone and online at www.bing.com/translator.
The National Assembly for Wales is a bilingual institution. Our Official Languages Scheme sets out our ambition to be recognised as a truly bilingual institution where Assembly Members, staff and the public can choose to work or communicate in either or both of our official languages and where the use of both languages is encouraged and facilitated. The introduction of Welsh in Microsoft Translator is a great step forward in bilingual working and should help facilitate the use of machine translation to allow more people to communicate bilingually.
We are also committed to spending money wisely and making best use of technology to help Assembly Members and staff to carry out their roles effectively. Our Information and Communications Technology Strategy says that we will make the best use of technology to work flexibly and in a way that makes us accessible to the people of Wales.
To achieve this, Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM, the Assembly Commissioner with responsibility for the Welsh language, and Assembly staff have been working with Microsoft to develop a Welsh language model for their Microsoft Translator and Bing Translator machine translation systems, which can be used within Microsoft Office. These will allow people all over the world to translate text into and from Welsh, simply by clicking the ‘Translate’ button on the ‘Review’ tab