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...'and our next station is Bets Why Co-ed'... Welsh place names being 'mangled' by rail announcements.


COMMUTERS and language activists are calling on a rail operator to improve the pronunciation of villages on a North Wales line.

Automated announcements have been introduced on the Conwy Valley line between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Llandudno.

But regular users are furious at the way the announcements describe village stations.

One commuter said: "Dolwyddelan is a very Welsh-speaking area but these announcements are made in English only and use a synthesised voice which completely mangles the Welsh names of the stations.

"The next station after Dolwyddelan is Pont-y-Pant which is pronounced as 'Pont Why Pant', followed by Bets Why Co-ed" and as for Llanrwst, that is completely indecipherable."

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg member Manon Angharad from Llangefni added announcements on trains running on the North Wales main line are also in English only.

She said: "The announcements on the trains to Chester from Bangor are in English only.

"I fail to see why a publicly funded railway should not be required to give the language the prominence that other public services are obliged to."

She added some of the place names sound strange, even in English.

"Colwyn Bay, an easy place name to pronounce, is announced almost as a surprised shout," she said.

Announcements at stations in South Wales and along the line to Wrexham are bilingual with Welsh being played first.

They have been a feature of the railway since before Arriva Trains Wales took over the franchise in 2003. An Arriva Trains Wales spokeswoman said: "Although Arriva Trains Wales has bilingual departure screens at stations in North Wales, on train and station announcements are non-automated and are made by members of staff.

"Not all members of staff are bilingual; however where possible Arriva Trains Wales encourages staff to communicate to passengers using both Welsh and English.

"Arriva Trains Wales is currently working with a professional translation company to ensure correct pronunciation of Welsh place names throughout the network."
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 29, 2010
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