Tag welsh

Game developer looking for Welsh speakers

to translate their niche adventure game, Rhiannon: Curse of the Four Branches, which is (fairly obviously) based on the Mabinogion. They want to do it in Welsh, but there are only three of them and they’re all English monoglots, and they can’t afford the dosh (as a tiny wee indie developer) to translate all 30,000 words of the text.

They say they’re looking for a "school, a language society or a group of Welsh-language adventure gamers who might be able to help."

I reckon they’d be better off creating an online community to do it, rather than finding a pre-existing group.


See comments for what the Welsh actually translates to.
UPDATE: It’s made it onto the BBC news. It’s in Swansea, apparently.

Welsh LL changing?

On phoneticist John Wells’ blog (he’s the man who invented the word rhotic, so he knows what he’s about) there’s an interesting article (scroll down to Friday 26th June, there are no permalinks) about this BBC Wales web page giving audio samples for some Welsh place names.

What he finds odd is that the Welsh speaker seems to use the wrong sound for the famous Welsh ”ll”. In technical terms, he uses a voiceless palatal fricative – a soft ch sound, a bit like in the German Ich or Licht – instead of the standard voiceless alveolar lateral fricative. It’s a completely different sound to me, made in a completely different way in the mouth, and yet – even odder – his Welsh-speaking correspondents claim to be able to hear no problem. On the BBC site, just try Benllech in Anglesey, Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, and Machynlleth in.. hell, you lot know where Mach is. It’s very odd.

He asks if there’s some kind of sound change going on in contemporary Welsh, and whether "speakers of Welsh will no longer be able to boast of having a really exotic sound in their consonant system. They’ll be no more able to lay claim to exclusivity than the Germans, and the use of the true alveolar lateral fricative will be left to Zulu and Xhosa."

(You can also check out the sounds on the Paul Meier IPA chart)


Check this out. Even non-Welsh speakers can tell that "must" is not the Welsh word for "must", for example. Ditto "please."

Actually, every single thing is wrong – the whole thing is virtually incomprehensible. I suppose the Welsh on that bottom line might translate something like "The building of sites is dangerous, please keep children on walking" if one were bloody-minded enough to try to get some sense out of it.

This is, I suppose, what happens when you get that bloke in the office who went on a day taster course to do the Welsh (instead of, for example, paying my mate Robin).

UPDATE: Obvious in hindsight, but Telsa reports it’s a really, really bad free machine translation system. There’s more info here, if you speak Welsh. Actually, if you don’t, you can still go there and zip to the end for some examples of really well-known Welsh songs translated into awful English, with a challenge to the readers to guess the songs. Here are a couple I know (although I couldn’t recognise them):

Grade good crookedly the she persuading / Signs the Volvo medal tongue the dragon

With Gwen he ear I / he was the firstly I pass group posts

The first one is Datblygu’s incisive masterpiece Cân i Gymru – "gradd da yn y Gymraeg, ar y Volvo bathodyn Tafod y Ddraig" – usually translated as "A good grade in Welsh Language, and a Dragon’s Tail badge on the Volvo."

The second is, of course, Catatonia’s Gyda Gwêngyda gwên, o glust i glust / fe oedd y cyntaf i basio’r pyst – better rendered as "With a smile from ear to ear, he was first to pass the posts."

I can sort of see how the second one happened. Heaven knows what went wrong with the Datblygu song, though.

post 2554

Famous Welsh poem: Rhyfel (“War”) by Hedd Wyn. This poem, written on the Western Front in 1917, won him the Eisteddfod chair. By the time of the competition he had been killed at Passchendaele. Born and raised near Trawsfynydd, he was a young farmer, one of two brothers and a committed pacifist. When he found out that either he or his younger brother would have to fight, though, he immediately volunteered to save his brother. A film’s been made about him.

Gwae fi fy myw mewn oes mor ddreng,
A Duw ar drai ar orwel pell;
O’i ol mae dyn, yn deyrn a gwreng,
Yn codi ei awdurdod hell.
Pan deimlodd fyned ymaith Dduw
Cyfododd gledd i ladd ei frawd;
Mae swn yr ymladd ar ein clyw,
A’i gysgod ar fythynnod tlawd.
Mae’r hen delynau genid gynt
Ynghrog ar gangau’r helyg draw,
A gwaedd y bechgyn lond y gwynt,
A’u gwaed yn cymysg efo’r glaw.

My translation:

Woeful I am to live in such a harsh age,
With God ebbing on the far horizon;
Behind Him is man, both lord and commoner,
Raising up his brutal authority.
When he felt God disappear
He lifted up his sword to kill his brother;
The sound of battle is in our ears,
And its shadow on the poor cottages.
The harps that once were played
Are hanging on the branches of those willows.
The wind is full of the screams of the boys
And their blood mixes with the rain.

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