Road sign lost in translation
12:02pm Wednesday 25th December 2013 in Penarth news
LOST IN TRANSLATION: Eleri Griffiths tweeted the Penarth Times with this incorrect translation of a road sign (@lerigriff)
AN EAGLE-EYED Penarth resident noticed a road sign with a Welsh translation suggesting road users stand in the middle of Windsor Road.
Several road signs in Penarth town centre read ‘Tra bydd golau coch sefwch yma’ with the English translation ‘When red light shows wait here’.
However, the sign actually translates to ‘When red light shows stand here’ as the translation of ‘sefwch’ is ‘stand’.
Wales & West Utilities, who carried out the road works on Windsor Road and Hickman Road as part of essential gas mains replacement which began in June and is scheduled to be completed in March 2014, said the translation was passed on from Welsh Government guidelines.
In a statement a spokesman said: “The traffic management system, including barriers and signs, is provided to Wales & West Utilities by a contractor.
“We are assured that the signage complies with the Welsh language guidelines as provided by the Welsh Government.”
Eleri Griffiths, 21, noticed the sign when she was driving through the town centre and tweeted the Penarth Times saying "''Sefwch' means 'stand', I wouldn't want to stand in the middle of Windsor Road thanks!" with a picture of the sign.
“The amount of signs that come out with the wrong translation is ridiculous,” she said.
“I don’t understand why it was allowed to be completely wrong.”
Eleri, who is in her third year of studying Law at Aberystwyth University and is the Welsh translator for the Law Society, added: “It’s not right. Welsh is an equal language to English and if English signs were wrong people would complain about them.
“When I translate things I always make sure what I translate is correct in Welsh and English.”
She added: “There aren’t many Welsh speakers so there are people translating English to Welsh just by going on Google Translate.
“It’s quite frustrating.”
Eleri, of Windsor Terrace, added that she had also seen incorrect Welsh translations in pubs and Cardiff Central train station.
“There’s a sign at the train station that doesn’t make any sense,” she said.
“I just don’t understand why they think they can put bad translations everywhere.
“I don’t know if maybe there aren’t enough translators to check over things to see if they are correct.”
In 2008 a road sign in Swansea that should have said "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only" actually translated as "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated" after an e-mail mixup and the embarrassing mistake was soon spotted by Welsh speakers.