Welsh Language Case Study: Butterflies

by Tania Russell-Owen | 13th Dec 2019

Approaching work creatively, openly and consistently is something of a standard within ProMo-Cymru. These qualities have always helped us to adopt better practices and communicate more meaningfully. 

While this may seem hard to quantify, we are proud to deliver projects that showcase the breadth of the language and culture we enjoy in Wales. 

Creating Butterflies

In 2018, we produced Butterflies: a shareable video that underpinned a nation-wide campaign for the Meic helpline. 

Meic is the bilingual information, advice and advocacy helpline for young people in Wales. It provides support to under-25s on wide-ranging topics, including bullying, children’s rights, and sexual health. 

Young spoken-word poet, Sarah McCreadie, wrote and recorded the English narrative, which focuses on healthy relationships. 

Poetry is not a simple, word for word translation. Our Welsh Language Officer worked carefully to make sure the message of the poem, rhythm and feeling was captured in the translation. We then worked with young Welsh performer Mari for the final touches. 

An authentic voice

The project epitomises our attitude to working from a bilingual-first perspective. In this instance, the Welsh-language piece was organically developed from Mari’s own voice. 

“As someone who has always attended a Welsh medium school it’s wonderful to see resources by young people for young people being made bilingually. The first time I read the poem, my worries that I might not be able to relate to it melted away,” described Mari.

“After a discussion with Sarah about how I had interpreted the translation I felt really confident because, whilst I had my own relationship with the poem, the core message and sentiment shone through even in a different language. 

Sarah and Mari recording the Welsh for Butterflies

The result was not just an English-language video with a standard Welsh translation. With our help, Mari provided an invaluable, authentic voice that reflected the culture and perspectives of non-Welsh speakers. Diversifying bilingual content this way is just one benefit of getting young people on board to breathe life into our messaging. 

As an organisation, incorporating Welsh language and culture into our work more than just getting the work translated; it’s at the very heart of everything we do from the very beginning, and this makes all the difference. 
To us, it’s the difference between moving forwards and standing still. 

The Social Business Growth Fund (SBGF) has allowed us to further develop our skills in the area of communication and engagement through the medium of Welsh. The fund supports local businesses in Wales to grow and create job opportunities and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Administered by Social Investment Cymru, WCVA.   

Support from these funders enables ProMo-Cymru to ensure young people and communities are informed, engaged, connected and heard.