UK: Supermarket automated tills to speak Welsh

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Fri Sep 26 15:36:52 UTC 2008

Supermarket tills to speak Welsh

Tesco's automated tills will now speak both Welsh and English

Shoppers at branches of a supermarket chain will now be able to use
self-service checkouts in Welsh following demand from customers. Tesco
said a programme that was started in the summer to convert the
automatic tills was now complete. The Heritage Minister Alun Ffred
Jones said: "It is important that we give Welsh an opportunity to grow
and adapt to the modern environment."
The announcement coincides with the European Day of Languages. Tesco
runs 74 stores in Wales and most of them now provide self-service

Before the change, these tills spoke only in English. But now
customers will be able to hear instructions in a Welsh female voice.
Mr Jones said: "I am happy to see private sector businesses increasing
the use of Welsh in their stores and responding to the need for
user-friendly Welsh language services." "I would like to see more
businesses and organisations promoting their services bilingually and
allowing Welsh speakers and Welsh learners to be able to shop, learn,
work and play in their own language."

'Customer demand'

Felix Gummer, the Tesco's corporate affairs manager for Wales said the
change allowed the supermarket to "serve communities in the best
possible way". "In response to customer demand and multilingualism in
Wales all our new stores signs have been fully bilingual for some
time, but today is a further step forward as we have listened to the
views of customers for more services to be in Welsh.
"This roll out programme which started this summer is now complete."
The change was also welcomed by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh
Language Society.

Dafydd Lewis from the society said: "We've been in discussions with
Tesco and large similar companies and this is one of the things we've
been asking them to develop. This is a first step towards developing a
full language policy. "What we'd really want is a language act that
would mean all companies in the private sector developing a Welsh
language policy without having to have any pressure put on them," he
added. A spokeswoman for the supermarket Morrisons said there were no
self-service checkouts at its stores in Wales.

The European Day of Languages was launched in 2001 by the Council of
Europe, with the aim of promoting language learning and widening the
range of languages learnt. This year also marks the tenth anniversary
of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

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