A translation firm specialising in Welsh roadsigns is under fire from auditors, following claims that they were just changing the font.
Bilingual signs ranging from ‘Give Over’, ‘Think bikier’ and ‘You’re Welcome to Wrexham’ had been commissioned through ‘Inphlegmation Services’, and hung all over the hilly area to the left of the country.
But the ruse was spotted by a keen-eyed son of a tourist, after they accidentally went to Rhyll for a break.
“Our little Jimmy really worried us when he claimed he could speak Welsh”, said Siobhan Mellins. “Before we could stop him, he was trying to blurt a bit out. But rather than irreparably damaging his throat or twisting a lung, we were shocked to find we understood him perfectly. The signs weren’t in welsh at all, they were in squiggly English.”
Despite the signs being in place for over 3 years, no-one native to Wales had actually noticed. “It’s largely a farming language so we normally just read the English bit anyway”, said one resident. “And besides, we don’t actually have a word for ‘Welcome’.”
An audit by the Department of Transport is investigating the scam, after it was claimed the subterfuge could be saving thousands of pounds.
“Translating roadsigns into Welsh or Gaelic costs a small fortune”, revealed accountant David Thorpe. “But we were astonished to find it would cost a lot more, if it was done by people who actually speak the language.”
Following the investigation the signs have been replaced, but no-one is really sure if the new ones are any better.
“Opinions are divided on whether they really are in Welsh”, admitted Thorpe. “I’m no expert, but it does look awfully like they’ve just taken the vowels out.”
A Welsh language professor from Cardiff university explained that it was rather a moot point.
“Welsh doesn’t really exist”, he revealed. “It’s just a long-standing excuse to spit at the English.”