How do you say that in Welsh?

Here’s a brief postscript to the recent post on pedestrian crossings:

Wales has to put up all road signs in two languages. Even though almost everyone speaks English and just over 20% of the people speak Welsh, both are official languages–and sometimes they run into translation problems.

In 2006, they put up this sign, meant to tell people, in both languages, to look right.
Welsh look-right-or-left

Unfortunately, the Welsh reads “look left”.


Then last October, government employees who needed to erect a sign warning truck drivers not to enter a residential area, sent off an email message to a translator, asking how the Welsh version of the sign should read. They got an answer back and the sign was duly manufactured. You can see from the picture what it says in English.
Welsh out-of-office

In Welsh, it reads “I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated”.

Well, it could happen to anybody, really, couldn’t it?

Read the full stories at and



Filed under Language, Uncategorized

8 responses to “How do you say that in Welsh?

  1. Kristine Krozek


  2. I’m thinking “Pedestrians look wrong…” or “Pedestrians look funny…”

  3. Sarah Wilson

    I think the translation is correct: “left”. Suki W. pointed me to your blog, and I read your two most recent posts: sheep and Welsh! You make me want to head back there!

    • Thanks for your comment!

      But…if the Welsh says “Look Left” and the English says “Look Right”, then it’s hard to believe the translation can be said to be correct…

      Unless, I suppose, it’s an underhand plot on the part of a nefarious signmaker who intended to send Welsh speakers into traffic!

      • Sarah Wilson

        My error! I didn’t mean the English-Welsh translation was correct. I was commenting on “15 Books’s” comment that it meant “wrong” or “funny.” (I need to be clearer, next time!)

        Perhaps the sign writer truly understood how the Welsh feel about mandates from the English foreigners. “Goodness to gracious, Dia! If they tell me to look left, it’s right I’ll look. I’ll have no foreigners telling me which way to look, I won’t.”

  4. Martha Powers

    LOVE IT!

  5. Red Admiral

    My Welsh-speaking uncle was furious when these signs came in. “Do they think I’m ignorant? Do they think I can’t read English?”

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