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Welsh translation and advice service hits 1 million milestone

Helen Louise Williams from Purah Beeswax candles who has used the free Helo Blod translation service to help her business

Helo Blod, a free Welsh translation and advice service is celebrating translating 1 million words  having introduced  more than 1000  businesses across Wales to the benefits of using more Welsh as part of a push to help double the daily use of Welsh by 2050.

Launched in March 2020 to support the Welsh Government’s Cymraeg 2050 strategy, Helo Blod offers businesses and charities up to 500 words a month translated, free of charge.

The fast and friendly service also offers text checking of up to 1000 words as well as practical advice, guidance, and support to help businesses use more Welsh, including providing bilingual signage.

Over the past two years, 1,121 businesses across Wales have said helo to Blod either online or by phone, with the service proving popular among cafes, shops, professional services and food and drink producers looking to use more Welsh into their website content, product signage, social media posts or advertising.

Helo Blod merchandise is also available free to businesses– including Welsh open/closed door signs, tote bags, colouring pads and Iaith Gwaith badges, helping businesses make the use of Welsh language more prominent in their premises.

Purah Beeswax Candles, a sustainable candle company based in Carmarthenshire, has been using Helo Blod for over a year. Owner Helen Louise Williams, who sells her candles online and has over 20 stockists across Wales, used Helo Blod’s online service to translate her social media channels and product descriptions to reach a larger bilingual audience and connect with her customers. In the past months Helen has continued to use the service to introduce Welsh labelling into her store.

Helen said: “70% of my customers are based in Wales, and I think it’s only right that I use the language of the country that I sell to. After introducing more Welsh to my online and physical stores, my customer base has grown significantly, and I feel as though I can connect with my customers in a whole new way. Although I speak Welsh, I can only speak it at a very basic level, and I wouldn’t have been able to use it as effectively and confidently as I had without the support of Helo Blod. The service has filled that gap.”

Another business that has experienced the benefits of Helo Blod firsthand is Bookshop Montgomery who opened its doors to the community in 2018 and has since, with the support of Helo Blod, changed their bookstore name to be bilingual to reflect both the Welsh and English language presence in the area. Previously called ‘Eaves and Lord’, the shop is now called ‘The Bookshop Montgomery – Siop Lyfrau Trefaldwyn’.

Barry Lorde, co-owner of The Bookshop Montgomery said: “My favourite thing about the online service is the fact that it’s so easy to use. The business has benefitted in terms of giving us more confidence to make Welsh more visible in the business through bilingual signage, Welsh books, Welsh music in the shop, and now through having a bilingual shop name.”

Co-owner Richard Eaves added: “By adding more Welsh to our business, we have been attracting more Welsh speaking customers. I think that it’s important to recognise and respect the importance of Welsh in connection with the history of Wales and its culture and be able to communicate with people in their first language.”

Y Galeri, part of the Visit Caerphilly Centre and overlooking the town’s famous castle, is an exhibition space showing a variety of works by talented Welsh artists and makers. Run by local artist Karen Evans, Y Galeri offers bilingual descriptions for all its featured pieces of art, where Karen benefits from using the free Helo Blod online translation and checking service.

Karen said: “As a passionate Welsh speaker, it was important to me incorporate the Welsh language into the day to day running of Y Galeri. Even as a multilingual Welsh person, I always need that professional pair of eyes to check over my translations, and that’s why it’s nice to know that Helo Blod is at the end of the phone or just one click away.”

As well as the online service, Y Galeri has benefited from Helo Blod’s Welsh resource packs, including open / closed door signs, Iaith Gwaith badges and Welsh language booklets, to help highlight the use of Welsh within the business and encourage customers to speak Welsh and engage with the language while visiting the gallery.

Celebrating the milestone announcement alongside Helo Blod, MS Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said: “Helo Blod, our free Welsh translation and advice service for businesses and charities, has helped thousands of people to use more Welsh in their daily lives. Just using a little Welsh can help you spread your message further, turn customers into regulars and bring communities together.

“So, if you’re a business, charity or community enterprise, try our service today, and let us help you to use more Welsh. Together we can double the daily use of Welsh by 2050.”

Businesses can say helo to Blod on 03000 25 88 88 or by searching ‘helo blod’ today to use a little more Welsh in their business.