Librivox Welsh readings

I can’t remember if I posted this once before, but don’t think so. I noticed there are basically no Welsh audio readings on the public domain audiobook site It would be very helpful to some day have a small collection of novels/books in Welsh available there. I think this could be good project for any bookish fluent speakers with time on their hands. Doing audio readings can be frustrating but some people really seem to get into it on that place.

A little question (no I won’t read Welsh though), so anyone can read books and publish their readings there? Or is that any “proffessional” limitation about how good the reading should be, in which language etc??? Sorry, but (shame on me as many cald me techy person) this public domain and its services aren’t known to me (yet). :slight_smile:

If I remember correctly, the original Welsh text would need to be in the public domain (and published before 1923).

As Jane said, Librivox audiobooks have to be based on books which are already in the public domain. In a sense, Librivox is the audiobook equivalent of Project Gutenberg.

And unfortunately, because of the nature of copyright laws, this means that by definition the books tend to be pretty old, and probably not using current language.

I have recorded a few chapters of classic English novels for them in the past. Quite fun in a way, but also hard work and time-consuming.

I actually contacted them once with a view to recording my own English translations of non-English texts (not Welsh, as it happens). They rather poured cold water on this idea. The problem would be that they can only accept recordings of properly published works, and officially, I think, you can only publish a translation of a book for which you have the translation rights (even if it’s in the public domain, I think). Not 100% sure now of the legal niceties, but anyway, it was a bit of a minefield, so I quickly gave up the idea.

I haven’t looked for some time at the Welsh books in Project Gutenberg, but from memory, there wasn’t much, and it didn’t fire my imagination. I suppose if someone were keen, they could contact Librivox offering to record some of those. But it’s not all that trivial an exercise.


I seem to remember that there is a website somewhere that acts as a kind of Project Gutenberg (and maybe Librivox) for current authors who want to place their works directly in the public domain. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what it’s called! Some clever google detective work might bring it to light.

The only place I can think of is which lets you upload anything you wish, really. Audiobooks are certainly difficult work to do right, and time consuming. I was initially thinking at least the Mabinogi, some medieval texts, maybe the bible even, that would provide quite a lot of language for learning purposes.

I seem to recall a friend having books sent as tapes by the RNIB when she started to lose her sight. On-line is an obvious modern equivalent. How does books for the blind work with copyright law? I have a vague recollection of recording a few things when I was on Gower, all in English, of course!

Thank you for your replies to my question.

Well, I’ve peared into the catalogue and forum of Librivox yesterday after reading things here and somehow have lost the desire to work with them because things on the forum seam a bit complicated to me in order to become a reader.

On your question @henddraig, books for blind persons work with copyright as they work for normal books however I’m not totally sure how it works with reprint them into brailles script but it seams to me that everything goes the same way. That’s why (at least here in Slovenia) audiobooks aren’t as popular and wide spread as they’re abroad.

I never understood copyrights completely because every time I thought I don’t violate them I found out later on I might be doing just that. I’ve translated some of LEGO Bionicle books (with LEGO permition of course) and published these translations on the net and later on I narated some chapters too. No one said that I’m actually violating some Copyrights however reading things here and some on Librivox it might appear I do violate them at least in audio recording manner as I actually never got the clearance for recording translations but just for written publishing on the net which has to be for free and no commercial matter. :slight_smile:

Librivox has obviously one another bug too. I’ve found some (about 4 or 5) Slovene readings on there and I downloaded one particular reading however when it was downloaded I have seen that I’ve downloaded bunch of material I didn’t even want to download neither I knew I did so until seing what I actually have in the download map. And it was not even a bit all in Slovene. :slight_smile:

I found two things in Welsh on there:

  • Sion a Sian (poem IX) (in Librivox Multilingual Short Works Collection 003 ) Owen M. EDWARDS (1858 - 1920)
  • yr eos yn y llwyn bedw (in Multilingual Poetry Collection 002 ) Dafydd ap GWILYM (1315/1320 - 1350/1370)

and this is all you can find. So I believe there’s still a lot to be read.

It looks like they have tried to make things easier for blind people in the UK:

I think there have been improvements to the system in the UK also.

I get the impression that in the past, it was all a bit problematic.

Here are some public domain works I’ve dug up. I’m an illiterate pleb for now. But any readers who might be interested at some point could check these out.


Poetry selections

Poetry works by Islwyn

Poetry works by Goronwy

Popular old poems

I’d say it wouldn’t be too difficult for SSiW or others to start a Youtube channel for these types of readings, and thus avoid the pedantic system of Librivox. Also, they wouldn’t necessarily have to be as polished. And if public domain texts dry up, maybe there are some keen people out there that could translate chapters from the endless English texts, the translations wouldn’t need to be professional[published] quality. People could even put up samples of amateur fiction if they wanted. By the end there could be a dedicated channel full of Welsh prose/poetry readings for people to practise with.

Yes. I actually had the same thoughts while peering into the Librivox forums. It all looks too complicated to me while on the other hand setting one YouTube channel where you practically can upload endless things for free or setting one SSiW Soundcloud where it’s not neccessarily to upload anything but one can create playlist of readings uploaded by members on their own acounts or even create kind of (radio) station (it’s possible), however I’m not sure can you create station only from your own uploads or from playlists aswell. Possibilities are endless and all are less pedantic and complicated than Librivox (on my first glance on there of course).

We could not read only Welsh things but maybe things in our own languages to give people a taste of one another language than “big ones” and Welsh. (just a thought).

Avoid their “buraucracy” perhaps (although like most bureaucracies, it’s there for a reason, albeit with a tendency to get out of hand sometimes).

Might be worth paying attention to their technical tips though. It’s been ages since I was involved, but there used to be (and hopefully still are) some Librivox-related Youtube lessons on how to produce good quality audio.

Not wishing to speak out of turn, but the first thing that came into my head was I’ve been too busy/distracted/whatever to keep up with it lately, so I’m not 100% sure of its scope or present direction, but I’ve always thought the combination of parallel (or interlinear) text + audio was worth pursuing.

Tagging @neilrowlands to say his word about this. Might be he has thought in the same direction as you do @mikeellwood.

Hi folks, thanks for the heads up. A kind volunteer, Huw, (not hewrop :slight_smile:) is recording a lot of the articles on It’s great for learners ot help match the sound to the spelling, and people can download the MP3s to listen offline.
I’d be delighted to host audio files, but ideally they would be with a matching text. I’m working with publishers and Welsh for Adults centres, so anything that goes on there should be realtively accurate Welsh, and permitted by copyright.

Prior to the publishers Y Lolfa being founded 50 years ago, there was very little being published in Welsh, and so there won’t be a huge range of items that are out of copyright. However the National Library’s Archives project may have items…

From a business point of view, I am sure that there is scope for an official Welsh equivalent. Sain records have a fantastic subscription services for their music, called Apton-


Thank you @neilrowlands. To be honest I wasn’t on Parallel Cymru too often lately and here’s new things for me to explore.

But, related to quote above … does Apton work more reliably on devices now too? I had the idea of subscribing some time ago (actially when Apton was launched) but threw the thought away as I had constant problems listening to anything I wanted and the app was not too stabile at the time. :slight_smile:

The main problem with classic works of Welsh literature that are now out of copyright is the type of language used. One of my fellow students in the Meistroli class has been struggling with Teulu Bach Nantoer, a classic children’s book published in 1913. The prose is very formal and whilst such novels are worth reading if you are interested in the literature and history of Wales, they would be hard going for new learners and not much help for those wanting to improve their spoken Welsh.

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I record 1 or 2 bits and pieces from books/magazines etc (aiming for per reading) and send them out weekly to a few people. The aim is to get away from course structures/vocabulary and make things more interesting. If anyone wants to try it out get in touch - if you visit you can sample my voice there.

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