Welsh TV - need your help!

What is WRT?

So sorry - lazy of me - “With Regard To”

Oh thanks, sorry that’s probably obvious to most readers here. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:
I thought it was a production company or something! :see_no_evil:


So although Google Play let me download and install the S4C Clic app, when I tried to play Pobol y Cwm which I know I can’t watch outside the UK but it was showing as available in the app, it gives me a “Chwarae” button to click. When I do, it goes to another screen with OK in the centre, but if I click the OK, it takes me back to the first screen. There is no message telling me that I can’t watch it, but nothing happens and I just go back and forth between the two screens.

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OK - that’s interesting… Thanks, Deborah.

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I have just completed the questionnaire. I answered the subtitles question that I only use English subtitles, and then the later one that I watch s4c through iplayer… That’s the reason that I don’t use Welsh subtitles - because they’re not available there (or haven’t been when I’ve looked) not because it’s a choice I’ve made. There wasn’t really a way to make that clear - I was hoping for a “anything else you’d like to say?” question but never mind!

Just a further thought that didn’t really come up in the survey. Not all learners are at the same point in their Welsh journey (obviously) and as I’ve gone on I found that things being flagged as “good for learners” wasn’t always very accurate for me (how could it be?). That’s not restricted to S4C - it goes for radio, books, everything.

Rather than try and guess what the learner wants, would it be an idea to give some idea about what might make a programme attractive to learners and flag those things up? As a starter, how about identifying the following:

  1. Programme is actually teaching Welsh.
  2. Programme uses easy vocabulary, or difficult words are explained.
  3. There is support - such as a transcript or word list available (I think we discussed this on the Wednesday call recently)
  4. Programme is about learners, or about learning Welsh (we all like to see our own lives reflected on screen!)
    I’m sure there’s a better list, but something like that might help people make a selection of the things they want to watch.

On subtitles - I’m sure I’m not the only person who, if I have the English subtitles on, can’t follow the Welsh - my brain can’t track two languages at once and the visual English wins out. I’m now at a stage where I can mostly follow the Welsh subtitles when they are available, and the news that there are going to be more of these is great. However, I still get stuck on the odd word. Would it be too irritating to fluent speakers to have the occasional English translation of the more obscure/technical/dialect words included in the Welsh subtitles, particularly where they are key to understanding what is being discussed? Ideally I guess we’d have a third set of subtitles, but something tells me the S4C budget won’t stretch to that!

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I’ll make a note of this and pass it on to the team, @catherine-simmons - diolch!

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Fantastically useful comments, @phil-23 - thank you so much. I have been thinking of how best to do what you describe when we have a body of programmes that’s constantly changing (and with the limitations in terms of what “extras” can be put on streaming platforms). Your list is a really helpful starting point for categorising - thanks.

With regard to subtitles, what do you think about having both languages on screen? I’ve always thought it would be too busy (and there would still be the problem with the English detracting from listening), but some people have said they would really like it.

I can see where you’re coming from with the occasional word suggestion (a bit like is sometimes done it magazines etc?) The major problem I foresee with that is the actual work involved in going through the programme and deciding which are the words that need the gloss. And of course, we all have our own blind spots! Just thinking “out loud” at this point…

Lots of food for thought here!

One vote here for this additional option!

having both English and Welsh at the same time would be really handy - never mind if the screen’s too busy in this case.

As a learner, since the beginning, I’ve used programmes as learning tool as it is super useful to learn vocabulary, colloquial Welsh and expressions.

The fact is that in order to do so, I often have to stop and go back and forth between Welsh and English to understand the details. And sometimes they’re not even synced exactly the same way so I have to also go back and forth with the video to catch everything.

Also, it happens really often to me that when I hear a word I know I’ve heard it before, as I remember the sound of it…but just can’t recall it’s meaning right away.
(always happened with every language actually)

Then, I take screenshots of expressions or bits of dialogue I want to remember, or get me curious like this:

And even more, in the beginning it would be great to have the translation right next.

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My rather limited concentration span has meant that Pobol y Cwm is the programme I most watch as each programme is short and there are lots of visual cues to what is happening. I don’t generally use sub-titles though, occassionally, will watch the same episode (or part of an episode) a second time using Welsh subtitles to try and understand all the words in a conversation. The current format on Clic is, in my view, a step backwards for learners as, before, it was possible to toggle between Welsh and English subtitles on the same page without a new page opening, having to clic on English/Welsh, then click on the tick…
What is also very, very, very useful and satisfying (at least on PyC) is the voice over. When I don’t understand a word of what is being said because of accent, speed, slurring etc just listening to slow, clear, easy to understand voice over is wonderful (that and when English is used!).

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My concern about having both languages on screen at the same time would be that it uses up too much of the screen over the picture. If this can be done as a third option (ie viewer can select welsh, english or both together) then fine, but if it had to be added on to one of the existing options then I think this would inconvenience other users such as deaf and hard of hearing people - who are the original audience for the subtitles in the first place.

Where the subtitles come below the picture - which is the case with iplayer, not sure about Clic - then not so much of a problem, of course.

Oddly perhaps I don’t think that this would be as distracting as the English only subtitles! I’d have something else to focus on that matches the sound.

I think the “use case” we’re all describing (lapsing back into UI design speak, sorry) is where the viewer is happily going along and then hits an unfamiliar word or idiom and goes “whoa, what was that?” and needs a bit of quick help. The choice then is do you provide that continuously in real time (ie, something like parallel subtitles) or do you allow the viewer to jump into a “help” mode at that point (“Alexa, translate the last sentence into English” would be ideal :grin:) I suspect the technical obstacles to that are formidable with ordinary TV, maybe less so where you’ve got a more flexible platform such as an app or website.

But diwedd y gân yw’r geiniog, and you’ve already mentioned that S4C’s budget is…challenging. It’s incredible what you manage to achieve, and I suspect we’ll all keep watching no matter what!

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What is the voice over in PyC? In english? I never knew there was any on S4C!

The voice over (probably the wrong term - it is audio description neu sain ddisgrifio) is, I assume, for people with limited sight so activity without people speaking is descibed (in Welsh only). The Welsh is clear and slow and is a little ahead of the action. It doesn’t appear to be available on iPlayer and it often is missing on Clic but I love it and it means I probably hear 20% more Welsh than I would without it.


Well, it’s so interesting that you’ve picked that up as something useful - never would have occurred to me! :grinning:

As you say, the sound description is intended for people with visual impairments, and tends to be available on dramas - the soaps, and sometimes the other dramas. You can select it from the same menu as the subtitles when it’s available.

To everyone who has mentioned the problem with the subtitle box opening up and taking up the whole screen, a lovely person has shared the existence of keyboard shortcuts on Twitter: https://twitter.com/15israellai/status/1647286349626474496

I had no idea about this either! Essentially, on Clic, with the information about each programme (how long it is, what sort of subtitles are available etc) there is a link called “Keyboard shortcuts / Byrlwybr teipio” and it shows how you can toggle the subtitles on and off (as well as other things) if you’re watching on a laptop/computer.

Slight problem for me - I have to hold down Ctrl to make the shortcut work, and if I do Ctrl + W it closes the window… I’m going to have a word with our Clic people to see if we can improve that, and add another toggle between Welsh & English subtitles. But useful, nonetheless!

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Ah… bit of experimentation shows me that Ctrl + C works on its own - don’t need both letters.

OK - here’s the gen… W (i.e. Welsh) or C (i.e. Cymraeg) will toggle the Welsh subtitles on and off. Then E does the same for the English.

If you are watching with Welsh subtitles on, clicking E will change them to English, and C or W will turn them back to Welsh.

The other shortcuts are:

  • A or [backwards facing arrow]: jump back 5 seconds
  • D or [forwards facing arrow]: jump forwards 5 seconds
  • space bar: pause/restart

Apparently these were added at the request of someone learning Welsh (da iawn, that person!) and the specific shortcuts were chosen as they would be familiar to gamers and the letters sit close to each other on the keyboard.

Well I’ve learned something new today!!


Wow! That’s fab, thank you! I’ll give the shortcuts a go! :heart_eyes:

And agree that two languages in the subtitles would be too much! :slight_smile: And if you’re immersing yourself in Welsh, the English can be counter productive, so I’d rather to avoid it, please!)

And thank you for your help - its great we can have these conversations! :heart_eyes:

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That is incredibly useful and would love to have known that earlier. Still not quite as good as it was before as I notice that you can’t toggle when the screen is frozen (if I didn’t understand something I used to freeze the frame, put the Welsh subtitles on, see if I could understand it all and, if not, then put the English ones on - at least that is how I remember it). However, I don’t want to be negative, this is great to know. And I’ve never used the back arrow and will be from now.

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