Welsh speakers can’t leave reviews on TripAdvisor because it doesn’t recognise the language – and thinks it’s Swedish.
Siôn Meredith discovered the issue when he tried to leave a review in his first language of a pub in Gwynedd. He wanted to leave a positive review of the Whitehall in Pwlhelli after visiting just before Christmas. After clicking the submit button the review wasn’t accepted — but he was sent an email by TripAdvisor in Swedish.
The popular review site said it can’t host reviews in Welsh but was “exploring opportunities”. Siôn, from Aberystwyth, said the review is now up, but only if you access the Swedish version of TripAdvisor.
The 54-year-old said: “The context here is that it’s a gastropub that uses the Welsh language. It has bilingual menus, staff speak Welsh and most if not all customers are billingual. I’m not a prolific TripAdvisor user, sometimes I leave reviews in English only. This time it just felt natural to do it in Welsh.”
Siôn said the review he left after his visit on December 23 was positive and he’s been back to the pub since.
He complemented the “wonderful” Cajun salmon salad and described it as a “welcoming place [with a] Welsh atmosphere” with Welsh music on in the background.
He said that with advancement of online services like Google Translate the site should be able to host and translate reviews of all languages.
He added: “They say with Welsh if you don’t use it we lose it, and that means using it in every sphere of life. And that is increasingly happening, it’s changed a lot. We are seeing Welsh used a lot in different domains and Welsh needs to be useful in every domain.”
The number of Welsh speakers has soared in recent years. The Office of National Statistics said the number increased from 726,000 in 2008 to 874,000 in 2018. The Welsh Assembly has also set a goal of one million speakers by 2050.
A TripAdvisor spokeswoman said: “TripAdvisor currently operates in 49 markets and 28 languages worldwide.
“While we are not currently able to host reviews written in Welsh, we are continuously exploring opportunities to expand the number of languages we are able to support on our sites. In order to maintain the integrity of our site, we ensure that every language in which we operate is fully integrated into our moderation and fraud detection tools and processes.
“For this reason, we are not currently able to host reviews written in all of the world’s languages, but as the world’s largest travel site we are constantly exploring opportunities to extend support to additional languages worldwide.”