AR Y FFON/ON THE PHONE

NOTE: The Welsh covered here is what we would call “Colloquial Welsh”, i.e the Welsh that real people speak on the streets. If you have studied any Welsh previously, you may notice some subtle differences in both the spoken and written form – this is totally normal and don’t worry about it. If you’ve learnt “Rydw i” instead of “Dw i”, don’t worry! If you’ve learnt “Roedd” instead of “Oedd”, don’t worry!

The phone! The holy grail of Welsh conversation as some might say. They say that conversation over the phone is a lot harder than face-to-face because you miss the facial movements and the suggestive stances that play a part in how we understand the language, but in some ways because you only hear the voice – it may make it easier for some people?

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The most important thing to remember is that speaking over the phone in Welsh need not be any harder than a face-to-face conversation. The same rules apply! If you don’t understand what someone has just said, feel free to ask them to repeat themselves in the same way you would in a face-to-face conversation.

Plus, one massive added benefit of speaking in Welsh over the phone is the often smaller queue and wait times! Ever tried phoning the HMRC? How long did you wait in the queue? I’ve waited SIX hours in that queue myself on previous occasions…. or at least until I found out that HMRC provide a Welsh language line as well!

After plucking up the courage to call them in Welsh I found myself on hold for 20 seconds at the most and my call was dealt with quickly and professionally by their call centre in Porthmadog.

If you work in a role where you’re expected to deal with customer enquires, this video might help you out and show you some of the things you’ll be hearing.

Ways to speak to companies you know, love (and sometimes hate…) in Welsh

There are many companies who actively encourage their customers to contact them in Welsh, most big companies based in Wales do this – but please find a list below:

Banks
  • Barclays – 0333 202 7450
  • HSBC – 08457 030 304
  • NatWest – 01248 671222
  • Lloyds
    • personal customers – 08450728003
    • business customers – 0845072800
Postal services
  • Post Office –
    • general – 08457 468 469 / 08457 740740
    • textphone – 08456 030 800
  • Parcelforce – 0844 800 5550
Utilities
  • British Gas – 0800 072 8630
  • TV Licensing – 0300 790 6042
  • BT
    • customer services – 0800 800 288
    • directory enquiries – 118 404
  • Welsh Water – 0800 052 6058
  • Scottish Power / Manweb
    • Meter Reading Service – 0845 272 1212 / 0800 027 1138
Transport
  • Trains – 0845 6040 500
  • Traveline Cymru – 0871 200 22 33
  • DVLA – 0300 790 6801
  • DSA/Driving Test – 0300 200 1133
The Public Sector
  • Welsh Government
    • bilingual helpline -08450103300
    • Welsh helpline – 02920 823840
    • calling from abroad – (+44)1443845500
  • Food Standards Agency – 029 2067 8999
  • Visit Wales – 08708 300 306
  • Ofcom – 0207 9813042
  • Sport Wales – 08450 450904
  • Electoral Commission – 029 2034 6800
  • Land Registry – 0844 892 1122
  • VAT – 08450 100 300
  • HMRC – 0300 200 1900
  • Companies House – 0303 1234 500
  • National Library of Wales – 01970 632 800
  • Passport Office – 0300 222 0000
  • Office of National Statistics – 0845 601 3034
  • Pension Service – 0845 6060 275
  • Jobcentre Plus – 0800 0121 888
  • North Wales Police – 0845 607 1001
  • Department of Work and Pensions – 0845 601 4441
    for JSA and ESA – 0345 600 3018
  • Mid & West Wales Fire Service – 0800 389 9297
  • Natural Resources Wales – 0300 065 3000
Parents/children
  • NHS Direct Wales – 0845 46 47 48
  • NSPCC Cymru – 0808 800 5000
  • Child Support Agency – 08457 138 091
  • Women’s Aid – 0808 8010 800
  • Legal Srrvices Commisssion – 0845 345 4 345
  • Disclosure and Barring Service – 0870 9090 223
TV
  • BBC
    • BBC – 03703 500 700
    • Radio Cymru – 02920 322 657
    • Broadcasting House – 02920 322 000
  • S4C
    • viewers’ hotline – 0870 600 4141
    • general: Cardiff – 029 2074 7444
    • general: Caernarfon – 01286 674622

 

If you’ve found this useful and want to develop your Welsh further, head over to the “Learn Welsh/Dysgu Cymraeg” page to learn more.

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