Public address system messages
What does the law say?
All companies and public or private entities that offer public services, such as transport, supplies or communication, should use at least Catalan in their public address system messages (article 31.1 of Law 1/1998 on linguistic policy).
Non-fulfilment may be penalised by the sanctions provided for in Law 22/2010 on the Catalan Consumer Code.
There are also various obligations in other Catalan-speaking territories:
In Andorra all the in public address system messages in shops, companies and businesses have to be in Catalan.
The law establishes the obligation to use at least Catalan in the public address system messages of all establishments and companies open to the public (article 21 of the Law regulating the use of the official language of the Principality of Andorra). Accordingly, there is an obligation for public address system announcements or messages to be made in Catalan in commercial establishments, public companies, sports centres, clubs, ski resorts, concerts, shows and any other place or activity open to the public (unless they involve internal messages intended for a particular non-Catalan-speaking linguistic group).
What would a good practice be in this regard?
In addition to the legal provisions:
- All information announced over a public address system should be at least in Catalan, which should be the first language used, regardless of the type of establishment or service. In fact, except in isolated cases of specific targets (for example, messages addressed to tourist groups or specific linguistic groups), Catalan may perfectly well be the only language used in public address system messages. In this regard, a distinction should be made between three types of messages that can be announced in this way:
- General messages for all customers or users.
The public address system message should be at least in Catalan. Generally speaking, there is no need to use another language unless specific targets are to be addressed (in which case Catalan should also be used).
- Messages addressed to a specific customer (mostly notices) if the customer is known not to understand Catalan.
If we know that the respective customer or user's language is not Catalan and that this person may not even understand it, then it is only natural that another language be used. Nevertheless, since the message is a public one, Catalan should also be used for the sake of the company's image.
- Messages intended for workers but which may also be heard by customers or users.
in this case the use of PA messages is called for in Catalan for the sake of consistency vis-à-vis customers. Consequently, such messages should be announced in Catalan.