Driving test translations and interpreters may face axe

An L plate Nineteen foreign language voiceovers are available

Related Stories

Foreign language translations and interpreters for people taking their driving test in the UK could be axed.

Ministers have launched a consultation on the change which they believe will boost road safety, help social cohesion and cut costs.

Last year nearly 80,000 requests were made for foreign language theory test voiceovers, or for interpreters.

Transport minister Stephen Hammond said the consultation on the changes would last until 2 April.

The consultation paper "sets out proposals to remove or reduce the language support given to non-English speaking candidates taking theory and practical driving tests".

"It seeks views on whether foreign language voiceovers and interpreters should continue to be provided or whether the statutory driving tests should be conducted only in the National Languages (English and, in Wales, English and Welsh)."

The reasons given are:

  • Road safety - to ensure drivers understand road signs and other advice to drivers
  • Social cohesion - to encourage integration in society by learning the language
  • Reduce fraud - to address issue of interpreters helping with theory test answers
  • Reduce costs - to generate a small saving from not having to annually update voiceovers

The government says its preferred option is to remove all foreign language voiceovers and interpreters from both parts of the driving test, but it is also consulting on doing nothing or removing support from one or other parts of the test.

At the moment pre-recorded voiceovers in 19 foreign languages are available to candidates.

Interpreters are available for other languages, and for the practical part of the test.

In 2011/12, 1.57 million practical car driving tests were carried out, with an interpreter present for 35,000 of them.

Since 2009 nine people have been removed from the list of approved interpreters and 861 test passes revoked.

There is no proposal to remove the English and Welsh voiceovers for candidates with dyslexia or other reading difficulties, or for the use of sign language interpreters.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More UK Politics stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • The AmericansThe good guys?

    A US TV show examining the Cold War is offering a radical revision of history, writes Eric Kohn


  • A person wears a mask at the Vevcani Carnival in MacedoniaThe Travel Show Watch

    The masked Balkan carnival attracting thousands to the streets of Vevcani

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.