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Hold your tongue

5 February 2013

Hold on to your tongues, the Government is proposing to remove foreign language support for those taking the driving theory or practical tests.stop_sign

In a consultation, the Driving Standards Agency has said that it would like to completely abolish foreign language support, since it costs the Agency some £25 million a year to maintain the 19 foreign-language voiceovers, and provide interpreters, and the DSA is not legally obliged to provide language assistance, only to provide tests in English and Welsh, and voiceovers for those with dyslexia or other reading difficulties.

The DSA argues that removing language support would:

  • improve road safety: drivers who pass using an interpreter or voiceover may not understand road signs.
  • reduce fraud: since 2009, nine interpreters have been found to have helped those taking theory tests beyond translating the questions, resulting in 861 test certificates being revoked.
  • improve social cohesion: removing voiceovers or interpreter support could mean that greater numbers of people would learn English or Welsh.

They present four options for change:

  1. Remove all voiceover and interpreter language support, except the mandatory support for those with dyslexia or other reading difficulties.
  2. Remove voiceovers on the theory test, but retain the use of interpreters for both theory and practical tests.
  3. Remove interpreters from both theory and practical tests, but keep voiceovers for theory tests.
  4. Keep everything the same as it is currently.

So what do you think? Is this money well spent, or should it be money well saved?

If you’d like to contribute to the consultation, you can respond online here. (Don’t be put off by the fact there are 11 pages to the questionnaire, there are only a few questions, and the rest of the pages simply repeat the text of the consultation.) Responses must be submitted by the end of April.

For those who like to get down in the details, the consultation is available here, and the related impact assessment is here.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. 1 March 2013 5:09 pm

    I think the DSA should remove all language assistance asap, this in my opinion would improve road safety dramatically.
    Nigel Farmer

  2. 1 March 2013 6:21 pm

    I think foreign language support should be removed as People settling here need English to apply for residence and as such I feel the money could be better spent on road safety.

  3. 2 March 2013 11:08 am

    Only in English and Welsh with voiceover in English. I’m all with savings and to cut down on fraud. I bet other countries don’t offer everything in almost all languages like the UK always does but should not need to do so.

  4. 5 March 2013 6:26 am

    Totally agree, money could be used in a much better way

  5. 31 May 2013 6:28 pm

    if someone needs language support for the test who will support them when they are alone

  6. L Dee Picks permalink
    7 July 2013 10:55 pm

    If i were going to a foreign country i doubt very much that any availability of translation for the purpose of passing that countries test would be free. You would have to pay mega bucks. I do know that most people coming into the UK can drive for a full year WITHOUT passing a UK test even if the country they have come from does not have a satisfactory driving test. Some countries you only need to be able to drive forward to pass the test. Reversing just isn’t included. So my opinion. If they want it let them pay for it and they shouldn’t be allowed to drive unless the standards in their home countries matches ours!!!

  7. 14 August 2013 11:41 am

    For me it is a safety issue. It has to be. If people need a translator to read signs properly, then they’re not always going to have that option when driving around normally. I support this.

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