Prior to 2014, anyone who didn’t speak English as their first language was allowed to have an interpreter for their driving test. This interpreter could be someone who was their driving instructor or a family member or friend who spoke the language fluently. You could also pick from a range of languages during your theory test too.
However, these laws changed, and you are no longer allowed an interpreter during your test.
Why Can’t You Have An Interpreter?
The laws changed for a number of reasons. Firstly, the new laws in place help those learn the national language. It can be helpful to communicate fluently in English, not just for the test but beyond.
You might need to communicate with other drivers whilst on the road. There’s also the relevant signs on the road that you’ll need to be able to read.
Taking your practical and theory test in the UK requires you to take the language in English, and that’s your only option. If anything, it’s helpful for non-English speakers to help better their language skills.
One of the main concerns, when it came to interpreters, was that the examiner had no idea whether someone was cheating or not. T
here were restrictions on how often the interpreter could speak, but even then, the examiner wouldn’t know if, during those conversations, they were aiding the learner driver.
Removing the interpreter was an assurance that there would be no cheating at all.
Road safety is obviously very important and when it comes to learning signs, it’s important to be able to read them when they’re in English or Welsh. Driving in the UK for a non-English speaker would be difficult if they didn’t have much knowledge of the English language.
It could put them at risk and risk other driver’s safety too. It makes sure that every student who passes knows exactly how to read road signage properly.
Fewer costs are an advantage when it comes to removing the voiceover element of the theory test. It costs a considerable amount of money to translate exams tests and so saving money is clearly a pro for getting rid of the multiple-choice languages.
Can I Take A Foreign Language Driving Test?
Knowledge and understanding of the English language are essential for taking the theory and driving test. However, it is possible to organise driving instructors in your native language if necessary. It can be easier for you to relax into driving if you have someone who speaks your language and can explain all the manoeuvres properly. Depending on where you go for your driving test, there can be a difficulty when finding a native speaker.
It’s worth enquiring about this before booking in your test, and to explore the areas where you would prefer to take the test too. You should also take note that it shouldn’t cost you any more money to take the test with a foreign language instructor.
What Are The Alternatives To An Interpreter?
Although there’s no getting around having an interpreter during your test, you can still have a friend or family member with you in place of the instructor. This can be really helpful if you’re someone who gets quite nervous and needs that element of reassurance. Having a family member or friend can give you that familiar face when you’re stepping into the car with an examiner. Every examiner will want to put your mind at ease, but even though that’s the case, it’s still nice to have someone you know that’s there silently cheering you along.
It’s also good to have your instructor there if you want them to as an alternative. It’s up to you whether it’s going to mean more pressure or if it puts you at ease. It’s worth talking to your instructor about it to figure out if it’s something that you want to do. You could also make a preference of whether you want a man or woman examiner for your driving test if needs be. If you’re not fussed, then there’s no issue, but if you’d feel more comfortable with a man than a woman or vice versa, then this can be arranged.
Be confident in your driving test, and be sure to take a breather. It’s going to be nerve-racking, but if you take your time and believe in yourself, you’re more than likely to pass the first time. If not, then don’t get yourself down in the dumps. It’ll happen eventually, and everyone is different and acts differently under pressure.