Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Can you read that license plate?

The following table comes from a release by the Department of Transport under the Freedom of Information Act, and I thought it might be interesting when put in comparison to Gordon Brown's comments to the Commons Liaison Committee in 2007 when he said that immigrants to the UK, "should be able to speak the English language".

Or perhaps Jacqui Smith's comments in the same year that immigrants "need to integrate into our country, learn English and use our language." She also noted that she wanted to" make speaking English a requirement for all those coming in to the UK to do lesser skilled work and we will be looking at extending this requirement to those who come to the UK to do low skilled work as well."

Joined-up Government huh? The arse says one thing and the elbow does another. Purely as an aside, I was rather tickled by the fact that there were only 20 people who took their driving theory test in Welsh.

It's gets funnier though, the DVLA (that's the people that give out driving licenses in case you didn't know) have apparently translated documents into the following:

Yep, you saw that right - assuming you're not blind - they translated DVLA documents into Braille. They also can't spell Mandarin, and a mysterious new language called "Telephone" is in there. Modems with driving licenses? The Rise of the Machines! Hasta la vista.... baby.
Source Document

15 comments:

Terence Eden said...

Just because you're registered blind, doesn't mean you can't be the legal owner of a vehicle.

While it's interesting that ~75,000 test were taken in languages other than English - what's that as a percentage of total tests taken?

Hatstand said...

They can't spell Mandarin: you can't spell 'licence'...

comme ci, comme ca.

dizzy said...

Yes I can, I prefer the American spelling.

dizzy said...

@Terence Eden - sense of humour bypass?

Croydonian said...

And what in 'tarnation is 'Gujuarti'?

Forlornehope said...

What does this all cost? I've done some technical translation, when I was a student, it pays really good money and that doesn't include publishing and marking it all. I suspect that this is one of those "tip of the iceberg" examples. How much futile, expensive translation is being done by the government?

Anonymous said...

based on those stats- what next?
Remove all the Welsh road signs and substitute signs in Urdu?

They don't get it do they. Come and live in our country? Speak English first!

John Leighton said...

When it comes to written documents, there is no such language as Mandarin ( or Cantonese, or other dialects of Chinese ).

In it's written form, the language is Chinese, and comes, broadly speaking, in Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese flavours. Traditional broadly is used in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, and simplified in the PRC, and in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Surely people can integrate better if they can get around first - most of the signs are international anyway.

So what do we do with foreign drivers who cannot speak English - make them learn before allowing them to drive. That would be a good way of emptying the supermarkets!

I only speak in grunts said...

How i detest this government. How can it be that you can take a test in this country in a language other than English? Stupid, stupid stupid.

Ron Knee said...

THAT HAVING BEEN SAID I took a driving test in Germany (whilst the holder of an expired UK driving licence) and I was able to take the written test in English, not that I took advantage of the option.

However, I should like to take the opportunity to re-take my test in "telephone". Presumeably I would not have to leave the comfort of my own desk. Indeed, a boon to those poor people who suffer with the debilitating condition known as agraphobia...

Bonetired said...

No klingon? shame !!

jconnell said...

Just because a person might take a test in their first language does not mean that they cannot speak English. If you had lived in another country for a while and learnt the language but were then presented with a test in which a mistake in the sentence structure might cost you the test, would you not choose the language that you know best?

Guy Herbert said...

This says more about the idiocy of the written theory test than anything else. It has absolutely no relevance to whether someone is a safe driver or not, nor to whether they can understand road signs, which use a limited vocabulary and symbols for the very good reason that a high proportion of the native population is close to illiterate.

The theory test means those latter, for whom "driver" was previously a viable occupation as well as a desirable status, are more likely to be out there somewhere either unlicensed and without insurance, or ghost-tested.

Pogo said...

Anonymous 20-May-2009 13:32:00...

based on those stats- what next?
Remove all the Welsh road signs and substitute signs in Urdu?
You've obviously never been to Birmingham...