Ipswich: More than 1,000 driving theory tests translated into 16 different languages

More than 1,000 driving theory tests taken in the town were translated into 16 different languages in the last year, new figures have revealed.

The statistics from the Driving Standards Agency following a Freedom of Information request paint a fascinating picture of the increasing diversity in Ipswich – with translators and voiceovers needed for a range of languages, including Kurdish. Tamil and Welsh.

The DSA offers voiceovers for those whose first language is not English or if they don’t read or understand written English well. There were 748 people who required voiceovers in English in 2011/2012 for either car, bike, lorry and bus tests at the Ipswich theory test centre. This was up from 472 in 2009/10.

The next most requested language for 2011/12 was Kurdish, followed by Polish.

The number of candidates requiring an Arabic voiceover or translator increased from just three in 2010/11 to 33 a year later.

There was also a drop in the number of Russian-speaking candidates, from ten in 2010/11 to none in 2011/12.

Figures show there were 87 candidates who needed interpreters for practical driving tests in 2011/12 – down from 123 in 2010/11.

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For both theory and practical tests, the candidates pay for their own interpreter and pay for any fees incurred.

Aubrey Masa, director of Translation and Interpreting Provider Ltd in Ipswich, said: “I am not surprised by the number of languages required.

“We provide different interpreters in Ipswich to help with things like housing and hospital.

“We have recently had an influx of Romanian interpreters needed.

“There are lots of different kinds of migrants in Ipswich.”