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Old 05.03.2020, 15:48
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Practical driving exam in English OR with translator

Hello, I am doing my research on the topic since about a day and I just cannot find a proper answer. I could not find it even here, although there are discussions on it but no one gave a 100% sure, straightforward answer. But correct me and please send me a link for it if I am wrong. Thank you.

The issue is the following: I do not have a driving license at all. I have already finished all courses that I need, the theory test is done, I have my provisional license and I am taking driving lessons since a month. So far everything was in English. I would like to take the PRACTICAL (not the theory!) driving exam in English. I live in Geneva and I do not speak French as I just moved. In Geneva canton it is not possible to do it in English nor with a translator. Luckily, I can request to do the exam in a different canton. So I checked the websites of the official vehicle service of some cantons. I must say, the language of the exam is really not a topic on those websites that I have checked so far... After some time I just gave up and though maybe someone can help here.

The question: Do you know any canton in Switzerland where I could take the PRACTICAL driving exam in English or with a translator?

I really appreciate your help.
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Old 05.03.2020, 16:28
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Re: Practical driving exam in English OR with translator

See here. https://www.englishforum.ch/transpor...h-dl-bern.html
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Old 05.03.2020, 16:50
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Re: Practical driving exam in English OR with translator

Thank you for the link, but this discussion is on the theory exam that I already passed in English. I would like to have some news on the PRACTICAL test!

In any case, I started to email all cantons with this question. If they answer I will provide some information for those who are struggling with this issue as it is very hard to find any info in it.
The point is that Geneva, Zurich, Bern, all very international cities, so far everything was possible in English, I got very surprised that the rejected my claim in Geneva.
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Old 05.03.2020, 17:25
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Re: Practical driving exam in English OR with translator

I live in Baden and had my practical driving exam (converting my non EU license) on 29th Jan 2020. I do not speak German but my driving instructor taught me the basic words in German for stuff like directions, manuovres etc.
On the day of the exam, my instructor came with me (since I was using his car) and told the examiner that I dont speak much German and the examiner was ok with this and spoke some English to convey what he wanted. I passed.

So frankly, if you ask for English legally they wouldnt oblige but usually the examiner would manage with some English or you could learn what the basic stuff in spoken in French and you should be good.
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Old 05.03.2020, 17:35
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Re: Practical driving exam in English OR with translator

Thanks a lot for sharing your experience!

My driving teacher also said that for DL exchange you can hire a translator, but not if you have no experience at all (in Geneva). So what you say seems to be absolutely correct from their side, in terms of normal procedure.

From now on, we will try to do the directions on French. But my main concern is if the examiner would ask me about a specific task, e.g. make an emergency break, or show how you are parking, etc... If there is no other possibility I will learn these phrases as much as possible, but on the day of the exam, it is not guaranteed that we will be able to actually communicate properly.
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Old 05.03.2020, 17:40
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Re: Practical driving exam in English OR with translator

As far as I am aware there is no possibility to do the practical driving exam in English nor have a translator if you are learning from scratch.

There is no small talk during the exam so try to concentrate on learning all the french phrases they will use to instruct you on where to go and which manoeuvres they want you to carry out.
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Old 07.03.2020, 07:54
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Re: Practical driving exam in English OR with translator

Short answer, no. Unlike the theory test which you could take in English at certain cantons, the driving test is in the language of the examiner that will accompany you.



However, having said that, if the examiner knows little English then you should be fine because even if s/he is not a fluent speaker, all what they'd need mostly to do is to tell you basic words (straight, park here, left...etc).


My suggestions:



1- I second what was said before, learn the basic words in French, straight, left, reverse..etc.


2- If possible, book you driving test via a driving instructor with whom you had your lessons. If so, on the test day ask your driving instructor to give a word to the examiner that your French is not so good and that if s/he could be kind enough to consider that during the exam.




Good luck
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Old 07.03.2020, 13:31
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Re: Practical driving exam in English OR with translator

A question: Do you think it is safe for you to be a novice driver with absolutely no knowledge of the local language?
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Old 07.03.2020, 14:08
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Re: Practical driving exam in English OR with translator

Quote:
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A question: Do you think it is safe for you to be a novice driver with absolutely no knowledge of the local language?
Sure why not?

Plenty of us have driven in countries of which we spoke none of the local languages. Heck if I drive in Tessin or Lausanne I already understand nothing of the local language.
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Old 12.03.2020, 09:25
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Re: Practical driving exam in English OR with translator

Thank you for all the help and for answering this question straightforwardly. You gave me good suggestions and it is very good to know that there is no chat during the exam!
My instructor is very helpful and he already told me that some examiners speak a little English, so I might get lucky. But we anyway practice in French now.

Also, I agree that if you move to a city for long term it is better to speak the language anyway. Only that it is just a pity if a good driver fails the exam only because of the language. I am learning French since about 5 months but it is a very difficult language, improvement is slow if you learn parallel to a full time job. Plus, we don't really learn these driving terms in a normal course.
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