Student taking test and police officers sitting next to the student during the driving class at Emirates driving school in Dubai Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: Learner drivers in Dubai can now seek help in translating the questions in their respective languages during knowledge or theory test.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) recently introduced a new service that will help candidates without knowledge of the English or Arabic languages get through the mandatory theory test in their own mother tongues.

According to Arif Al Malik, director of Drivers Training and Qualification at RTA’s Licensing Agency, the service is available in more than 192 languages and dialects as part of the RTA’s efforts to reach out to different nationalities living in Dubai.

Remote translation service

The remote translation service, facilitated by Skype, is an enhancement to the existing knowledge test, which was earlier available only in 10 languages, including English, Arabic, Urdu and Russian.

“The new service will cover almost all leading languages and dialects of the world, accessed through Skype smart technology and is available only with prior booking,” said Al Malik.

Known as the Remote Interpretation System (RIS), the service sources professional translators from across the world who help the candidates understand the questions accurately.

The bookings for the service have to be done seven days before the allotted date of the test for a fee of Dh400.

“Earlier, it was a challenge for us to arrange translators for our candidates, that is why we opted for this solution which has helped us enhance our service. We have access to more than 500 professional translators and the number could grow further,” said Al Malik.

Transparency, accuracy

He added that the system ensures maximum transparency and accuracy with all the conversations recorded to make sure the candidate doesn’t get any more help than required.

“There is no chance of any malpractice, because we have all the conversations recorded and we ensure that the translators only help the candidates in understanding the question,” he added.

So far, more than 300 candidates have opted for the service in 33 languages.

Some of the popular languages include Pushto Amharic [the official language of Ethiopia], Sinhalese, Telugu and Punjabi.