BMV to offer driving tests in several languages

(WISH Photo, file)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) BMVs across the state are adding 11 different languages to their driving tests.

It’s an effort to make the system more user-friendly for customers whose first language isn’t English and to attract more jobs and students to Indiana.

The system was first installed in Indianapolis and locally in Waynedale Wednesday. Branches with touch screen computers will be next.

Within the next couple of weeks, Pine Valley, New Haven, Decatur, Columbia City and Auburn will have 11 different language options.

The tests will be offered in the following languages:
• Arabic
• German
• Simplified Chinese
• Spanish
• Burmese
• Japanese
• Punjabi
• Vietnamese
• Chin
• Korean
• Russian

Bluffton, Huntington, Albion, Kendallville, Angola and LaGrange don’t have those computers and therefore, won’t have that option, for now. However, computers will be added in phases.

Officials with the BMV said they have received several requests for more languages over the years.

While some people from foreign countries passed, others didn’t, which created long lines.

“You had people unnecessarily talking tests multiple times, even though they knew the rules of the road, simply because they were getting caught up on the language,” said Don Snemis, Commissioner of the BMV.

The skill test will not change.

“It really isn’t a problem for those people to be able to recognize a limited number of signs and so forth in English,” said Snemis.

It’s a decision that the BMV says will ultimately attract more business and students to the state.

“We think it also sends a message to the international community that Indiana is a great place to put a business or to come to school and we think that’s the most important part of all of this,” said Snemis.

The choice of translations was primarily based on an Indiana Department of Education list of languages, via an Indiana Youth Institute study, spoken as the primary language in Indiana households other than English.

Once the translations are completely phased in, a complete list of branches will be listed on provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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