Languages in Devon

In addition to British Sign Language which is the first language of many Deaf people and Easy Read (for people with learning disabilities), the languages in most demand for translation/interpreting in the Devon County Council area for 2020 have been:

  • Arabic – including audio (e.g. MP3)
  • Bengali
  • Bulgarian  – including audio
  • Chinese (simplified, written)*
  • Farsi
  • Hungarian
  • Kurdish
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (Brazilian)
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Tamil
  • Thai
  • Turkish – including audio
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese (19 in total)

*Mandarin and Cantonese would be needed for any spoken word.

In the past, other popular languages have included:

  • Amharic/Tigrinya*
  • Oromo
  • Albanian
  • Greek

In the UK, the additional three top languages are:

  • Punjabi
  • Gujarati
  • French

In schools, 197 pupils speaking 49 different languages  were supported during 2018/19.  There has been a continued high need for support for Arabic (17%), Polish (16%) and Romanian (7%) speakers as well as an increase in Roma Gypsy families mainly speaking Romanian or Bulgarian as a second language. The Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service at Babcock LDP have also been providing intensive support for unaccompanied asylum seekers at school age – Afghan (Dari/Farsi), Sudanese (Zaghawa) and Vietnamese, and newly arrived Syrian refugee families (Arabic/Kurdish).

Please note: The information above is drawn from local intelligence and can vary from year to year. The County Council does not retain information about demand for translation and interpreting by language in relation to its services and is unable to confirm exact spend on translation and interpreting. This information is different to the spoken languages in the UK and Devon.