Languages in Devon

In addition to British Sign Language which is the first language of many Deaf people, the languages in most demand for translation/interpreting in the Devon County Council area for 2019 have been:

  1. Polish
  2. Arabic
  3. Romanian
  4. Mandarin/Cantonese
  5. Bulgarian

Other popular languages:

  • Bengali
  • Lithuanian
  • Russian
  • Sorani Kurdish
  • Turkish
  • Vietnamese
  • Amharic/Tigrinya*
  • Farsi
  • Dari
  • Oromo
  • Albanian**
  • Greek**
  • Portuguese

However, demand for interpreting could reflect a large volume of conversations with one person or family, not necessarily a large number of people. Sometimes we need to write to or speak to family members in other countries, so the list doesn’t always reflect people living here.

*there was an increase in these languages in 2016/17 due to the arrival of asylum seeking children.

**have seen an increase in these languages (added in 2019)

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 County Council does not retain information about demand for translation and interpreting by language in relation to its services. The information above is drawn from local intelligence.