Series Post on Driving: Part I. How to say “Driver’s License” in Chinese?

√  Are you guys good drivers?

√  When did you get your driver’s license?

√  Do you know the differences between taking a driving test in China and taking the test in the U.S.?

√  Do you want to know how to say “driver’s license” in Chinese?

Street Sight in St. Augustine

Heavy but Neat Traffic in St. Augustine

Today’s Chinese-learning topic is related to a very important living skill – DRIVING.  

Before I came to the U.S., I passed the driving test in China and got my Chinese driver’s license. I passed my written test about a week ago here in Gainesville, Florida. During my preparation for my driving test here, I found some similarities and several interesting differences between taking a driving test in China and the U.S. 

I guess you guys might be curious about my findings, so I would love to share with you the SIMILARITIES part while teaching you guys the Chinese saying for “driver’s license” in today’s class. Don’t worry, the DIFFERENCES part will be covered in the next post.

Drivers License Office in Gainesville, Florida

The Drivers License Office, 5830 North West 34th Street Gainesville, FL 32653

A “driver’s license” is translated as 驾照 in Chinese. Please follow the audio below to practice pronouncing 驾照.

Chinese Characters for "Driver's License"

Similarities in Taking A Driving Test in China and the U.S.

1. DMV.

I guess you guys must be familiar with DMV, which is short for Department of Motor Vehicle.  This department is in charge of the driving test and issuing the driver’s license in both China and the U.S.. This place is also where the want-to-be drivers schedule the test appointment, get the official driver’s handbook and take the driving test.

2. The Written Test.

The written test section is only one part of the driving test in both China and the U.S. It is not actually a real “written” test since people taking the test will complete this section on a computer. This computer-based test examines the want-to-be drivers of the general knowledge about the traffic rules, the meaning of traffic signs, and some basic first aid skills. People in the U.S preparing for the written test can refer to the official driver’s handbook, which is the same in China, or attend a traffic school.

3. The Traffic School.

Same as in the U.S., there are traffic schools in China as well, where people pay for lessons to get instructions on how to pass the driving test.

(I will cover more about the traffic schools in the DIFFERENCES part.)

4. The Written Test Prior to the Road Test.

In both China and the U.S., you can’t take a road test unless you pass the written test first. In China, the DMV will have a record of one passing the written test; whereas in the U.S., the want-to-be drivers will receive a learner’s permit as a prove for having passed the written test. However, it might take up to a month before one receives the real learner’s permit. Instead, a lot of people choose to take the tiny white receipt rather than waiting for the learner’s permit, especially when they decide to take the road test shortly after. 

Xuan's and her friend's White Receipts

Xuan's and her friend's White Receipts

Interesting, huh? 

I am always excited about discovering all these fascinating cultural differences, which is also the fun part during foreign language learning. Hope you enjoyed today’s lesson. Please come back and check for the DIFFERENCES part in the next post. :)

Got more interesting experience preparing for your driver’s license or taking the driving test to share with us?
Know more about taking a driving test in other states in the U.S.?
Your comments and ideas are warmly welcomed from the bottom of my heart!
by Xuan♥.


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Ready to Learn Reading and Writing Chinese Characters?

Language is a very important part of any culture since it can keep record of and be counted as the reflection of a culture’s evolution and development.

Do you…?

^ Do you want to get closer to the Chinese culture?

^ Do you want to learn to read and write Chinese from the very first step?

^ Do you want to know how to read and write Chinese characters?

^ Do you want the skills necessary to do more self-learning after you have mastered elementary Chinese?

If so, you are at exactly the right place!

Follow Me!

Follow Me!

Welcome to “The Path to Chinese Characters” (let this be for a while before anything better comes up)!

There are lots of people who have a strong desire to learn Chinese as their second language. According to my findings, the Chinese learning blogs and websites focus more on pinyin (a concept we will cover later in the learning) other than how to actually write the characters. Since I have been practicing Chinese calligraphy since I was six, I can simply and effectively teach you how the strokes in Chinese characters are written. My blog will give you access to Chinese language instruction featuring over both reading and writing without the fuss of going to class or paying tuition!

Here in “The Path to Chinese Characters” blog, you will be exposed to instructions on both reading and writing Chinese. As to the reading part, you will learn not only what the pinyin is, but also how the pinyin is formed. You will learn how the twenty-six English letters are pronounced in pinyin and how the four intonations should be pronounced; As to the writing part, you will learn what the writing order is like for every single stroke that forms the Chinese characters, Chinese grammar and Chinese punctuations.”)

To sum up, I will begin teaching starting from the elementary-level, to give you a foundation of basic skills and knowledge needed to learn Chinese. From here you will be able to design your own learning if you want to learn more.

You, of course, won’t be alone!

I will invite some of my American friends, the Chinese majors, to our “classes”. We will be having them to talk about how they learn Chinese and what suggestions they will give to the starters. I will also link you to some Chinese learning blogs and websites, which I find helpful.

Well, Well…A Little Bit about ME

Well, about the blogger, me, I guess that’s also something you might be interested in. I am Xuan Tian, a first-year journalism graduate student from the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. I am from Hebei Province, China. My first name is pronounced as [xuan] with a second raising tone. Do you think yourself getting the pronunciation of [xuan] right? Most of my (non-Chinese) friends can’t get it right when they try to pronounce it at the first time. But I am sure that all of you will know well how to pronounce it after you start your journey of Chinese learning with me by following or subscribing to this blog.

I am into journalism and mass communications. I have done a lot of hosting and broadcasting in both Chinese and English since my high school. I maintained three radio programs of my own in a provincial broadcasting and television bureau since my second year in college. I love singing English songs, especially Christina Aguilera’s, Kelly Clarkson’s and Celine Dion’s songs.

Things You Need to Know Before Getting On Board…

Actually here are a few points I think you should know before our “classes” start:

1: Learning Chinese is a long, profound process, which takes time, effort and maybe confidence. Such persistence is required when you are learning any language.  Remember, you really, really need repeated practice.

2: You will go through a hard time learning “accent issues” due to the four intonations in Chinese. I cannot guarantee that everyone will take the same length of time

3: Being able to speak Chinese well doesn’t necessarily mean you will also be close to a high level of writing Chinese characters. You will find out why later in the learning.

4: The pinyin, which incorporates the exact same twenty-six English letters with much distinguishing pronunciations.

Ready? Go!

Let’s work together for a wonderful and challenging experience learning Chinese !