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♥.