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Census forms are printed in 57 languages (…including Tagalog, Igbo and Shona)

'Bureaucratic': Census forms have been translated into 57 languages

Census forms will be printed in 57 languages – more than double the number a decade ago.

Taxpayers’ money will be spent translating it into languages used by only a few thousand people in Britain – including Tagalog, Igbo, Tigrinya, Shona and Pashto, it was revealed.

Printing the forms with all the different translations will cost an estimated £50,000 – and the move has been branded ‘time-consuming and bureaucratic’ by critics.

Prime Minister David Cameron had pledged to cut spending on translations to encourage people to learn English.

Hotlines will also be set up to help citizens fill out the forms in the census which is going to cost £482million.

The paperwork will even be translated into Swedish and Dutch – even though almost all the native speakers in Britain are good at English, The Sun revealed.

Seven translations will be produced for different Indian languages.

Charlotte Linacre, Campaign Manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘There is not an endless pot of taxpayers’ money to pay for more administration and documents to be translated in to scores of different languages.

‘There is a huge cost for so much bureaucracy and time spent translating the forms, it’s important that data is collected effectively but it’s crucial that people who come to live and work in the UK are learning English so they can integrate.

‘The Government needs to stop spending so much money on translation across the public sector, in order to relieve taxpayers of this burden.’

Languages like Igbo and Shona are spoken by millions of people round the world – although there are only believed to be a few thousand native speakers living in Britain.

Tagalog – or Filipino – is spoken by an estimated 74,000 people in the UK, there are 5,000 Tigrinya speakers and 100,000 who speak Pashto.

The forms are to be sent out to 22million homes this year.

A spokesman for Downing Street said the Labour government had decided to print the form in so many languages and it could not be reversed.

Promotion of the census costing nearly £7million will include television advertising in nine languages and dialects – Cantonese and Mandarin from China, and Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Sylheti and Hindu from the Indian subcontinent.

Even one-person households will have to contend with 57 questions and 393 tick boxes.

A couple with four children face 272 questions and 918 tick boxes, with more to cope with if they have visitors on the census night of March 27.

People can expect to be asked how many bedrooms, bathrooms, cupboards and conservatories they have, and what central heating they use.

A question on religious belief is voluntary, but detailed information on ethnicity, colour and language spoken is not.

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February 25, 2011 - Posted by | Census, David Cameron, UK Government | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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