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Thread poster: xxxAnna Blackab
Urdu speakers speaking English
xxxAnna Blackab  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:18
German to English
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May 16, 2007



I am developing some training for public sector organisations to help them communicate better with people whose first language is not English.

For the purposes of the course, I would be interested to know if there are any common mistakes that native Urdu speakers make when they are speaking English or any words/phrases/grammatical constructions that they have difficulty with. An example from another language would be Russian where there is no word for ‘the’ consequently Russian speakers of English often miss out the word ‘the’ when speaking in English. Can you think of any examples of mistakes Urdu speakers might make?

Any response would be gratefully appreciated.

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Qudsia Lone  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:18
Member (2007)
Urdu to English
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Urdu-English Translation mistakes Jun 18, 2009

Urdu also does not have a word for the article "the." I think translators generally do an ok job when translating from Urdu to English, but when translating English text to Urdu I see a lot of translations which miss out on the important message that is generally carried in this little word. A specific instance or word is made to sound very general in the absence of alternate words like "this/that."

Urdu also does not have the article "a" when used to indicate generality. Translator often add the word "one" wherever there is "a" before a word. This is ok in some instances, where indeed "a" referred to "one" but usually the translation sounds silly. E.g. "If cough persists, go for a check up," is often translated in Urdu as "If cough persists, go for one checkup." In cases like these, "a" was to be ignored.

Here's a website that gives some more info:

I once came across a very good site where they discussed some common translation mistakes made by Urdu/Hindi speakers...can't seem to find it now. I think it was by some Indian person. It discussed how some simple phrases have opposite and/or different meanings if translated literally, e.g. "taking an exam," "giving an exam," etc.

I'll see if I can find that and post it later...running late right now.

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tahira rafiq  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:18
English to Urdu
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Urdu speakers mistakes in English Nov 15, 2012

Native Urdu speakers make mistakes when they are speaking English because sometimes, Urdu uses postpositions where English uses prepositions. Also, in Urdu the future tense is required in the dependent clause of a conditional sentense. This results in mistakes like: If you will go there, I will follow you.

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