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Urdu language – Spreading its wings all over the world


Asalam-u-alaikum – Translate this Urdu word to English to say Hello 


Is English truly the world language? 


At the end of the 19th century, L. L. Zamenhof, the inventor,   had a dream. He proposed Esperanto and dreamt this as a global language to be spoken and understood by everyone. The inventor was hoping that this common language of the world could help resolve global problems responsible for conflicts.  But alas, his wishes remain a pipe dream. Today, English is much more universal. 30 countries have it as an official language, and in many other countries it is taught in school and understood fairly well. The Internet can be expected to further increase the adoption of English. Still, enormous numbers of people can’t speak English. The collected, shared knowledge that makes up the world-scenario is therefore only partly accessible to them. 


Urdu language – Spreading its wings all over the world 


Did you know that there are between 60 and 80 million native Urdu speakers? Besides the more than 160 million who speak Urdu in Pakistan, there is considerable Indian population who communicate in Urdu everyday!   


Some interesting facts about Urdu language 


  • In Pakistan, Urdu is spoken and understood by a majority of urban dwellers in such cities as Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta, Hyderabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan and Sukkur.  
  • Urdu is used as the official language in all provinces of Pakistan.  
  • It is also taught as a compulsory language up to high school in both the English and Urdu medium school systems. This has produced millions of Urdu speakers whose mother tongue is one of the regional languages of Pakistan such as Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Balochi, Siraiki, and Brahui.    
  • Most of the nearly five million Afghan refugees of different ethnic origins (such as Pakhtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Hazarvi, and Turkmen) who stayed in Pakistan for over twenty-five years have also become fluent in Urdu. 
  • In India, Urdu is spoken in places where there are large Muslim majorities or cities, which were bases for Muslim Empires in the past. These include parts of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Bhopal, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Mysore.  
  • Some Indian schools teach Urdu as a first language and have their own syllabus and exams; Indian madrasahs also teach Arabic as well as Urdu.  
  • India has more than 2900 daily Urdu newspapers. Newspapers such as Daily Salar, Daily Pasban, Siast Daily, Munsif Daily and Inqilab are published and distributed in Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. 


Urdu beyond the Asian sub-continent   


  • Outside South Asia, it is spoken by large numbers of workers in the major urban centers of the Persian Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia.  
  • Urdu is also spoken by large numbers of immigrants and their children in the major urban centers of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Norway and Australia. 


Countries with large numbers of Urdu speakers: 


Pakistan (161 million); India (48.1 million); Bangladesh (650,000); United Kingdom (400,000);  Saudi Arabia (382,000); United States (350,000); Nepal (275,000);  

South Africa (170,000 South Asian Muslims, some of which may speak Urdu);  Oman (90,000); Canada (80,895);  Bahrain (80,000);  Mauritius (74,000); Qatar (70,000); Germany (40,000);  Norway (26,950);  France (20,000); Spain (18,000);  

Sweden (10,000); Thailand;  United Arab Emirates; Afghanistan;  Japan;  Fiji;  

Guyana;  Australia;  Denmark; Italy;  New Zealand.  


Translation – A Burning Need   

  For translation from English into Urdu and other Indian Languages


But what makes a good translator?  

  • Native ability in the target language. For example, when you wish to translate English to Urdu, the latter is the target language. 


  • Familiarity with the subject matter under translation, in both the language of origin and the target language. From English to Urdu, proficiency in both is preferred. 


  • Enough understanding of the language of origin, so as to be able to recognize bad language from good. 


  • Knowledge of the target audience and the author's intentions. 


  • Excellent writing and editing skills. 


Why do we need translations? 


The world is shrinking everyday as the systems of communication and information are developing and becoming more and more sophisticated. We are all belonging to the global village. What is happening in California is affecting the small trader in Taiwan.  In the process of such a rapid exchange of information and for the purpose of improving cultural contacts, one thing is inevitable, and that is "translating." This is why there is a need for competent translators and interpreters.  


Furthermore, we know that a nation's culture flourishes by interacting with other cultures. Cultural variety opens our eyes to human rights, but cultural variety can only be recognized through discussions, which leads us back to the major tool for discussion: "language translation."  


Role of a translator in the changing world 


As mentioned earlier, the whole world is undergoing complex changes in different areas such as technology and education. These changes necessarily have an important bearing on systems of higher education, including translator-training programs.  


Training translators is an important task, which needs be given top priority. The service that translators render to enhance cultures and nurture languages has been significant throughout history. Translators are the agents for transferring messages from one language to another, while preserving the underlying cultural ideas and values. 

  For translation from English into Urdu and other Indian Languages

The translator's task is to create conditions under which the source language author and the target language reader can interact with one another as fruitfully as possible. 


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