Indian to American English Translations

Posted On: November 21, 2016

All Englishes are not the same! In some U.S. culture and business English training programs, we look at different uses of English terms between the U.S. and India. While the Indian to American English translations and sentence examples in this post were written by participants of our training programs in India, American team members can surely refer to these sentences to gain a better understanding of how English is used in India, as well. Sometimes, we only think we speak the same language!! This means Americans would also have to learn English as a Second Language (ESL), or at least attempt to globalize their English to be better understood by Indians!



The grid in this post could be printed out and used as a teaching or training tool. Have participants underline or circle the term or terms that differ between similar sentences. Possibly, they can also write their own sentences as well. 

Indian to American English Translations
In training programs we do this in a variety of ways:
An example translation from Indian English to American English.
  1. The class is broken into groups and given 10 post it notes. They choose 5 pairs of word translations, write sentences on the post it notes, and affix it to the wall. After all the groups finish this, they will walk around and look at each other’s sentences. (As in the photo to the right.) 
  2. Pairs or groups (depending on the size of the class) weave these words into sample dialogues they may have on actual conference calls with US customers or clients. In the first round, they weave the American English into the conversation. In the second round, they do a translation or ask the audience to try to identify and translate the words used. 
  3. Individuals would extract emails regularly sent to US customers, clients or colleagues, identify the Indian English terms (and tones) re-writing them to American English to relate to the Americans with more ease. (American colleagues can also learn to do this to better communicate with Indian virtual team members as well!) 
**In scenarios one and two, groups are each given different sets of words, so no two groups have the same series of words. This makes it more important to listen or participate with the other teams/groups.  
Sentence with Indian English Terms
Sentence with American English Synonyms
Another way to say it in conversational English
If you take the bus to office, get down at Main Street.
If you take the bus to work, get off at Main Street.
Can you direct me to the mall?
Can you tell me the way to the mall?
Which way is it to the mall?
I will have my dinner from a nearby hotel.
I will have my dinner from a nearby restaurant.
I’ll eat dinner at a restaurant nearby.
Do you like biscuits?
Do you like cookies?
Do you book tickets online?
Do you reserve tickets online?
Do you get your tickets online?
My native place is Trivandrum.
My hometown is Trivandrum.
I am from Trivandrum.
I enjoyed a lot bunking the class in my college days.
I enjoyed a lot skipping the class in my college days.
I used to have a lot of fun skipping classes when I was in college/school.
She is very homely, I like her.
[No American Replacement – American women may get offended by being called homely.]
Make sure you lift the phone when someone calls.
Make sure you pick up the phone when someone calls you.
I have a doubt regarding the meeting.
I have a question about the meeting.
Can I ask something about the meeting?
I put my luggage in the dicky.
I put my luggage in the trunk.
I completed my B.E. Graduation last year.
I completed my B.E. bachelor’s last year.
I graduated with a bachelor’s last year. / I finished my bachelor’s last year.
I stayed in the college hostel.
I stayed in the dorm.
I lived in the dorm./I lived on campus.
Happy birthday Blesson!
The dustbin is in the corner.
The garbage can is in the corner.
Trash can/wastepaper basket are also used in place of garbage can
I will be sending the email at the earliest.
I will be sending the email as soon as possible.
I will send the email as soon as possible.
I met my batchmate on the train.
I met my classmate on the train.
I saw my classmate on the train.
I used to do home tuitions during my graduation.
I used to go to a tutor when I was in college/an undergraduate.
I used to get extra help in (subject) when I was going to school.
What is your plan today night?
What is your plan tonight?
Are you free tonight?/Do you have any plans tonight?/Wanna do something tonight?
Please revert back to my mail.
Please respond back to my email.
Could you please take a look at the email I sent earlier and respond as soon as you get a chance?
I did my P.G. in Management. (Post Graduation)
I did my Master’s in Management.
I have an MBA.
My son studies in 4th standard.
My son studies in 4th grade.
My son is in the 4th grade.
May I have the scale, please?
May I have the ruler, please?
[In the US, scale is a weighing machine.]
Please rub the board.
Please erase the board.
Where’s the rubber?
Where’s the eraser?
[In the U.S., a rubber is the men’s birth control, or another name for a condom.]
This weekend we are planning to go for trekking.
This weekend we are planning to go for a hike.
This weekend, let’s go on a hike. / Let’s take a hike this weekend.
Today morning I went to church.
You have made very less progress on the issue.
You have made very little progress on the issue.
I noticed there is still a lot of work to be done on this.
I passed out from college in 2006.
I graduated from college in 2006. (Pass out in the US refers to losing consciousness after drinking too much.)
I finished school in 2006. (Americans use the word school to refer to college as well.)
I will inform you later.
I will let you know later.

I will get back to you soon.

More synonyms for “informed” here. 

A fresher joined our team today.
A new guy joined our team today.
There is no direct synonym for “fresher” in American English (a new employee who just graduated from college). It may be very wordy, like, “The new (job title) is a recent graduate from (college name).” or “The new receptionist recently graduated from Harvard University.”
Can I have a glass of plain water?
Can I have a glass of water without ice?
I will be out of station for one week.
I will be out of town for a week.
I need to go to the petrol pump.
I need to go to the gas station.
I paid the school fees yesterday.
I paid tuition yesterday.
I lost my torch while taking out the waste yesterday night.
I lost my flashlight while taking out the trash last night.
I had a telephonic interview.
I had a phone interview.
Where can we go on the following weekend?
Where can we go next weekend?
Can we prepone the meeting?
Can we meet earlier than originally planned?
I am engaged with meetings.
I am busy with meetings.
My schedule is jam packed with meetings./I have back to back meetings all day.
I reached yesterday night at 9pm.
I arrived last night at 9pm.
I got here at 9pm last night.
We are going to the movie today night.
We are going to the movie tonight.
Let’s go to the movies tonight!

*Note: Grammar is not the main focus of the sentence writing activity. The understanding and use of vocabulary is more important.

50 more examples of Indian English to American English Translations 

Feel free to add more examples or translations between American and Indian English in the comments section below. 
Author of this post, Jennifer Kumar has been providing coaching and training targeted to offshore teams in India working in the software industry to interface with US clients with confidence, building your business and client base in the USA. 



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