What Do You Do for a Living Meaning in Hindi: Understanding the Phrase

When it comes to understanding the meaning of phrases in different languages, it is essential to delve into the cultural and linguistic nuances. One such phrase that often arises in conversations is “What do you do for a living?” In this article, we will explore the meaning of this phrase in Hindi, the most widely spoken language in India. We will also discuss the cultural significance of work in Indian society and provide valuable insights into the various ways this question can be interpreted. So, let’s dive in!

The Significance of Work in Indian Society

Work holds immense importance in Indian society, not only as a means of earning a livelihood but also as a reflection of one’s social status and identity. In a country with a diverse range of occupations and professions, the question “What do you do for a living?” is often asked to gauge a person’s social standing and to establish common ground for further conversation.

Indian society places a strong emphasis on education and career choices. Parents often encourage their children to pursue professions that are considered prestigious, such as medicine, engineering, or civil services. This societal pressure to choose a respected profession can sometimes lead to a lack of exploration and limited career options for individuals.

The Meaning of “What Do You Do for a Living?” in Hindi

In Hindi, the phrase “What do you do for a living?” can be translated as “आप क्या करते हैं रोजगार के लिए?” (Aap kya karte hain rozgaar ke liye?). Let’s break down the meaning of this phrase:

  • आप (Aap): This is the polite form of “you” in Hindi, used to address someone with respect.
  • क्या (Kya): This translates to “what” in English.
  • करते हैं (Karte hain): This means “do” or “doing.”
  • रोजगार के लिए (Rozgaar ke liye): This translates to “for a living” or “for employment.”

When combined, these words form the question “What do you do for a living?” in Hindi. It is important to note that the phrase “rozgaar ke liye” specifically refers to employment or work that provides a source of income.

Interpreting the Question

While the literal translation of the question remains the same, it is crucial to understand the cultural context and the various ways in which it can be interpreted in Hindi-speaking society. Here are a few possible interpretations:

1. Inquiring about a Person’s Occupation

The most common interpretation of the question is to inquire about a person’s occupation or profession. In this context, the question seeks to understand the type of work an individual is engaged in and their area of expertise. The response could range from professions like doctor, engineer, teacher, or artist to specific job titles within various industries.

2. Exploring a Person’s Source of Income

Another interpretation of the question revolves around understanding a person’s source of income. This can include both salaried jobs and self-employment ventures. In Indian society, where entrepreneurship is highly valued, individuals often engage in diverse income-generating activities, such as running a small business, freelancing, or working in the gig economy.

3. Assessing a Person’s Social Status

As mentioned earlier, work is closely tied to social status in Indian society. Therefore, the question “What do you do for a living?” can also be seen as a way to assess a person’s social standing. Certain professions are considered more prestigious and may lead to a higher social status, while others may be viewed as less desirable. This interpretation highlights the importance of work in shaping one’s identity and societal perception.

Examples of Responses

Now that we have explored the meaning and interpretations of the question “What do you do for a living?” in Hindi, let’s look at some examples of possible responses:

1. Occupation-based Response:

Person A: “आप क्या करते हैं रोजगार के लिए?” (Aap kya karte hain rozgaar ke liye?)

Person B: “मैं एक डॉक्टर हूँ।” (Main ek doctor hoon.)

Translation: “I am a doctor.”

2. Source of Income-based Response:

Person A: “आप क्या करते हैं रोजगार के लिए?” (Aap kya karte hain rozgaar ke liye?)

Person B: “मैं एक फ्रीलांसर हूँ और लेख लिखता हूँ।” (Main ek freelancer hoon aur lekh likhta hoon.)

Translation: “I am a freelancer, and I write articles.”

3. Social Status-based Response:

Person A: “आप क्या करते हैं रोजगार के लिए?” (Aap kya karte hain rozgaar ke liye?)

Person B: “मैं एक अध्यापक हूँ।” (Main ek adhyapak hoon.)

Translation: “I am a teacher.”


The question “What do you do for a living?” holds significant cultural and social implications in Hindi-speaking society. It goes beyond a mere inquiry about one’s occupation and delves into a person’s identity, social status, and source of income. Understanding the meaning and interpretations of this question in Hindi allows for better cross-cultural communication and appreciation of the diverse range of professions and occupations in Indian society.


1. Is “What do you do for a living?” a common question in India?

Yes, it is a common question in India, especially during initial conversations or when meeting someone for the first time. It helps establish

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