Translating Currencies, Dates and Decimals

Although you might think that rules for articulating data such as weights, measurements, time, dates, and locations would be rather important, they are frequently stated with limited commonality across borders and cultures and often lead to uncertainty and disbelief. People from other places will try to influence and shape your style of writing and speaking. Your understanding of various rules and measurements, and your desire to adjust to foreign cultures will enable you to diminish their endeavors. As a Chinese Houston translation worker, your employer might have specific rules concerning the way that data should be presented internationally. In the event it your company has specific rules, looking at currency symbols, dates and other items that are detailed in future blog posts might be advantageous in your own thinking about how to communicate with readers and listeners of cultures different from your own.

Currency Symbols

Types of currency range from the Angolan New Kwanza (AON) to the Zambian Kwacha (ZMK).  One San Francisco translation worker indicated that when you need to express a type of currency, you should always specify the type.  The place where you put the currency symbol, before the value or after the value, is also important because it can be different based on the country.

Dates

The recommended way to list dates is to spell it out instead of using a numerical equivalent because the ordering for the numeric format often varies throughout the world.  For example, in the United States, the date is generally expressed month, day year and in Japan, the date is expressed in a year, month and day format.

Decimals

The treatment of decimal places also varies by country and most spreadsheet applications are designed to accommodate the differences.  However, you need to check on the format that is familiar to your audience.  In the United States, it is customary to use a period to represent a decimal whereas most parts of Europe and South America used commas.

Translating Documents with Dates and Times

Cultural conventions for expressing dates and times may cause lack of understanding.  Because the conventions differ, the professionals in the Arabic Translation Portland company must observe conventions of source documents and target readers to insure that dates and times are clear to readers in different cultures .   Although most persons understand that conventions vary internationally from country to country, they may not realize that conventions may differ within a country.  Thus expressing dates and time clearly is particularly important tor translators.

Dates may be a source of confusion because conventions for the sequence of the day, the month, and the year differ greatly from country to country.  Therefore, the Chicago Russian Translation worker should write dates in long form.   In the United States, the date is typically written as month, day, and year (December 5, 2012); but in most of the rest of the world, dates are written as day, month, and year (5 December 2012).  Clearly a date written as 5/12/2012 might mean December 5 in one country or May 12 in another country.  Further confusing to some readers, in Japan, the year appears first, followed by the month and day (2012 December 5 or 12/12/5).  Thus writing dates in full should be the standard  to prevent errors in understanding that might cause disastrous results.

Time can also create confusion.  Usually in the United States, time is expressed in 12- hour periods that indicate day or evening.  For example, 9:30 in the morning (ante meridian, or before noon) may be indicated with any of the following abbreviations:  9:30 A.M., 9:30 a.m., or 9:30 am.  Times after noon (post meridian) may be expressed as 9:30 P.M., 9:30 p.m., or 9:30 pm).  In addition, the US military, like almost all other countries in the world, always expresses time in a 24-hour format.  Military time appears as 09:30 or 0930.  Other countries separate the hour from minutes by a colon (09:30) or a period (09.30) or no punctuation at all.  Consistently new days begin at midnight.

Sometimes New York Legal Translation workers must also indicate time zones to insure clarity.  Countries with multiple time zones that follow idiosyncratic boundaries must list the zone to insure accuracy and clarity.  When times are seasonally adjusted for daylight time (for example, 9:30 a.m. CDT, or Central Daylight Time) or standard time (9:30 p.m. EST, or Eastern Standard Time), translators must also indicate the appropriate zone and adjustment.

Translating in the Global Community of the 21st Century: Currency, Time, Dates, Measurements, and Places

Although all of these elements are critically important in communication, they vary from country to country—and sometimes within a country—and thus can cause misunderstanding and confusion.

Dates are another source of confusion.    Because the conventions for the sequence of the day, the month, and the year differ greatly from country to country, the certified Chicago Translation worker should write them out in long form.   In the United States, the date is typically written as month, day, and year (December 5, 2012); but in most of the rest of the world, dates are written as day, month, and year (5 December 2012).  Clearly a date written as 5/12/2012 might mean December 5 in one country or May 12 in another country.  In Japan, the year appears first, followed by the month and day (2012 December 5 or 12/12/5).  Because the document may be intended for readers of multiple nationalities, the date written out in full, whatever the sequence,will prevent errors in understanding that might cause disastrous results.

Currency symbols and names can cause great confusion, and not just in understanding rates and values.  For example, currency symbols may appear before or after the sum.  In the US, Great Britain, and Europe, the symbols precede the number, as follows: $100 (US dollars), £100 (British pounds), and €100 (European Common Market Euros).  The  pre-Euro currencies of France and Germany, however, have the symbols placed after the number, as follows:  100 F (French francs) and 100 DM (deutsche marks).

Another problem for some Baltimore Translation workers arises from different kinds of currencies with the same name.  In such a case the kind of currency must be identified, unless the context guarantees clarity.  For example, dollars range from American ($100 US or USD) to Hong Kong ($100 HK or HKD) to Zimbabwe ($100 ZWD), along with many other national dollars.

Measures are expressed mainly in one of two major standards:  the metric and the imperial.  Around the world almost every country except the United States has adopted the metric system.  Even the US, however, is using the metric system more and more in government and business contexts.  Thus documents may need to express measures in both forms to guarantee accuracy of understanding, and the certified translator may need to insert the equivalent measure.  Here are examples:

  •              An average adult Gekho is approximately 14 inches (36 cm) long.
  •             The cylinder weighs nine pounds (4 Kilograms)
  •             The storage capacity of the tank is approximately 378 liters (approximately 100 US gallons.)

Also keep in mind that clothing and shoe sizes follow no universal sizes.