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.


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.


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 in the Global Community of the 21st Century: Part I

Although designing culturally neutral documents is necessary in 21st century writing, documents for translating may be strongly imbedded in the culture of the source document, which makes translation difficult and may easily result in misunderstanding.  To make culturally sensitive translations, Houston Translation Services workers should observe the conventions of the target language and culture. This includes much more than observing patterns of organizing sentences and paragraphs and selecting correct, appropriate vocabulary.  It includes reflecting cultural and national conventions.

Unfortunately for the certified translator, conventions for expressing numbers can differ from one culture to another.  Although we usually think of numbers as standard, they are expressed differently.  Therefore, Washington D.C. translation workers must familiarize themselves with the conventions of each international audience.  They also require translators to make translations as understandable as possible in multiple cultures.

Decimals can be confusing, no matter the country, because there is no universally accepted expression.  In the United States, a period is used to indicate the decimal point, as in thirty-three and five-tenths (33.5).  Countries like Great Britain, Germany, Chile, and others, express the decimal point with a comma (33,5).

Numbers in thousands and larger units are expressed differently around the world.  In the United States, a comma is used to separate hundreds from thousands, from millions, from  billions, etc. (100,000 for 100 thousand or 10,000,000 for 10 million).  In Germany and Great Britain, a period is used (100,000 or 10,000,000).  In other countries, Sweden, for example, a space is used (100 000 or 10 000 000).  Writing out the unit (100 thousand or 10 million), instead of using all numbers, insures understanding.