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billion

Arabic translation: مليار أو بليون

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:billion
Arabic translation:مليار أو بليون
Entered by: Nesrin
Options:
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23:41 Dec 18, 2005
English to Arabic translations [PRO]
Bus/Financial - Finance (general)
English term or phrase: billion
Please prove me right on this!
A (US) document I'm proofreading reads "1 billion US Dollars" and has been translated into بليون دولار أمريكي.
Now I KNOW that this is what Al-Mawrid says:
billion: البليون: ((أ)) ألف مليون (في فرنسا والولايات المتحدة). ((ب)) مليون مليون (في انكلترا وألمانيا)
I'm arguing that:
الف مليون = مليار so really al-Mawrid should have said that billion is
((أ)) مليار (في الولايات المتحدة). ((ب)) بليون (في انكلترا
Moreover, even in the UK it is now customary to use the word as in the US, to mean 1000 million (What the Germans and the French say is irrelevant here as they don't speak English). So in my opinion there should be no question that in Arabic that's مليار. But internet results are so ambiguous, and the use of بليون is so widespread in the sense of (US) billion (even a previous Kudoz question demonstrates that http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1127754)! I just think the difference of 999,000 million between one number and the other makes this too important to be left to people's choice!
Sorry, I'm being a chatterbox tonight. Help me sort this out!
check also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billion
Nesrin
Local time: 16:24
It depends on who will use the translated documents
Explanation:
In US documents, a billion is 1,000 million.

Arab translators from Arab countries with French influence (e.g., Syria and Lebanon) prefer to use مليار for this kind of billion, although, from my conversations with many of them, the distinction is not commonly known and comes as a surprise to many of them.

Although Jordan and Palesine are not former French mandate territories, culture in these two countries is heavily influenced by Syria and Lebanon (the Ba'th party attracted a large number to Syrian universites, and Lebanon bacame a haven for many others, either because of attractive opprortunities or because of the third diaspora of 1970). The combined cultural force of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan in turn exercised influence on other countries because of the migration of media- and education-related talent (teachers, TV and radio announcers, translators, and so on).

Here is a telling anecdote: I translated a document for an oil company for distribution in Kuwait. An Arabic-speaking employee of the oil company reveiwed it and inserted this marginal comment: "Billion is `ammiyya; milliard is fus-ha." His conclusion, as funny as it may be, is understandable. He grew up using "billion," but then saw the better-educated Levantine Arabs use "milliard."

In Saudi Arabia, where the English language is heavily US-influenced (primarily Aramco), the standard term is بليون. This is easy to check on the web at the present time because of the hubbub over the sky-rocketing oil prices, the resulting windfall, the new social programs of King Abdullah, and the recent accession to the WTO. Check Al-Watan, for instance, which is fast becoming the newspaper of record in Saudi Arabia. I know because I have just translated many newspaper articles about these issues. The standard term for a thousand million is بليون

Because of the considerable weight of Saudi Arabia in the Gulf region and in the GCC, the term بليون is also commonly used in other Gulf countries, but with less consistency, because of the mixed population in these countries.

The bottom line is that you need to find out where the material will be read and which standard it will express. It will also help to survey newspapers in each country to find out which standard is used.
Selected response from:

Fuad Yahya
Grading comment
Impeccable comprehensive explanation, as usual! Thank you very much! I have to admit I had no idea that the concept of بليون=ألف مليون had crept to the official Arabic language as well (though that's what al-Mawrid suggests). As I said to Dina, the Americans have created this huge problem out of nowhere, by eliminating the word "milliard". I'm sure it led to enormous misunderstandings, not only among Arabic speakers, but e.g. in Germany and all other countries that still use the word "milliard". And - as you said - many people would be surprised to know that there is a difference of 999,000 between "billion" in one sense and "billion" in another! Thanks again!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +2It depends on who will use the translated documentsFuad Yahya
4 +1((أ)) مليار (في الولايات المتحدة). ((ب)) بليون (في انكلترا
Bright Bridge
3 +1I'd go for مليار
Dina Abdo


  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
((أ)) مليار (في الولايات المتحدة). ((ب)) بليون (في انكلترا


Explanation:
that's right Nesrin!

Bright Bridge
Morocco
Local time: 16:24
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic
PRO pts in category: 1
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you Nabil!


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Dr. Wathib Jabouri
3 mins
  -> Thank you Wathib!
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
I'd go for مليار


Explanation:
It doesn't seem of much difference which is used in English, but the one I'd care for is the one used in Arabic.

مليار is the Arabic word, so I'd go for it! Why to use transliteration if we have a word for it?

It's almost 3 am here, so I'm not sure if my answer covers what you need or explains what I mean ... I just see it that simple at this moment :D

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 mins (2005-12-18 23:54:14 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Of course I'm talking about editing the document in your hand. But if you're talking about whether you're info listed above are right or wrong, then Nabil's answer is correct ... you're right :)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 13 mins (2005-12-18 23:55:28 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

your* info (sorry)

Dina Abdo
Palestine
Local time: 18:24
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks Dina :-) I agree with you of course. The problem is that the Arabic means million x million, so it's amazing how often it is now being used to mean 1000 million, just because the Americans (and now the British too) use the word "billion" for it. The Americans should have kept the word "milliard", but they had to ruin it for everyone as usual - but now I'm drifting to politics... good night!


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Alexander Yeltsov
9 hrs
  -> Thanks Alex :)
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

47 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
It depends on who will use the translated documents


Explanation:
In US documents, a billion is 1,000 million.

Arab translators from Arab countries with French influence (e.g., Syria and Lebanon) prefer to use مليار for this kind of billion, although, from my conversations with many of them, the distinction is not commonly known and comes as a surprise to many of them.

Although Jordan and Palesine are not former French mandate territories, culture in these two countries is heavily influenced by Syria and Lebanon (the Ba'th party attracted a large number to Syrian universites, and Lebanon bacame a haven for many others, either because of attractive opprortunities or because of the third diaspora of 1970). The combined cultural force of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan in turn exercised influence on other countries because of the migration of media- and education-related talent (teachers, TV and radio announcers, translators, and so on).

Here is a telling anecdote: I translated a document for an oil company for distribution in Kuwait. An Arabic-speaking employee of the oil company reveiwed it and inserted this marginal comment: "Billion is `ammiyya; milliard is fus-ha." His conclusion, as funny as it may be, is understandable. He grew up using "billion," but then saw the better-educated Levantine Arabs use "milliard."

In Saudi Arabia, where the English language is heavily US-influenced (primarily Aramco), the standard term is بليون. This is easy to check on the web at the present time because of the hubbub over the sky-rocketing oil prices, the resulting windfall, the new social programs of King Abdullah, and the recent accession to the WTO. Check Al-Watan, for instance, which is fast becoming the newspaper of record in Saudi Arabia. I know because I have just translated many newspaper articles about these issues. The standard term for a thousand million is بليون

Because of the considerable weight of Saudi Arabia in the Gulf region and in the GCC, the term بليون is also commonly used in other Gulf countries, but with less consistency, because of the mixed population in these countries.

The bottom line is that you need to find out where the material will be read and which standard it will express. It will also help to survey newspapers in each country to find out which standard is used.

Fuad Yahya
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 80
Grading comment
Impeccable comprehensive explanation, as usual! Thank you very much! I have to admit I had no idea that the concept of بليون=ألف مليون had crept to the official Arabic language as well (though that's what al-Mawrid suggests). As I said to Dina, the Americans have created this huge problem out of nowhere, by eliminating the word "milliard". I'm sure it led to enormous misunderstandings, not only among Arabic speakers, but e.g. in Germany and all other countries that still use the word "milliard". And - as you said - many people would be surprised to know that there is a difference of 999,000 between "billion" in one sense and "billion" in another! Thanks again!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Arabicstart
2 hrs

agree  Dina Abdo
10 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




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