Translating times for Spa to ENg
Thread poster: danimak

danimak  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:42
Spanish to English
Nov 14, 2008

I had a question of style regarding the translation of time. I noticed that on birth certificates written in Spanish, it is very common to write the time of day in military time and spelled out, for example "a las dieciocho horas". When translating into U.S. English, is it common to replace them with the standard am/pm times and change them to Arabic numerals? ("At 6pm") Or do you preserve the literal translation "at eighteen hours". The latter sounds strange to me.


Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:42
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Think of your reader Nov 14, 2008

The purpose of a translation is primarily so that your target language reader can understand the translation. Preserving the source format is of lesser importance, particularly when it makes the target text awkward or possibly leads to misunderstanding.

Even in the US military, we don't write out military time in words. My personal preference in the case you indicated is to say that the person in question was born "at six in the evening".


Javier Wasserzug  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
military time Nov 14, 2008

I know this is not exactly related to the topic, but I would like to mention that for Europe or Latin America, that time format is not “military time” but just normal, usual. I have noticed that if there is a need to identify a name it is rather “international time”
I say this because I have seen many times that ordinary people do not know what Americans are talking about when they refer to “military time”.

I agree with the answerer before about adapting the time to the target audience.

Una pregunta que yo publiqué fue cambiada de lugar por no coincidir con el idioma correspondiente. Sin embargo esta pregunta está en inglés en la sección "Spanish” del “Non-English forums”. Confuso, ¿no?

[Edited at 2008-11-14 16:25 GMT]


danimak  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:42
Spanish to English
Thanks Nov 14, 2008

Thank you, Paul, for your answer. I was thinking along the same lines as you but wanted to get confirmation from others out there.

Thanks also for posting your agreement, Javier. With regard to your comment about "military time," a good alternative I have seen used is "24 hour format" in case "military time" is not understood. That is strange about your question being moved. You may want to ask one of the moderators why this happened.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Translating times for Spa to ENg

Advanced search

PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search