"US Spanish" rules for numbers???
Thread poster: Mariana Lucia Sammarco

Mariana Lucia Sammarco  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 21:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 1, 2009

Hello everybody,

Yesterday a client asked me to translate a document from English into "US Spanish" with a particular emphasis on "amounts" (of money).

I always apply the Spanish language grammar rules for numbers and amounts (English: 2,000 - Spanish: 2.000,00).

BUT some of my clients in the US ask me to use "English numbering" (to keep it as 2,000 for instance).

So I asked my client again if he had any preference and he said, just use the "US Spanish rules for amounts".

My question is:

Do my colleagues translating from English into Spanish that is used by the Hispanic community in the US respect the Spanish rules for amounts?

Or

Is there a standard for this matter that I am not aware about?

Thank you!

MLS


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:41
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same as English I reckon Dec 1, 2009

In my opinion, in US Spanish it would be odd to use conventions other than the English ones. I would use the same separators as in the English text.

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FarkasAndras
Local time: 01:41
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Probably English Dec 1, 2009

I'm not at all qualified to decide this one. All I can contribute is that some Mexican engineers I worked with corrected me during an interpretation job; I said "ocho coma cinco" for 8 and a half and they said it should be "ocho punto cinco" and "ocho coma cinco" makes no sense to them. Obviously, they had taken over the English conventions from the US. I'm guessing this is more widespread in the countries close to the US and less common in, say, Argentina.
I expect "US Spanish" should use English number conventions.

So, am I talking nonsense here?


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xxxAguas de Mar
There is not only one Spanish rule to separate decimals and thousands in numbers Dec 1, 2009

People in Mexico and other Central and South American countries use a point to separate decimals, and a comma to separate thousands: 2,000.00 or 2,000,000.00. This happens to be the same style used by US English. "US Spanish" follows the same convention.

The DPD mentions the above in its entry for "punto" (4.4). I had a list of which LA countries use a point to separate decimals and which ones use a comma, but I have not been able to find it for a while. I'll look it up again to see if I can post it here.

Other countries, like Spain and Argentina, use the opposite style: 2.000,00

If your document is for a US Spanish audience, I believe you should use the first option.

P.S.: I do not believe that Mexico, for instance, has taken over US conventions due to its close neighborhood with the country. Ever since my grandmother's time, when few people spoke English in Mexico, the usual style has been "ocho punto cinco", and not "ocho coma cinco". So I do not think that, at least in this instance, the style can be attributed to US influence.

[Edited at 2009-12-01 13:34 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-12-01 13:46 GMT]


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xxxAguas de Mar
Found a list elsewhere: Dec 1, 2009

"En cuanto a los países de habla hispana, los que usan el punto para los miles, y la coma para los decimales son Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Perú, Uruguay, Venezuela y España. Los que usan la coma para los miles y el punto para los decimales son: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Puerto Rico y República Dominicana.!"

Thre is also a very interesting discussion: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_Discusión:Manual_de_Estilo_-_Números

[Edited at 2009-12-01 14:05 GMT]


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Carla Selyer  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:41
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Target country style is important Dec 1, 2009

Aguas de Marco wrote:

People in Mexico and other Central and South American countries use a point to separate decimals, and a comma to separate thousands: 2,000.00 or 2,000,000.00. This happens to be the same style used by US English. "US Spanish" follows the same convention.

The DPD mentions the above in its entry for "punto" (4.4). I had a list of which LA countries use a point to separate decimals and which ones use a comma, but I have not been able to find it for a while. I'll look it up again to see if I can post it here.

Other countries, like Spain and Argentina, use the opposite style: 2.000,00

If your document is for a US Spanish audience, I believe you should use the first option.

P.S.: I do not believe that Mexico, for instance, has taken over US conventions due to its close neighborhood with the country. Ever since my grandmother's time, when few people spoke English in Mexico, the usual style has been "ocho punto cinco", and not "ocho coma cinco". So I do not think that, at least in this instance, the style can be attributed to US influence.

[Edited at 2009-12-01 13:34 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-12-01 13:46 GMT]


Hi, I agree - localise as much as possible - if your target audience is US Spanish, then you should follow the convention of that target audience. But always confirm that this is what your client wants.


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Mariana Lucia Sammarco  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 21:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all for your posts Dec 1, 2009

I see that all of you agree on this.
I had been researching and found out about the differences in Latin American countries but could not decide what to do with US Spanish.
Now I see what the use is and I'm happy about it.
Thanks!


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 19:41
Member
Spanish
+ ...
Localization is based on country Dec 1, 2009

I don't known if there are any exceptions but at least in this case, the localization is based on the country.

In the US, that's not only true for numbers, it's the same for dates (mes/día/año and not día/mes/año) or addresses (Philadelphia, not Filadelfia). Although, if the name of a city is part of the text and not in the address, it should be translated most of the times. Also the word 'billion' should be translated as 'billón' (per the US Government), but in order to avoid confusion, I prefer to add a brief clarification, i.e. 'un billón (mil millones)'.

[Edited at 2009-12-01 15:33 GMT]


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:41
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Claudia is right Dec 1, 2009

Numbers, dates, and addresses. I must add, however, that names of cities are translated as long as they have an official equivalent in Spanish, sanctioned by the city in question; same with the states. Official name translations can be found in states' and cities' Web sites.

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David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
For US, decimal period Dec 1, 2009

The existence of a different norm in several Spanish-speaking countries/regions (and other countries, of course), is an unfortunate reality that can cause confusion, errors and misunderstanding. At least within the US, it makes perfect sense to stick to one standard in both languages.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_separator

It would be great if in this globalized world we could all agree to adopt one system that would eliminate the source of confusion in numbers, which is needless. In my opinion, it would not take a lot for everyone to agree that when using Arabic numerals we will use one or the other, and personally, I wouldn't care which. It would not take anything away from the character of any language, it would simply lead to a clear, usable standard.

The same goes for billón/mil millones...


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Teresa Mozo  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:41
Member (2008)
German to Spanish
+ ...
And the same goes for.... Dec 2, 2009

David Russi wrote:

The same goes for billón/mil millones...


What about kg for pounds, meters for feet, and °C for °F........?


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