Converting measurements from metric to imperial
Thread poster: Lesley Clarke

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 04:41
Spanish to English
Jun 18, 2010

My client wants me to change metric measurements into imperial in a technical specification.

Unfortunately a simple measurement such 0.5 meters ends up as 1’ 7.685” and that is removing several of the decimal points.

Has anyone else had to do this? I would appreciate any advice going.


 

Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:41
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Ask for specific instructions Jun 18, 2010

This is an editorial choice, and consistency with other similar documents (or other languages) is important. Ask the client for detailed specific instructions as to the number of significant digits to be kept. If I had to choose, I would go for 1' 7.7" or 1' 8" – depending on other measurements in the data.

Kind regards,
Attila


 

Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 04:41
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My opinion Jun 18, 2010

I've never seen in technical documents conversions that include both feet and inches; they have always used inches for short lengths, obviously. Thus, 0.5 m = 19.68" (or 19.7" rounded). Unless the client is specifying otherwise, this conversion saves space and is the most commonly used.

HTH

Elías


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:41
Italian to English
No decimals in imperial Jun 18, 2010

I believe some specialist engineering sectors in the US may use decimals in Imperial. For most purposes though, there are no scales, rulers or measurement tapes showing inches in tenths.
So fractions of an inch are expressed as ½", ¼", ⅛" and so on up to 1/64" and beyond.

[Edited at 2010-06-18 15:09 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-06-18 15:10 GMT]


 

Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 06:41
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Fractions Jun 19, 2010

I agree with Russell: I haven't seen any fractions in any of the US standards I've translated.
However, I do see a lot of feet+inches measurements expressed as 6' 1½", 8' 3⅛", etc., sometimes with a non-breaking space between the a whole number and the fraction after it.





Russell Jones wrote:

I believe some specialist engineering sectors in the US may use decimals in Imperial. For most purposes though, there are no scales, rulers or measurement tapes showing inches in tenths.
So fractions of an inch are expressed as ½", ¼", ⅛" and so on up to 1/64" and beyond.

[Edited at 2010-06-18 15:09 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-06-18 15:10 GMT]


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:41
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Use both Jun 19, 2010

Personally I think that the client is asking for a lot of trouble by converting these measurements. Depending on the technology, precise measurements of parts, etc. may be essential and a fraction of an inch could mean the difference between a part that fits and a part that does not. I would suggest to the client that the measurements be left in the metric system (U.S. engineers and scientists all use the metric system) with (for the client's sake) a conversion in parentheses along with an indication that this amount is approximate.

Ex: 0.5 meters (approx. 16.85").



Lesley Clarke wrote:

My client wants me to change metric measurements into imperial in a technical specification.

Unfortunately a simple measurement such 0.5 meters ends up as 1’ 7.685” and that is removing several of the decimal points.

Has anyone else had to do this? I would appreciate any advice going.


 

Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Good point Jun 19, 2010

Russell Jones wrote:

So fractions of an inch are expressed as ½", ¼", ⅛" and so on up to 1/64" and beyond.

This is clearly a deficiency of the known online converters, although it would be simple to program, I am afraid it is not needed frequently enough to make a paid web service out of it. Maybe ProZ.com could add this functionality to its converter?


 

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 04:41
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to everyone for their feedback Jun 19, 2010

I agree with Jeff, it think it is very tricky to change from metric to imperial in this way. However I did it and appreciate all the advice given here.

 


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Converting measurements from metric to imperial

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