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Figures in words with number in parenthesis
Thread poster: xxxyanadeni
xxxyanadeni  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:29
French to Russian
+ ...
Apr 27, 2012

We've had a discussion with a colleague who translates from EN to FR-CA.

He translated the following:
You sell six blueberry muffins. Six muffins aux bleuets sont vendus.
You transfer two blueberry muffins to a neighboring store. Deux muffins aux bleuets sont transférés dans un magasin de votre secteur.
You mark-out four blueberry muffins. Quatre muffins aux bleuets font l’objet d’une mise aux pertes.

His client reviewer corrected him in this way:
Six (6) muffins aux bleuets sont vendus.
Deux (2) muffins aux bleuets sont transférés dans un magasin de votre secteur.
Quatre (4) muffins aux bleuets font l’objet d’une mise aux pertes.


My colleague explains his approach by that fact that allegedly this a anglophone only way to write the figures and that it's not something that is done in FR.

Do you know anything on this? Is there a specifically "anglophone" way of presenting figures?

Thank you


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:29
English to German
+ ...
It depends on the purpose of the text and its readership Apr 27, 2012

In some scientific, financial, banking- or accounting-related or technical texts such as manuals it is appropriate, but be careful with any other context. "Once upon a time there was a king who had three (3) daughters" might raise an eyebrow...

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:29
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Love it, Nicole! Apr 28, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

In some scientific, financial, banking- or accounting-related or technical texts such as manuals it is appropriate, but be careful with any other context. "Once upon a time there was a king who had three (3) daughters" might raise an eyebrow...


You made me laugh, Nicole.
What about "... and the genie said 'You can have three (3) wishes" ?
Jenny


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
Can't argue over opinions Apr 28, 2012

To me the reviewer must be an oddball to make this assertion, or is maybe following the "I'm a reviewer, therefore I revise (whether justified or not)" policy.

For a similar useless, opinionated observation here's one of mine: I don't like the dash in "mark-out"; I don't think it is necessar,y or appropriate unless it's used as an adjective (eg. mark-out rate/policy/score... etc), but hey! Vive la difference


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
Suitable for purpose Apr 28, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

In some scientific, financial, banking- or accounting-related or technical texts such as manuals it is appropriate, but be careful with any other context. "Once upon a time there was a king who had three (3) daughters" might raise an eyebrow...


I agree, it would only be justified in specifically scientific/tech types of text; perhaps the muffin example is for a math primer? Otherwise I don't see the reviewer's point.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
End user Apr 28, 2012

Yаnа Dеni wrote:

Do you know anything on this? Is there a specifically "anglophone" way of presenting figures?


I don't think it's a question of "anglophone" usage or convention. As Nichole says, the form would be appropriate in a technical text, and the arithmetic muffin sample looks like it may be from an basic math primer, or an exam paper or similar.


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George Trail  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:29
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
It's an instrument Apr 28, 2012

Nicole's right in that it's something you only find in certain types of technical texts. But I think of it as a measure to prevent fraudulent activity by third parties (or by non-third parties, for that matter).
It's like when you write a cheque: you are always expected to write in the amount both in numbers and in words. But there have been times when I have paid someone by cheque and he always asked me to write "...and zero pence". You never know what someone might add or alter given a chance!


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
Handy for translators Apr 28, 2012

All kinds of texts -- handwritten, typewritten with old ribbon, faded pdfs -- can make deciphering (no pun intended) the correct numerals difficult. We translators probably know that better than anyone else. However, common sense would dictate that this structure would be set up the other way around thus: 1847 (eighteen hundred forty-seven).

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Texte Style
Local time: 18:29
French to English
If the translation is into French... Apr 28, 2012

Yаnа Dеni wrote:

Do you know anything on this? Is there a specifically "anglophone" way of presenting figures?

Thank you


How we present figures when writing in English has nothing to do with it!

A translator working into French will present figures in a way that is consistent with the expectations of the people who speak French and who are likely to be reading this text.

So we'd need to know why this text is being translated...
Although from my experience of translating FROM French, I have never seen "three (3)" except in legal contexts, and this does not read like a contract!


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Rolf Keller
Germany
Local time: 18:29
English to German
A translator is one translator Apr 28, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

"Once upon a time there was a king who had three (3) daughters" might raise an eyebrow...


Shouldn't it read "Once upon a (1) time there was a (1) king who had three (3) daughters" might raise an eyebrow... SCNR.


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Marcia Pinheiro  Identity Verified
Australia
English to Portuguese
+ ...
What? Apr 29, 2012

Yаnа Dеni wrote:

We've had a discussion with a colleague who translates from EN to FR-CA.

He translated the following:
You sell six blueberry muffins. Six muffins aux bleuets sont vendus.
You transfer two blueberry muffins to a neighboring store. Deux muffins aux bleuets sont transférés dans un magasin de votre secteur.
You mark-out four blueberry muffins. Quatre muffins aux bleuets font l’objet d’une mise aux pertes.

His client reviewer corrected him in this way:
Six (6) muffins aux bleuets sont vendus.
Deux (2) muffins aux bleuets sont transférés dans un magasin de votre secteur.
Quatre (4) muffins aux bleuets font l’objet d’une mise aux pertes.


My colleague explains his approach by that fact that allegedly this a anglophone only way to write the figures and that it's not something that is done in FR.

Do you know anything on this? Is there a specifically "anglophone" way of presenting figures?

Thank you


Don't think so. In principle, you should not change the text you translate: You are just a tool, not a 'creator'.
It is usually the opposite, as well (we write in long writing the linguistic equivalent to the number).


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Rolf Keller
Germany
Local time: 18:29
English to German
What is a change? Apr 29, 2012

Marcia Pinheiro wrote:

In principle, you should not change the text you translate: You are just a tool, not a 'creator'.


What is a change? What is not a change?


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Marina Steinbach  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:29
Member
English to German
+ ...
Tools and Creators Apr 29, 2012

Marcia Pinheiro wrote:

You are just a tool, not a 'creator'.


It is never a good sign if someone shows such a low self-esteem…

Yаnа Dеni wrote:

His client reviewer corrected him in this way:
Six (6) muffins aux bleuets sont vendus.


If the numbers in the target text are required, then they are obviously already missing in the source text.

Or am I missing something here?


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 15:29
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I think the translator is right Apr 30, 2012

Yаnа Dеni wrote:

"We've had a discussion with a colleague who translates from EN to FR-CA.

He translated the following:
You sell six blueberry muffins. Six muffins aux bleuets sont vendus.
You transfer two blueberry muffins to a neighboring store. Deux muffins aux bleuets sont transférés dans un magasin de votre secteur.
You mark-out four blueberry muffins. Quatre muffins aux bleuets font l’objet d’une mise aux pertes."

As there are no numbers in parentheses in the original, I see no need to use them in the translated version.

In formal documents, such as contracts, it is a very different matter. The rule in Portuguese is to put the words first, while in English the number comes first:

This contract shall be valid for 30 (thirty) days.
Este contrato terá válido por trinta (30) dias.

I hope this helps.


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:29
German to English
Why is there an issue here? Apr 30, 2012

I would assume that if the client gave someone the task of reviewing the translation, then they will have found someone that speaks the target language and, above all, is familiar with the subject area and the text type.
Like Nicole and others have written, it is perfectly plausible that this might be the correct convention for a specific context in French and, also, that the convention in the same situation might be different in English.
In many situations, translators simply can't attain this level of detailed knowledge of conventions and ought to be thankful for having a picky customer, so that they can verify the information using parallel texts (untranslated, relevant French originals) and then note it down for the next time around.
Now, if the reviewer says "This translation is horrible because the numbers weren't included in parentheses," or "Only a Canadian would write a number without including the numeral in parentheses," then that is another matter. But, in general, expert customers are a great source of information of this kind.

Sincerely,
Michael


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