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Which decimal separator for 1 and a half million euro?
Thread poster: Jo Macdonald

Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:21
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Jul 10, 2013

Hi folks,
Which decimal separator would you use for 1 and a half million euro, a decimal point or a comma?
Source is Italian (€m) 1,5
Target is British English

The decimal separator for Euro is a comma, but the way I'd read this in English would be one point five million euro.

So should it be a comma because it's Euro or a decimal point because it's a fraction of a million?


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:21
English to German
+ ...
1.5 million EUR Jul 10, 2013

Gudrun

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Stanley Lau
China
Local time: 04:21
Chinese to English
+ ...
Countries use comma for marking the radix point Jul 10, 2013

Countries where a comma "," is used to mark the radix point include:

Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada (only Province of Quebec), Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia (comma used officially, but both forms are in use elsewhere) Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Faroes, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kirgistan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg (uses both marks officially), Macau (in Portuguese text), Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa (officially[15]), Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam.

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


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:21
Italian to English
€1.5m Jul 10, 2013

A British target audience has no idea that the whole world doesn't use the decimal point.
A comma is used a separator between thousands, so a comma here would totally confuse them.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:21
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Yes Jul 10, 2013

Russell Jones wrote:

A British target audience has no idea that the whole world doesn't use the decimal point.
A comma is used a separator between thousands, so a comma here would totally confuse them.


Well put ! I can't calculate how many hours I spend changing commas to points, and points to commas !


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Steven Segaert  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 23:21
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Language, not currency Jul 10, 2013

So should it be a comma because it's Euro or a decimal point because it's a fraction of a million?


The currency has nothing to do with the applicable language rule. The rules are the same for euro as for USD or any other currency.

When in doubt, I tend to use the guidelines for EU publications. While they have a specific purpose and are for a specific audience, the convention they describe is also useful elsewhere.

For example (http://publications.europa.eu/code/en/en-4100800en.htm): "Always use a full point on the line as a decimal point. Exceptions to this may be made for multilingual publications, statistical works, works where the tables are composed once for all language versions — for these exceptions a decimal comma is acceptable. The UK and Irish authorities agreed that the decimal comma should be used in all English-language editions of the Official Journal (starting from 1 March 1983)."

See also this page: http://publications.europa.eu/code/en/en-370303.htm - it basically means that the comma is not used in EU publications.

Reading that together with other guidelines, I would write:

"1.5 million euro"

or

"1 500 000 euro"

@Tom - Depending on the CAT tool you use, there are ways to automate this kind of conversion.

Hope this helps!


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JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:21
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Pluralise "euro" Jul 11, 2013

And you should also note that in the EU style guide, "euro" in the plural takes an "s" at the end, just like pounds or dollars would.

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Steven Segaert  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 23:21
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
@Jane Jul 11, 2013

In Dutch, the plural isn't used when there is an actual amount mentioned. There might also be a difference in English between:

"an amount in euros"

and

"a million euro" --> or "euros"?

Just as a side-note... Up to the native speakers to figure that one out!


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:21
Italian to English
Words or symbols Jul 11, 2013

JaneD wrote:

And you should also note that in the EU style guide, "euro" in the plural takes an "s" at the end, just like pounds or dollars would.


I just don't understand why some people / organisations spell out the word Euro when quoting figures, rather than using the symbol €

I can't think of any country that does that with its currency notation (except for clarification, e.g. USD)


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Steven Segaert  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 23:21
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
ISO code Jul 11, 2013

Hi Russel,

At least for the EU:

"When to use the euro sign (€)
The euro sign is reserved for use in graphics. However, its use is also permitted in popular works and promotional publications (e.g. sales catalogues). In word processing systems, the euro sign can be obtained by simultaneously pressing the left-hand Alt key and 0128. The technical specifications for the euro sign can be downloaded from the Commission’s euro website (http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/euro/cash/symbol/index_en.htm).

NB:
In HTML, the final presentation and configuration of a document must be taken into account. Texts created using Unicode pose no problem but in older texts created using ISO 8859, the HTML code ‘€’ will show the euro sign on screen but it may be missing when printed on paper. (This problem has been overcome by using a gif or jpg image for the euro sign.) For texts entering a production process and intended for automatic transfer to an intranet or Internet site, you are advised to avoid using the euro sign (use the ISO code ‘EUR’ instead)."

I don't know if this still makes sense from a technology point of view, but it is the reasoning when dealing with the EU.


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:21
Italian to English
Useful Jul 11, 2013

Hi Steven

That at least explains it. It would be interesting to know the date of that advice though.
My keyboard must be at least 8 years old (and looks it) but it still has the € symbol on it, without having to resort to ASCII Codes.

[Edited at 2013-07-11 10:07 GMT]


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:21
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
No, ... Jul 11, 2013

Steven Segaert wrote:

In Dutch, the plural isn't used when there is an actual amount mentioned. There might also be a difference in English between:

"an amount in euros"

and

"a million euro" --> or "euros"?

Just as a side-note... Up to the native speakers to figure that one out!


... there's no difference: it's "euros" in either case because "a million" signifies a plural, too.


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:21
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the comments folks Jul 15, 2013

......

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Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:21
French to English
+ ...
decimal point and... Jul 15, 2013

it could also be written EUR 1.5 million - cf. FT, etc.
PS: and euros, uncapitalised

[Edited at 2013-07-15 10:01 GMT]


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Mark Hamlen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:21
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Euro and Euros Jul 16, 2013

I was listening to Irish radio the other day. I noticed that the announcers did not use the plural "Euros" when they were giving prices for things. Is this the official standard for Ireland? I heard: "A return ticket costs 30 euro", "we'll give a prize of 20 euro to the next caller..."

I was surprised. But as a native English speaker who has lived in a non-English speaking country since the Euro(s) appeared, I could be mistaken.

On a visit to the US last year people were asking me about "Euros" plural. But the US doesn't use Euros, does it. And the BBC normally uses "Euros", but they don't use Euros eaither.

When I translate, I normally use the plural when called for, and let the Irish sue me!


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