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Hello all,

From French into English, following the style guide to the letter, "5 million" should translate to "5,000,000", "5 milliard" to "5,000,000,000", and likewise for billions.

In practice, writing out "the population of France is about 66,000,000 people" rather than "...66 million..." feels odd to me.

I am asking this because my test was rejected and not translating "5 million" into "5,000,000" was one of two errors pointed out.

Thank you for any light you can throw on this!

7 comments

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    kind_of_drew

    I agree. Is there any earlier thread that covers this?

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    leonardosp95

    Well, that's about long and short scales, you know. Meanwhile in America we use short scales, people in Europe use long scales.

    The essencial would be to know about the destination of the translation (England or US, for example)

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    effell

    Leonardo, I gathered the Senior Translator actually wanted the numeric form to be used, with a sequence of zeros.

    This is what the Style Guide calls for, read to the letter.

    What's at stake here is not the usual billion/trillion, etc, distinction.

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    effell

    I am right now translating a somewhat literary text from French to English.

    The original reads "quatre cent trente-neuf".

    I'll be damned if I will write "439" in the translation.

    What if that were to come up in a test?

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    Niels

    It is about long and short scales.

    In English, whether "6 billion" means 6,000,000,000 or 6,000,000,000,000 depends on where the reader is.

    This style guide rule removes the ambiguity when the target audience is unknown.

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    effell

    Thanks for input, Niels. Don't you find "the population of France is about 66,000,000 people" awkward, though?

    The style guide at

    http://gengo.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/style-guide-en.pdf

    reachable from

    http://gengo.com/translators/resources/

    still reads "Numbers 0 - 9 should be written out. Numbers larger than 9 should be left in their numeric form."

    (A different version I found, by Googling,at http://gengo.github.io/style-guide/voice.html#style-guide is much better.

    Let me here I suggest that all Gengo style guides feature a revision/date on the cover.)

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    Niels

    Oh I totally agree that it looks bad, especially since "million" is the same in both scales.

    But Gengo seems to prefer following rules to the letter over good looking texts.

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