When translating content to a different language it is important to be familiar with up-to-date grammar rules, including how to correctly translate values. Translating values is not always as straightforward as one might think. The correct use of symbols and the spelling of values is essential when reaching out to journalists abroad. Translated content that is lacking the right numerals and symbols may not get the pick-up you were hoping for. So, here’s what to look out for:
Decimal point or comma
The most important thing to remember is that in most other languages decimals are separated by a decimal comma, and not by a decimal point as in the English language. For example, when translating from English to other European languages €233,999.00 would be correctly translated as 233.999,00 €. Note how the currency sign sits at the end of the value, separated by a space.
Billions and trillions
Another thing to keep an eye on is that a billion is not a billion everywhere – in German, it would be translated as ‘Milliarde’, whereas the German ‘Billionen’ is trillions. In the same way, the word for ‘Billion’ in Italian is ‘Miliardo’, which sounds a lot more similar to the English ‘Million’, even though it’s not the correct translation. Confusing, right?
Be careful when it comes to maths symbols! Even though math symbols are pretty universal, in some countries it may be more common to use a different symbol in written content. Before translating a piece, make sure to check that you are fully aware of which symbols are used in the language you are translating to. × or * are common symbols for multiplication in English texts, whereas in Germany people often use a simple point, so it would look like 1•1.
Imperial vs metric measurements
When a piece includes imperial measurements it’s wise to check if this is what is used in the country where you’ll be outreaching. If the metric system is used, then take the extra step to convert the values. Let’s be honest – most Europeans wouldn’t really know what to do with miles or ounces. Road signs in the UK usually show distances in miles and yards, whereas in Europe you’ll notice kilometres and metres. This is a similar case with liquids, while Brits often measure in fluid ounces and pints, you’ll notice Europeans using litres and millilitres instead.
In the end, it is essential to pay close attention to detail. Take the time to look over the translated data one more time to ensure accuracy. A well-researched piece can easily lose its credibility if the translation is not up to standards. With the above tips in mind, you’re one step closer to successful outreach abroad!