Numbers: decimals or commas?

When a translation is filled with numbers, it’s necessary to translate those numbers in a familiar format–familiar for the people that need to use the document. I usually like to know exactly where the project is going to be used, because we don’t all deal with numbers in the same way.

$3,500.42

OR

$3.500,42

For them most part this is how the comma vs. period decimal situation works:

  • Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico tend to use a period decimal.
  • Cuba, South America, and Spain use a comma.

Of course, there are exceptions. In Mexico, for example, scientific measurements and legislative documents (especially those relating to international trade) are written using the International System of Units.

Do you know of other exceptions? Share them in the comments.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Reed James says:

    I have noticed in my work that some countries in Northern South America such as Ecuador use an apostrophe to indicate millions. One hundred million would be written: 100’000000 .

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