Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Localizing one language into another language is always a complex process. It involves a lot of technical and mechanical processes where culture and locale have to be another consideration before we go any further. Recently, we find that some linguists think the English number separators would be the same as Indonesian number separators. In fact, they are different and should be treated differently.

Unfortunately, after long searching in the web, we have not found any valid resources in English explaining this simple but crucial matter. You can imagine how important the currency is and failing to correctly localize it into the target language will surely cost a thing! We bet it does.

We will make short explanation on the number separator differences between English and Indonesian here and will display more exercises and examples to clearly visualize this matter. It is not without a reason. Some misleading opinions and notions base the issue line. Moreover, we work on the English-Indonesian pairs and we are obliged to make everything right.

In English and Indonesian, there are two forms of separators. They seem to be same, but they actually function differently - ',' (comma) and '.' (point). Each should be treated differently when it comes to localization; whether it is from or to Indonesian. In English, for example, the ',' would be used for thousands separator and '.' for fractions, while in Indonesian, the '.' would be used for thousands separator and ',' for fractions. It is that simple, but in practice, linguists often get it mixed. To make it clearer, take a look at the examples below and how they should be pronounced and written:

NumbersEnglishBahasa Indonesia
1,000One thousandOne
10,000Ten thousandTen
50,000Fifty thousandFifty
100,000One hundred thousandOne hundred
1,000,000One millionOne
NumbersBahasa IndonesiaEnglish
1,000OneOne thousand
10,000TenTen thousand
50,000FiftyFifty thousand
100,000One hundredOne hundred thousand
1,000,000OneOne million

You now know the difference. It applies to unit as well. Have opinions? Share with us!


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