4 Answers | Add Yours
The translation of billions and trillions from an English language variety to a Spanish or other European language variety all depends on which value for "billion" and "trillion" is used. Let me explain using "billion."
Until recently, American English and British English values for "billion" differed with the AE value being less and the BE value being more. Oxford Dictionary says the higher BE value used to be a "million million (i.e. 1,000,000,000,000)" while the lower AE value was and still is a "thousand million (i.e. 1,000,000,000)." As I said, BE has recently adopted the AE value so now both these varieties of English use the lower American value of a thousand million (i.e. 1,000,000,000).
European languages show the same value differences that used to exist between AE and BE: European languages, like Spain's Spanish, use the higher value for a billion of a million million (i.e. 1,000,000,000,000) while American English influenced Spanish varieties, like American-Mexican Spanish, use the lower value of a thousand million (i.e. 1,000,000,000).
If you count the zeros to help keep it sorted, the higher value has 12 zeros while the lower value has 9 zeros. So while Spain's Spanish uses the 12 zero million million for 'billion" (as the UK used to do), it is possible that North American varieties of Spanish may use the AE influenced 9 zero thousand million for "billion."
The English word "billion" and the Spanish word "billón" look so similar that translating one into the other seems automatic ... but be careful - these two words are among what are called "false friends" i.e. two words that stem from a common root but have different meanings in different languages.
In English, 1.7 billion is 1,700,000,000.
In Spanish, "1,7 billónes" is 1.700.000.000.000 - a much bigger number!
The English, 1.7 billion should be translated into "1,7 mil millones" or for some speakers "1,7 millardos"
Also notice that that in Spanish what is right is to use a "decimal comma" not a "decimal point".
So, "$1.7 billion" translates into "US$1,7 mil millones" (you read:uno coma siete mil millones de dólares estadounidenses".
The way you would say $1.7 billion in Spanish is:
"Uno punto siete billones de dólares".
The literal translation to those words is actually "one point seven billion dollars" because in Spanish we also mention the word "point", as "punto", the way you do in the English language.
This is, of course, assuming that you are referring to American dollars. However, there is no problem in changing the name of the currency at the end of the phrase by substituting "dólares" with the name of what ever currency you are referring to. I hope this is of some help to you! I know that sometimes the translators do not do everything they say they can do.
You could also do it as in English: one billion seven hundred thousand dollars, and apply that method to any number in the billions.
"Billon siete cientos mil" would be my best translation.
But if you want more than one billion... dos billones siete cientos mil... for 2,700,000
We’ve answered 302,420 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question