I was translating a news article last night, and although I am fully aware that the use of the comma and decimal in English and Spanish are backwards, I had a bit of trouble. The number in question was written as 1.600 millones, which I translated as 1,600 millions, or 1.6 billion. Is this correct, or does it mean 1.6 million instead?
I'm pretty much sure that is 1.6 billion because in english there are no such a thing like a thousand of millions.
One english billion = 1,000,000,000
One spanish billion = 1.000.000.000.000
This is dead-on. In Spanish, it takes 6 decimal places to move on to the next unit name, instead of the 3 we're used to in English. Whereas in English we'd only see the numbers 1-999 used before "million", in Spanish you'd see anywhere from 1-999.999 "millones".
Take a look toward the middle of this page. It's got a pretty good description of how "big numbers" are written in Spanish.
What english speakers call billion in spanish is "mil millones". This is also a problem many spanish speakers face when learning english.
Thanks for that. When I listen to Spanish news, the term "mil millones" always confused me. I always wondered by they didn't just call it a billion. Now I know.
It's 1,600 millones, which in English is 1.6 billion. A Spanish billón, however, is a million millions, what English calls a trillion. (English used to have both meanings of billion, a thousand millions or a million millions, but it eventually standardized on a thousand millions.)