Big numbers (this is very confusing)

Discussion in 'French-English Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Français-Anglais' started by Oukselo, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. Oukselo New Member

    Montreal, Canada
    my question is about the American number Trillion (10^12) I say American because in Brittan they say Billion to represent trillion and thousand million to represent billion. What I'm looking for is the French translation for an American Trillion I've found Billion as one translation to French but I believe that to be the European number I want the French Canadian number. In Canadian English we use the American way to say big numbers so I suspect it may also be different from the European way in French Canadian.
  2. cropje_jnr

    cropje_jnr Senior Member

    Canberra, Australia
    English - Australia
    You're not wrong in saying it's confusing. Perhaps the following will help (this is in European French):

    1 000 000 000 = un milliard.
    1 000 000 000 000 = un billion (10^12).

    I'm not sure if there's any difference in Canadian French?
  3. Oukselo New Member

    Montreal, Canada
    that's what I want to know, if the number are different in Canadian French i know for certain up to Milliard (10^9)
  4. mec_américain Senior Member

    US, English
  5. tannen2004 Senior Member

    The Quebecois "Grand dictionnaire" (link) suggests "trillion" as the Canadian French translation of the American trillion.

    You might have more luck getting responses if you write actual sentences. It's very hard to read your post without punctuation and erratic capitalization.
  6. wicca

    wicca Senior Member

    the world, my oyster :)
    French - France
    Hi Oukselo!

    In British English billion traditionally means a million million = 1,000,000,000,000 = 10^12, in American English billion means a thousand million = 1,000,000,000 = 10^9.

    In French, “billion” means “un million de millions” nowadays (although it used to mean “mil millions”… not anymore).

    However, the American billion has become standard in technical and financial use. To avoid confusion I always use the terms "thousand million" for 10^9 and "million million" for 10^12, especially when I’m doing oral translations.

    I’m not sure this will help or will add up confusion… :S
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2009
  7. mec_américain Senior Member

    US, English
    I didn't know this:

    During the 20th century, the short scale "billion" superseded "thousand million" to become the normal term in most of the English-speaking world. In languages in which "milliard" is common, a "billion" often refers to a thousand "milliard" or 1,000,000,000,000, which is a trillion elsewhere. This scheme continues in these countries, so "billiard" means quadrillion, "trillion" means quintillion and "trilliard" means sextillion.
  8. Oukselo New Member

    Montreal, Canada
    Actually it recommends trillion as the French Canadian Translation of the American Quintillion (10^18) un million de billions. However this tells me that the Quebecois system is the same as the European system (as I just learned is also called Long Scale) which answers my question so thank you for showing me this link.
  9. tannen2004 Senior Member

    Sorry for that, you're right... I missed the US "quasi-synonyme". :-/

    The GDT is a great resource. Glad it can be useful. :)

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