Roman numerals

Mónica Glez

New Member
Spanish
Hi,
I need to know for technical writing purposes whether roman numerals can be kept in different languages, in this case, if they are used and understandable by Arabic native speakers (even if it is not strictly correct in pure arabic texts).
E.g. In a book "Chapter IV", can be "IV" kept translating only "Chapter"?
We need it for guaranteing the use of a Roman numeral placeholder. That is "Chapter [Roman numeral]"
What about Hebrew? Somebody here can help with Hebrew as well?
Thanks a lot in advance, sukran!!!
Mónica
 
  • cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Hi Mónica,

    I'm afraid the answer is no. Roman numerals are not known to many Arabic native speakers, and if you keep them in an Arabic text they can be a bit confusing.
    I'd expect the same for Hebrew, but you'll need to check in the Hebrew forum.

    If you need to check with more languages, then it could be more practical to post your question in the All Languages forum.
     

    Mónica Glez

    New Member
    Spanish
    Thanks a lot, Cherine! Thanks for pointing out about the All langs forum, I´m a newcomer here and I didn´t even realized that there was one!! ;-).
     

    yields

    Member
    Arabic - Morocco
    I think they are indeed understandable. Although I have never seen it done before and it might not accomodate something professionally written (then again I don't know, just an impression I have).
     

    Mónica Glez

    New Member
    Spanish
    I need some clarification then...
    Let me put in context: Actually, this question refers to technical writing guidelines. The source materials (user guides, operation guides, help and documentation literature) are intended to be as much standard as possible for making easier translation into different languages (more than 20, from different families...) for a wide-spread scope. So, the original English text is using placeholders with specific formats (alphabetical, cardinal numbers, roman numerals, etc.) for numbering the book chapters. The question is if it would be "acceptable" to keep the roman numeral format in this case. We assume that it is not the preferred option or strictly correct in all langs, but finding a workaround is not so easy, involving such a big number of target languages. That means that, if the audience (not common reader, but readers used to technical literature) can read it, we will keep it. We will suggest to change it only if it is absolutely incorrect or not understandable by the intended audience. The question then is: Can roman numerals be left in the following example: "Chapter IX"? Otherwise, which is then the option for arab?
     

    إسكندراني

    Senior Member
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    Roman numerals (I, II, ...) are never used in Arabic - the only way an Arabic speaker would know them is if they were familiar European language to a reasonable level - not something you should assume - and even then it is unheard of to see them in an Arabic text, much stranger than text in a foreign language.

    Use Arabic (123) numerals for convenience, although it is better to title chapters (first chapter, second chapter, etc.
    الفصل الأول، الفصل الثاني، إلخ).
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    The Arabic counterpart of Roman numerals are the letters of the alphabet (in the original Semitic order) used as numerals. You might consider using them, and the corresponding Greek and Hebrew systems, in your translation into these languages.
    1 ا α א
    2 ب β ב
    3 ج γ ג
    4 د δ ד
    5 ه ε ה
    etc.
     

    إسكندراني

    Senior Member
    عربي (مصر)ـ | en (gb)
    The Arabic counterpart of Roman numerals are the letters of the alphabet (in the original Semitic order) used as numerals. You might consider using them, and the corresponding Greek and Hebrew systems, in your translation into these languages.
    1 ا α א
    2 ب β ב
    3 ج γ ג
    4 د δ ד
    5 ه ε ה
    etc.
    Actually this is the equivalent of 'part/note A, B, ...'
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    This is how the Arabs wrote numbers until the introduction of the Indian numerals in the 9th century CE. They remain the prefered form of the numbers in scientific texts until early modern times.
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Well, we are speaking about a modern times text, fdb.
    Using letters for numbering is still used, but not for chapter. Chapter either get number with numbers (1, 2, 3...) or words (first chapter, second chapter, third chapter...etc).

    And I would like to confirm that Roman numerals is not that commonly understood by Arabic readers, even those who have been to university. And I'm saying this out of experience. And many don't go past the I and X, and still to check every time when they see a C, D or M. So, it's much safer to go with Arabic numbers. These, yes, are universal.
     

    Finland

    Senior Member
    finnois
    Hello!

    Just my two cents: I was once in a confusing situation, when an Arabic friend mistook a Roman V for the Arabic ٧

    So yes, the Roman numerals should not be used

    HTH
    S
     

    Mónica Glez

    New Member
    Spanish
    Hi, this is very interesting indeed!!! Thanks a lot for all your comments, they are very helpful and will help the relevant people in taking a decision!!
    Kind regards to you all
    Mónica
     
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