During your product localization, any small aspect can have a significant weight. Your adaptation should be careful and accurate, especially if your content has any numbers in the interface, like calendars, holidays, measures, currencies, etc. World regions often have differences in time format, symbol location, and other critical cultural peculiarities. We have spoken more than once about how vital it is to be on the same wave with the users and deeply understand their habits, traditions, and national identity. And it's not just about the date and time format - this question is much broader. We highlighted in this article the main figures that are different in the various parts of the world.
The main tip: think about localization from the start, and do not hardcode the numbers in your product. Because in a few years, it is easy to change your mind but not the code.
The year start
We are used to the fact that January 1st is the start of the year. Most countries have the same calendar, but not all. If you think about New Year wishes, sales, etc., consider whether the users celebrate it simultaneously with you.
- The most prominent part of Muslim countries is not celebrating the European New Year. As an exception, Turkey and North Cyprus use the Gregorian calendar and have a New Year on January 1st.
- At the same time, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, and Indonesia use the Islamic (lunar) calendar. Some Asian countries, like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, etc., celebrate the New Year twice. They have a January 1st following the European tradition and national Holiday Nowruz (Navruz) - the vernal equinox. Bangladesh, like other Asian countries, has two New Year's too. The first one is European, and the second - is a national Holiday in the mid of April.
- Chinese and Vietnamese New Year, also known as the "Spring Festival," is between the end of January and the middle of February. It is celebrated according to the lunisolar Chinese calendar and continues throughout the week.
As you can see the biggest part of countries use the Gregorian calendar or mix it with the traditional one. But it is not a reason to forget about your users' culture and provide some sales or wishes only for January 1st. The respect for the traditions of users you show will return to you in the form of increased loyalty and your business growth in this region.
What's the current year?
Interesting fact. Did you know that 2023 came only for some parts of the world? Some regions are using their own reckoning. Of course, all international practices use the generally accepted Gregorian calendar, but sometimes the traditional one is also popular for holiday tracking. For example:
- Based on the Thai calendar, the current year in Thailand is 2566.
- Based on the Persian calendar in Iran is 1402.
- Japan uses the imperial calendar starting when the new emperor ascends the throne. Since the accession of Emperor Naruhito to the throne on May 1st, 2019, a new imperial era of Reiwa (Reiwa) began, so Japan is currently in year 5 of the Reiwa era.
- The Nepalese calendar is based on the lunar cycle. The current year in Nepal is 2079.
The first day of the week
In the most significant part of the world, the week starts on Monday and continues till Sunday. By the ISO 8601 standard, adopted in most countries, Monday is the first day of the week. But still, there are some countries with other rules.
In the USA and Great Britain, the week begins on Monday, but there are also calendars with Sunday as the first day. The main reason for such a system is the religious background - due to the Bible, Sunday is the first day of world creation.
Israel also has its workweek rules. It is shifted by one day relative to the rest of the world - from Sunday to Thursday (Friday is a short day.)
Date and time format
The variety of date formats can be a challenge for your localization. They contain three main elements: day, month, and year. Also, there is a difference in the separators' use. That can be a dot, slash, hyphen, etc. To not confuse your users, take care of date format localization.
For instance, take a look at the date - 01/08/2022:
- In the USA, it will be January 8th, 2022,
- In Austria - August 1st, 2022
To support your users in interpreting the numbers correctly, use ISO 8601, which provides exact rules for each locale. Just take a look at the possible variations.
Australia - d/MM/yyyy
Austria - dd.MM.yyyy
China - yyyy-M-d
United States - M/d/yyyy
Finland - d.M.yyyy
Japan - yyyy/MM/dd
As well, remember about time formats 24-hour and 12-hour (AM/PM). European and Asian countries use the 24-hour clock, while the 12-hour format is widely used in the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. By the way, the am/pm is often used in non-formal communication in Great Britain, Brazil, Ireland, and some European countries.
Systems of measures
How often are you trying to understand the weight, height, or distance when hearing pounds or miles? If you are grown up in the United States, you will not have any problems, but it is a challenge for most of the world. The most common measurement system - the metric system, is officially adopted in all countries except for the United States, Liberia, and Burma.
Let's take a look at the examples:
Length. In the metric system, it is measured in meters, centimeters, millimeters, etc., while in the American inches, feet, yards, etc.
1 meter = 3.2 feet
1.609 kilometers = 1 miles
Mass. In the metric system, it is measured in grams, kilograms, etc., and in the American system - in ounces, pounds, etc.
1 kilogram = 2.2 lb
100 gramm = 3.527396 ounces
Speed. In the metric system, it is measured in kilometers per hour, meters per second, etc., and in the American system - in miles per hour, foot.
100 km/hour = 62 miles/hour
Fahrenheit vs. Celsius
The typical temperature for a human in Celsius is 36.6 ° C, while on the Fahrenheit scale, it is +97.88 ° F. The Fahrenheit scale was popular in English-speaking countries until the 1960s, before they moved to the International System of Units. Currently, the Fahrenheit scale is used in the Bahamas, the USA, Liberia, and the Cayman Islands.
To correctly calculate these figures, you can use the formulas below:
C = (F - 32) * 5/9
F = (C * 9/5) + 32
The currency sign
There is no simple task to sell products worldwide. You should handle all nuances, such as currency spelling, to attract international customers and earn their trust. If you want to place the currencies at your resource, consider three elements: symbol placement, spacing, and separator.
The symbol position can differ based on the locale. In the biggest part of the European Union, the currency sign is placed after the amount, while the USA sign is before the amount. Canada uses both options - the symbol goes to the left in the English regions, and in the French-speaking, it goes to the right. The next step is to keep the correct spacing between the currency sign and the amount. In the USA, there is no spacing, while in the EU, it exists.
Separators for Decimal and Thousands
The common decimal separators are point and comma. The biggest part of Europe mainly uses a comma, while the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, China, etc., operate a point. Some countries have their own rule for using decimal separators. For example, both options exist in Switzerland but with the country's currency using only the point.
Take a look at the differences in number spelling between locales.
|1 000 000.000,000
|1 000 000 000,000
Using numbers in your content means a huge amount of effort you have to put in during localization. Firstly, studying each country's rules and creating documentation supporting all participants to adhere to the correct format will be necessary. With Lingohub, you can organize all the data in a single source of truth and quickly discuss any questions within the interface. Schedule a demo if you have any questions, and our team would love to provide answers to all your questions. See you!