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Indonesian Numerical Translation: Important Things You Need To Know

Posted by Chloe G. on April 15, 2022.

If your company has difficulties in dealing with numerical translation into Indonesian or vice versa, then Indonesian numerical translation services can help you out.

Every type of translation requires its own particular knowledge and skill set, from translating numbers to working on medical documents, as every region’s language and number are impacted by its culture and regulation. The number system of Indonesia is not an exceptional case.

In this article, we will dive deep into Indonesian numerical translation. We will run through what number translation is, what challenges you may face and how to avoid them.

What Is Indonesian Numerical Translation?


The translation of number-heavy content, such as a set of company accounts or engineering blueprints, is known as numerical translation. The numbers can be used to represent currency, weight, height, temperature, pressure, or any other type of measurement. It counts as a numerical translation if it is provided in numeric format and has to be translated.


Who Can Undertake Number Translation? 

Translating numbers requires a high degree of attention to detail, due to the work involved and the potential impact that any mistakes could have. As a result, numerical translators must be methodical and analytical, with a thorough understanding of financial terms and concepts in both the languages they work with.


Why Is Producing Indonesian Numerical Translation a Challenge?


The process of Indonesian numerical translation is challenging due to many factors, some of these are:

#1 – Arabic Numerals vs. Roman Numerals

Both Arabic and Roman numerals are commonly used by Indonesians:

➟ Arabic numerals: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

➟ Roman numerals: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, L (50), C (100), D (500), M (1,000), V̄ (5,000), M̄ (1,000,000)

To prevent confusing locals, there are a few rules you should pay extra attention to when translating numbers into Indonesian:

  • Numbers that can be described by one or two words are written in letters unless they are used in sequence as in detail.

For example:

Indonesian English
Mereka menonton drama itu sampai tiga kali. They watched the drama three times.
Di antara 72 anggota yang hadir, 52 orang setuju, 15 orang tidak setuju, dan 5 orang abstain. Among the 72 members present, 52 agreed, 15 disagreed, and 5 abstained.
  • Letters are used to write numbers at the beginning of sentences.

For example:

Indonesian English
Lima puluh siswa teladan mendapat beasiswa dari pemerintah daerah. Fifty exemplary students receive scholarships from the local government.
  • When the ordinal number is placed in a different order in a sentence, the meaning of the number changes.

For example:

Indonesian English
Saya anak kedua. (The ordinal number is placed after a noun) I am the 2nd child. 
Kedua anak itu orang Indonesia. (The ordinal number is placed at the beginning of a sentence.) Both of them (the children) are Indonesians. 


#2 –  Indonesian Numerical Translation: Millions vs. Billions

The Indonesian term for millions is “juta,” and the word for billions is “milyar,” however the Indonesian word for trillions is “triliun,” which is similar to English.


#3 – Comma vs. Dot

To separate numbers higher than 999, Indonesian adds a dot instead of a comma as in English. For instance, 1,675,524 is written as 1.675.524 (satu juta enam ratus tujuh puluh lima ribu lima ratus dua puluh empat). To separate numbers in decimals, the Indonesian decimal for “2.5” means “2,5” in English, etc.


#4 – Nol versus Kosong

In Indonesia, there are two words used to express zero, which are “nol” and “kosong”. The term “nol” is often used to refer to counting or cardinal numbers, whereas “kosong” refers to telephone numbers, hotel room numbers, or code numbers.


#5 –  Indonesian numerical translation: Angka versus Nomor

Indonesia has different words for numbers and numerals, much like English. “Angka” refers to a written symbol of the number, such as “angka satu,” which refers to the written number 1 or a statistical figure. Meanwhile, “nomor” refers to a number that has a specific meaning, such as a social security number, a license plate number, a home number, a queue number, or a hotel room number.

Some other Indonesian number rules that translators need to beware including:

    • The Indonesians use the metric system of measurement (kilogram, meter, etc.)
    • The date format used in Indonesia is date-month-year.
    • There are three time zones in Indonesia (Western, Central, and Eastern Indonesian Time). The 12-hour format is favoured in spoken Indonesian, with the time indicator added after it. In written documents, the 24-hour time system is likely to be used.
    • The address format is the street name and house number, subdistrict, city, district, province, and postal code.


How Should Translators Approach Indonesian Numerical Translation? 


With any type of number translation, you should have clear communication with the client from the start. Before commencing the numerical translation, any of the issues above that are relevant to the document in question should be discussed.

By gaining clarity on these points, you’ll be able to create a framework for the translation that eliminates any chance of errors. It will also help you translate more effectively because you won’t have to pause to query things with the client along the way, resulting in a smoother translation process for all people involved.

Understanding if localization is included in the brief is also important since it can have a big impact on how numeric data is translated.

More generally, when it comes to translation work, you should make sure you are using the best tools available. It is difficult to translate numbers into other languages, and utilizing old software won’t help.


Choose GTE Localize

The list of Indonesian numerical translation challenges does not stop at what we have mentioned above. There are many more common and unexpected traps you will face when working on this type of translation. That’s why we highly recommend you only work with professional Indonesian translators who understand the Indonesian number system, language, culture as well as the challenges when performing Indonesian numerical translation.

As one of the best Indonesian translation services in Indonesia, GTE Localize proudly brings you premium quality translations from +120 languages to Indonesian and vice versa for a wide range of content. We guarantee to bring you Indonesian numerical translation services that are worth every penny you pay.


The following are other values that are included in our services::

    • Native Indonesian translators with more than 5 years of experience in numerical translation;
    • The cutting-edge technologies applied for all projects including CAT Tools, Localization Management Platforms, QA Tools, Self-built ERP, etc.;
    • Responsive and dedicated sales and project management teams;
    • Budget-saving rate, starting from $0.06/word.

Contact our team for more information on  Indonesian translation services or receive a free consultancy from our Indonesian localization experts.

For more information on our Indonesian numerical translation services, or to request a free consultation from our Indonesian localization specialists, please contact our team.