Lost in Translation 2020
JPG screenshot, iMac native resolution 5120 x 2880px
NFT backed digital work

The long and short scales are two of several large-number naming systems for integer powers of ten that use the same words with different meanings. The long scale is based on powers of one million (1,000,000), whereas the short scale is based on powers of one thousand (1,000).

Both systems fail to have the same meaning or effectiveness when it is translated into another language. The confusion comes if we talk about billions, the term in English, or billions, the term in Spanish. The billion of the English-speaking countries is equal to 1,000 million in Spanish, while, the billions in Spanish are equivalent to a million million in English. Adding to the confusion is that both systems before reaching the trillion or the billion are the same.

The Royal Spanish Academy has mentioned in the Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Doubts that the term "billion" is ambiguous in Puerto Rico, although it should not be so and is considered barbarism, due to its current state of association with the United States. Something must have gotten lost in translation because billions in Spanish are not like the billions in English.

1/1