Saturday, April 28, 2007

Figuring out where to put the decimal place...

Talking numbers here, as it's not enough to try to figure out where all the conversions are, but the Chinese think in increments of 10,000 - not thousands. So to say to someone something's one hundred thousand dollars, you would actually say that something is 10 'ten thousands'. If you said it the other way around - that it's 100 thousands, they would just look at you funny, giggle and think it was the most ridiculous thing they'd heard in a while.

This isn't so much of a problem when you're talking one number or two, but when you're working on quotes and estimates and then throwing in currency conversions, it's not something you want to screw up being off by a factor of 10 - far worse than a mere metric-imperial conversion error. We've had near heart attacks in running jobs and then wondering after the fact if we'd done it properly. It's been 3 years since I started working on production in China and I'm still not used to it. This may say more about me than the job, but I digress.

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