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roddy

Gigawatts, Megawatts and so on . . .

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roddy

Just when you thought that knowing 100万 is a million and 10亿 a billion would get you through life, they throw this at you . . .

So a 千瓦 is a kW - easy enough, both Chinese and English start with a thousand.
Now, the next step up in English is the MW (1,000,000W) but Chinese uses the 万千瓦 (10,000,000). I don't think I've ever seen an 亿瓦 used as a unit, it seems like the kW is regarded as the 'unit' rather than the W?

So 1千瓦 is a 1kW
So 10千瓦 is 10kW
So 100千瓦 is 100kW. So far so good.
So 1000千瓦 is 1MW. You also get 兆瓦. I don't think I've ever seen anything written 2.4千千瓦, but I wouldn't put it past them. At this point the Chinese shifts to 万千瓦
So 1万千瓦 is 10MW. That, I think is the one to remember, as then you can easily work out:
So 10万千瓦 is 100MW.
So 100万千瓦 is a GW. Which makes sense, as it's a million thousands. Also look out for 吉瓦 and 百万千瓦.
So 1000万千瓦 is 10GW. I'm also seeing use of ”千万千瓦级“
So 1亿千瓦 is 100GW. But I'm not that powerful yet (edit: I am now, just saw it!)

So 10亿千瓦 is 1000GW or 1TW (terawatt)

So 100亿千瓦 is 10 TW

I realize that was probably very boring for you all, but someone might find it useful, and I needed to work it all out.

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Outofin

Not boring at all. I noticed this when I was learning English.

I think the reason behind this is that the "k" in "kw" is not a number but a part of the unit "kw". The example of "kilometer" make this much more clear. kilometer is 千米, or 公里. It's a unit rather than 1000 meters. So it makes a lot of sense to say 10万公里 or 100万公里 in Chinese, but when it says 10万千米 or 100万千米, it would become as confusing as 10万千瓦 in your example.

I feel it quite annoying for those who can speak both Chinese and English. I don't know if other languages have the problem. English doesn't have 万. It simply uses 10 thousands. How many languages have a special word for 万? Does any language has a special word for 10万 or 100 thousands?

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chrix

for instance Japanese does too (for obvious reasons). It's even better when you're talking about large financial sums in Yen in Japanese and then not only have to translate the numbers into English, but also convert Yen to Dollar (100 Yen have been approx. 1$ for some time now, so it's more a question of two additional digits)...

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null
After that I guess it's 亿千瓦, or 100GW. But I'm not that powerful yet.

Basically yes.

据专家预测,照目前我国风电装机的增长速度,到2020年装机容量很有可能突破1.5亿千瓦,甚至还可能接近2亿千瓦。但国家电网能源研究院院长张运洲表示,到2020年,我国风电实现约1亿千瓦的开发规模将相对合理。

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rivercao
I feel it quite annoying for those who can speak both Chinese and English.

Haha, exactly, I am confused sometimes when I transfer the two units.

万=10 thousand

百万=1000 thousand

When refering units and numbers, I need to change my mindset quickly within limited time, which always makes me stressful, I think I need to practice a lot on numbers and units. And I guess it's the same thing when native English speaker learning Chinese.

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realmayo
Does any language has a special word for 10万 or 100 thousands?

In India there are two more:

One hundred thousand = Lakh = 100,000

Ten million = Crore = 10,000,000

I remember reading a novel set in India, A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, which has a young child who's fascinated by numbers. Using the British and the Indian words he can get up to ten million, but is annoyed there is no word for ten thousand ... until an uncle or someone tells him that the Chinese have 万, and he's delighted.

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OneEye

So how would one translate "1.21 jigawatts?" Great Scott!

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AxelManbow

Gigawatts? Roddy, are you working with China's National Grid?

I wondered the same thing some time ago in a car with a large digital speed display I was staring at. "Why does it say 44 km/h and not something with 万?" It is very interesting that KW is presented as 千瓦 rather than a KM equivalent like 公瓦.

I don't recall going the other way. Are there any issues for measurements like 微克 or 纳米?

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roddy

Nope, but they do get a mention in the translation.

It is very interesting that KW is presented as 千瓦 rather than a KM equivalent like 公瓦

Perhaps as there was never an imperial 英瓦. Now that would make my head hurt . . .

A Suitable Boy

Was thinking of that when I was writing the post, but couldn't recall which book it was in.

Incidentally, isn't 万 a really ugly character when you stare at it all day . . .

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xiaocai
It is very interesting that KW is presented as 千瓦 rather than a KM equivalent like 公瓦.

The correct physics term for KM is indeed 千米 in mainland China.

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roddy

If anyone's interested (I was expecting this topic to sink without trace personally, guess people really like big numbers) there's a table of English / Chinese SI unit terms here. Not sure how authoritative is is. Scroll down for the picos and gigas. Note the differences in mainland / Taiwan usage, and also that some are as yet blank - so if you fancy having a Chinese SI prefix named after you . . .

Some of the terms listed under Taiwan . . . 百萬兆 . . .毫微微 . . .

Oh, and if we're being correct, watch your capitalization. Units are lower case unless named after a person, prefixes are capitalized from M and up. So m, km, kHz, MHz. Think I've got that right . . .

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Outofin

兆 is confusing. I think Japanese, and somewhere in Chinese as well, uses 兆 as 万亿 or zillion.

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Glenn

Yeah, 兆 is 1,000,000,000,000 in Japanese. In case you're interested, 無量大数の彼方へ goes all the way up to 10^68 in Japanese. It's just numbers, though, not unit suffixes.

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in_lab

The fact 千瓦 becomes a single unit is also supported by the existence of a one character version 瓩. There are some more that might be listed in the wikipedia article for 合體, but the page isn't working for me right now.

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Glenn

Now that's interesting. They merged the characters, but the reading is the same:

千瓦

Would that have any benefit in speech? It seems like an attempt to make it easier to process the information when reading, but I don't see how that would help in speech. Unless maybe there's some sort of accent difference...

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roddy

There was a Sinosplice post on characters like that several years back - you can look it out if you want. They're not actually used nowadays though (at least I've never seen one in real life).

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roddy

At the risk of seeming smug and self-satisfied, I'm delighted to say I've just looked this post up to save me having to work out what 5346万千瓦 is in English. It's 53.46GW.

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HedgePig

If that comes from your electricty bill, you really are going to have to try and remember to switch off the lights when you leave the room!

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singer

1M watts is called 兆瓦

but you can also say 100万 千瓦,which means 100,000,000 watts

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roddy

I have now seen 亿千瓦 used in the wild. God help anyone who has to simultaneously translate this stuff . . .

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