Number to Words and licencing

Geert Janssens janssens-geert at
Mon Nov 4 03:22:25 EST 2013

On Sunday 03 November 2013 20:54:46 John Ralls wrote:
> On Nov 3, 2013, at 6:45 PM, Buddha Buck <blaisepascal at> 
> > In the US at least it is customary to write out the amount and put
> > it in digits.  My checkbook in front of me has a form like:
> > 
> > 
> > Pay to the order of
> > _________________________________________________ $ ______
> > _______________________________________________________________
> > Dollars
> > 
> > I am expected to fill it out as:
> > 
> > Pay to the order of _John Smith_____________________________________
> > $123.45
> > _One Hundred Twenty Three and 45
> > Cents----------------------------------------------__ Dollars
> > 
> > I would never expect that second line to be "One-Two-Three and
> > Four-Five Cents".  I believe I have seen some computer-generated
> > checks which would fill out the second line as
> > "123.45****************" and not bother converting it to
> > spelled-out numbers.
> > 
> > I once made out a check for the amount "Twenty Even" and got charged
> > $27, so the amount in English does get read, even if incorrectly. 
> > The rule is that if the number (the $123.45) and the text (the "one
> > hundred...") disagree, the text takes precedent.
> Actually, if the text and number disagree the bank is supposed to
> reject the check.
> Anyway, the question isn't what's the right way to write out the
> amount in words for each language, the question is whether the
> Wikipedia article cited earlier in the thread is correct that checks
> are used only in the US, UK, and Canada. If that's so, we don't need
> to localize it at all.
I know that at least until a couple of years back checks were used a lot 
in France. I don't know if it still is at present. I have some friends 
who live in France, I could ask them.

In Belgium, people still use checks from time to time, but I have never 
seen them printed by ordinary people. Only banks print on checks here. 
Other people fill them in by hand.

I have read a few of the wikipedia articles in other languages (Dutch 
and French). The Dutch article confirms checks are not use much anymore 
in Belgium and the Netherlands. France does still use it a lot. Canada 
is mentioned as well, which has a fairly large French speaking part. So 
next to English, a French version may be desired.

I don't know for other languages.

As to the format of the text, I have seen both in Belgium. Some people 
spell the individual digits, other transcribe the complete number.

I haven't looked at ICU (yet), so I don't know how much we gain from it 
at what cost. I have no real opinion here.


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