Chinese Number Tool

02 Apr 2006

A little while back I recommended that Mark of the blog Doubting to shuō make an online number conversion tool similar to his Pinyin Tone Tool and Cantonese Tone Tool. Well, Mark has done it. These are the kinds of conversions it can do:

Input Output
五千八百 5800
兩百五十 250
三百萬 3000000
三百万 3000000
7十 70
九億 900000000
九亿 900000000
6.25亿 625000000
1500万 15000000
五億三千九百二十萬四千四百四十一 539204441
壹仟叄佰柒拾捌 1378

Note that the Chinese Number Tool handles simplified, traditional, and even 大写. The tool can also optionally insert commas in the output. See Mark’s blog entry about it for further explanation. Nicely done, Mark!


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Very nice! I wish the commas weren’t optional, and I hope that the guys behind Adsotrans get inspired by this.

  2. Micah,

    Yeah, now that you mention it, adding commas by default and including a button to remove the commas if necessary seems like the most user-friendly way to go…

  3. Actually, the functionality both of you want is already there. You don’t have to “Convert” before you “Add Commas”. You can just type in a Chinese number and click on “Add Commas”. It will convert the Chinese number into an Arabic number with commas. After you do this, you could click on “Convert” to remove the commas. On the other hand, you could click “Convert” to turn a Chinese number into an Arabic one with no commas, and then click “Add Commas” to add them.

    I guess I should rename the buttons to make this functionality clearer. Any suggestions?

  4. Mark,

    Cool. I would rename them as “Convert (commas)” and “Convert (no commas)” and put the former on the left, the latter in the middle. This makes it clearer because not only can you convert from Chinese characters, but you can convert between commas or no commas (and it puts the preferred format in the more convenient position).

  5. hey,due.i come from china. and I want to tell you a chinese idiom about numbers. “二百五” “250” 。 in some times it means “stupid”in chinese. for example “你是个二百五“ that means ” you are a stupid guy”
    so sorry for my poor English.

  6. Thanks for letting me know Edwin. I knew that “39” had that meaning, but I’d never heard that before about “250”. I changed the tool, so “250” is no longer the default text.

  7. nice work by Mark. I particularly like the way he has automated Chinese character entry on the page below — saves fumbling with Chinese IME.

    micah — not sure what you mean since adso has been doing this for a while, although 大写 support is a bit sketchy in unicode processing right now. only thing to be careful about is specifying the traditional encoding (or setting the software to guess the encoding) when passing in traditional characters like 萬. if there are any numbers which screw up people should feel welcome to pass word of it.

  8. Mark,

    “39,” do you mean “38?”

  9. @Gin: Yeah, I mis-typed it.

    @travelyan: Thanks. Praise from you about a Chinese tool is high praise indeed! Your seems really cool to me, and if you ever get one of equal quality going for traditional characters, I’ll make it my browser’s homepage. Seriously.

  10. Very cool stuff. Nice to see you developing Chinese learning so well John. Now if only there was such a site like yours available for Vietnamese wannabe speakers…

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