I need to translate the following text:

10s of Watt - tens of Watt

1000s of Watt - thousands of Watt

How can I translate it?

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  • 9
    Please always write whole sentences. You never translate words. You always translate meanings, and without any context it is hard to guess what "10s of Watt" means. But if you pack it in a whole sentence it might become much clearer. Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 7:52
  • 1
    @HubertSchölnast, I suppose it means “tens of Watt(s)”.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 8:49
  • @HubertSchölnast i translate a list of units in a table. no context Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 9:23
  • 7
    @AnnaKoroleva: well, from my pov that is already some context. Please include it. So your table uses "10s of Watt" as heading? Or as one of many entries under which heading? Or is it more like "this column has Watts as unit, this has 10s of Watt and this has kilo Watts"? How is this table structured, what should a reader grasp of it? Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 9:58
  • 6
    I don't understand the close votes Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 11:55

5 Answers 5


As far as i know, german has no term for "tens of [something]". Fairly commonly you will hear "Dutzende", meaning several dozen. While not an exact translation, it transports the same meaning: the exact numbers still match both. Colloquially (which doesn't fit your purpose), you often hear "zig" which is derived from "zwanzig, [dreissig], vierzig, fünfzig), so, the most common ending of the spoken tens. Hundrets are "hunderte", thousands are "tausende", tens of thousands are "zehntausende".

As a side note I would like to add that for me as a native german technophile, those numbers ("tens of Gbps") feel strangely vague. I would normally expect more precise numbers, something along the lines of "20 - 60 Gbps" or such.

  • 5
    agree. In german writings I'm more used to ranges instead of multipliers. And given table I also would write xx-yy GPs or 2-5kW. While "peak" should not be a range. Yet again I think the problem occurs due to a high variety of the row entry (which is a class of things, not a thing only), like here: fiberlabs.com/glossary/erbium-doped-fiber-amplifier Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 12:18
  • 3
    I think the English version is vague as well -- not really ready for publication. It's basically giving an estimate of an order of magnitude rather than any actual value. If I went to a store and the price for something was given as "10s of dollars" then I'd probably want further information before deciding whether to buy it.
    – RDBury
    Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 18:21
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    "Dutzende" isn't quite suitable for a technical document.
    – tofro
    Commented Nov 5, 2021 at 20:27
  • 7
    @tofro Neither is "10s of" :-)
    – Bergi
    Commented Nov 6, 2021 at 0:44
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    Paul Frost suggests im zweistelligen Bereich, which I think is an excellent translation in this context.
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 9:47

I found the complete table in

Kaushal, Hemani, V. K. Jain, and Subrat Kar. "FSO System Modules and Design Issues." Free Space Optical Communication. Springer, New Delhi, 2017. 91-118.

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See here. One can see that the columns contain very heterogeneous entries; most of them describe a certain range. Moreover, the units are varying (Mbps / Gbps, W / mW). So what does the formulation "10s of ..." mean? Here one can read

AG markers are generally measured in the 10s of watt power range – 10, 20 up to 50 watts.

This indicates that we should not try to find a literal translation of "10s" and "1000s" to German. My suggestion:

  • 10s of Watt -> im zweistelligen Watt-Bereich

  • 1000s of Watt -> im tausender Watt-Bereich

  • 10s of Gbps -> im zweistelligen Gbps-Bereich


In a comment by Emil it is suggested to replace "im tausender Watt-Bereich" by "im dreistelligen Watt-Bereich" or "im Kilowatt-Bereich". I agree to him, that sounds better.

  • 2
    +1 for zweistelligen Bereich. This formulation is frequent in German, such as die 7-Tagen inzidenz liegt im zweistelligen/dreistelligen Bereich.
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 9:46
  • 1
    The proper translation, and another example where the German locale won't fit the text box ;-). Commented Nov 7, 2021 at 10:15
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    "im tausender Watt-Bereich" does not sound correct to me. I would rather use "im dreistelligen Watt-Bereich" or "im Kilowatt-Bereich".
    – Emil
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 8:15
  • @Emil Thank you for your suggestion. See my update.
    – Paul Frost
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 10:24
  • "im Kilowatt-Bereich". Everything else is wrong or weird. Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 11:15

German does use the literal translation of "tens of something" with "zig etwas" (as in "zwanzig" or "fünfzig") - but only in colloquial language. You wouldn't use that in a serious document.

There's also an expression for hundreds and thousands: "Hunderte" and "Tausende" - but this also wouldn't be used in a serious technical document.

You would probably use something like "mehrere 10 Gbps" or even "n x 10 Gbps" (which can be misleading) or "im 10-Gbps-Bereich" or very probably, just an upper and lower limit.

  • +1 for "mehrere 10 Gbps". This or similarly "einige 10 Gbps" would be how I would say "tens of Gbps".
    – Emil
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 8:19

The best translation that I see as a native German engineer is

  • "1000s of Watt" -> "kilo Watts" or "kW"
  • "100s of Watt" -> "hecto Watts" or "hW"
  • "10s of Gbps" -> "deka Gbps" or "daGbps"

These are standardized as SI prefixes, as well as appropriate in the technological context but the last two are very uncommon (at least for me). I don't know if combining prefixes gives a legitimate SI prefix. "kW" however is very common.

I also thought of "100-fache Watt" but this is maybe not unambiguous.


10s of Gbps

We don't have an equivalent for "10s of ..." in German, but we do have "12s of ...", used in one of these variants:

  • "Dutzende von Gbps"
  • "Dutzende Gbps"
  • "Einige Dutzend Gbps"
  • "Einige Dutzende Gbps"

In contrast:

  • "Dutzend Gbps" - this would mostly be interpreted at being exactly or very close to 12 Gbps, but certainly not a multiple of 12's, and only feels weird because, well, 12 Gbps don't ocur in nature, normally.

1000s of watts

We have this directly:

  • "1000e (Tausende) Watt"
  • "Tausende von Watt"
  • "Einige Tausend Watt"
  • "Einige Tausende Watt"

Again, not:

  • "Tausend Watt" - this means "1000 Watts".

Other numbers

The same scheme can be used for many other numbers, for example:

  • "Einige Watt" - a few watts
  • "Einige hundert Watt" - 100s
  • "Einige Millionen Watt" - 1,000,000s
  • "Einige Milliarden Watt" - 1,000,000,000s
  • "Einige Billionen Watt" - 1,000,000,000,000s
  • "Einige Trillionen Watt" - 1,000,000,000,000,000s

Again, interestingly, there is no variant for 10s.

As a side note, even though we're metric, it is perfectly acceptable to use "tausende von Watt" anstelle von "einige Kilowatt" in terms of the general language. The same as we talk about "1000 km" instead of "1 Mm", people understand this very well, even though there may be conventions in some engineering circles to do otherwise.

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