From what I know, depending on the country you live, there are different ways of expressing a date range between two dates.

In Japanese :

0000/00/00 ~ 0000/00/00


0000/00/00 から 0000/00/00 まで

In English

0000/00/00 -> 0000/00/00


From 0000/00/00 to 0000/00/00

In French

0000/00/00 - 0000/00/00


Du 0000/00/00 au 0000/00/00

Now the problem is that I would like to use a single convention that can be easily understood in any culture.

Maybe I'm over-thinking it but the "->" symbol might be interpreted as a transformation instead of a range. I'm also afraid that the "~" might not be understood everywhere the same way (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilde).

So, what single symbol would you use for a globalized UI?

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    On its own no symbol would work. But when the goal of why I'm entering a date is clear, I don't think the symbol really matters. "When are you going on holiday? 0000-00-00 <:> 0000-00-00". Jul 15, 2014 at 6:42
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    @BartGijssens Because, as you can see in my examples above, the strings can be placed differently depending on the language (ie: Japanese).
    – majimekun
    Jul 15, 2014 at 7:48
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    That's the problem with fit-to-all solutions: they don't fit all. Jul 15, 2014 at 7:56
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    In general, I am all for localization and I agree that you can certainly find a language-specific way of expressing the date range in each language (at least when you use the "verbose" variants with actual words), but then, I also think that the claim that e.g. the format 0000/00/00 - 0000/00/00 is not understood everywhere just as well needs to be supported by a reference. After all, as pointed out by Sashko's answer, a straight horizontal line is used and understood in English to express ranges just as well instead of the arrow you suggest above. Jul 15, 2014 at 8:37
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    @FranckInJapan: A localizable string, as suggested by Bart Gijssens would work fine if you ask me: Du {from} au {until}, {from} から {until} まで, From {from} to {until}. Just substitute {from} and {to} and no need to worry about the rest of the string.
    – RobIII
    Jul 15, 2014 at 9:34

2 Answers 2


The international standard ISO 8601 specifies a notation that uses the slash “/” between dates expressed in the year-month-day notation, e.g.


This is the only reasonable globalized notation. But it should normally be used only a) internally in data representation when a date range needs to be represented as one string and b) as the rock-bottom fallback default to be used when the locale cannot be inferred or the locale is not supported (and you decide not to use English as default locale).

For localized presentations, the trend is to use CLDR information or libraries based on it. It specifies, among other things, localizations for different date range notations.

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    A slash can be misinterpreted in electronic documentation as "either ... or". Such ambiguities are usually solved by formatted write statements.
    – CodeManX
    Jul 15, 2014 at 17:19

I think it's better to put n-dash symbol (U+2013) without spaces on sides. This is typographically right. There is no strict rules about it so you are free to use western tradition.

What is the difference between dash and n-dash, you can read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dash

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