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Crimea referendum: 64% turnout at 15h00 as tension rises in eastern Ukraine.

Also what does it mean? And how should I read it aloud?

My try is " sixty four percent turnout at fifteen. Am I correct in this interpretation on reading it aloud ?

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3 Answers 3

This notation is not used in any English-speaking country that I know of. It appears to be peculiar to France; your source, Euronews, is headquartered in France. Almost anywhere else this will be represented with a . or : replacing the h, or with no separator—so-called ‘military time’.

As Happy tells you, 24-hour notations are read among the military as “so-many-hundred hours”. In civilian speech, however—in the US, at least, and I think this is probably true elsewhere in the English-speaking world—24-hour notation is often, perhaps usually, “translated” into 12-hour terms, so 15h00 would be spoken as “three pee-em”, representing 3:00 pm.

But as Jolenealaska points out, many civilians in the US are familiar with the ‘military’ reading, and that familiarity is growing with the spread of the internet, where timestamps are commonly expressed in 24-hour notation. The main thing is to employ the form your hearers will be comfortable with. Use the military version with people you expect to understand it, use the translated reading if you’re not sure.

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@Jolenealaska I'm happy to be instructed if I am in error. –  StoneyB Mar 16 at 16:15
    
On this one, I think you are. As a veteran I'm pretty comfortable with military timekeeping. I did the same thing working at NSA as a civilian. I continued the same thing keeping medical records as a veterinary technician. 15:00 is said: Fifteen Hundred. –  Jolenealaska Mar 16 at 16:21
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@Jolenealaska Ah, but you're a veteran, and I expect your work at NSA also routinely employed 24-hour notation. I was exposed to 24-hour notation quite early, as a boy in Austria, so I understand it pretty automatically, and of course the internet has made 24-hour notation familiar to almost everybody. But I would never say 'fifteen hundred' to friends or family or anybody I do business with, and I don't recall ever hearing it there--even from my step-brother and brother-in-law, who are retired Colonels in the Marines and Air Force, respectively. –  StoneyB Mar 16 at 16:30
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So you translate. You say Three O'clock. –  Jolenealaska Mar 16 at 16:32
    
Or it was always Three O'clock. No matter –  Jolenealaska Mar 16 at 16:35

In the 24-hour time system, also known as military time, the time is read like a 4-digit number. The "hour part" of the number counts "hundreds". Hence, your phrase would be read as:

Sixty-four percent turnout at fifteen hundred hours ...

It is not to be read as "one thousand and five hundred hours".

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As an American, I would read this one of two ways:

sixty-four percent turnout at fifteen hundred hours

or

sixty-four percent turnout at 3 p.m.

my argument for the second form is that the 15h00 notation has served its purpose of making it clear to the reader exactly what time was meant. So now that I know they mean 3 p.m., I'm just going to say "3 p.m.", because that's how 99% of Americans expect that time of day to be referred to.

I would not expect to hear the long form except in a movie or television show about the military. Americans typically refer to 24-hour notation as "military time".

Note: I added the "American" qualifier several times to make it clear that I'm speaking from the perspective of an American English speaker. I don't want anyone misled into thinking this holds for anywhere else in the English speaking world. Particularly, where train travel is more common, you see 24-hour notation much more often, and I don't know how they pronounce it there.

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