Devaluation vs Depreciation

Turkish lira is losing value agaist major currencies including US dollar and Euro. Which is the correct verb to use when translating into English: Devaluation (because the currency is losing value) or Depreciation?

The correct answer is ‘depreciation’.

Devaluation happens in fixed currency regimes when a government voluntarily reduces the value of its currency. It is their decision.

Depreciation happens in floating currency regimes and Turkey has a floating currency regime. Turkish government does not and cannot declare the value of US dollar against Turkish lira.

My translator colleagues may also argue that depreciation is also an accounting term which means allocating cost of assets into future years (amortisman in Turkish). That is also true but in our case depreciation means losing value in a liberal market.


Turkish: “Türk lirası dolar karşısında değer kaybediyor.”

English: “Turkish lira is depreciating against US dollar.”

For rapidly depreciating currency situations we may also use ‘currency melt down’, i.e ‘melt down of Ukranian currency’. Another alternative would be ‘detoriation’, although it has more negative connotations. Some articles may use ‘free fall’ to describe sudden and big value losses in a currency.

Our current guidelines for financial translations does not include this information and therefore I wanted to publish a quick addendum. Turkish translators please go to this link to download a free copy of Dragoman’s manual for financial translations.