For book translations, what currency does one reference when translating for one language that covers a bunch of countries?

What I am alluding to is this: suppose someone is referring to something as costing four rupees. In the English version of the book, there is an editor's note explaining that it is the equivalent of U.S. .06, in order to give U.S. reader's an idea of how little that amount is. If you are translating the book into a different language that covers a lot of geographical territory, say, Portuguese, what currency would you use for the editor's note for areas and countries that are not pegged to the dollar, and use a different currency in every country where Portuguese is spoken? (i.e. Brazilian Reais, Euros (Portugal), Mozambique Metical, Angolan Kwanza, West African CFA franc (Guinea-Bissau), U.S. Dollar (East Timor), Central African CFA franc (Equatorial Guinea), Cape Verde Excudo, São Tomé and Príncipe Dobra.) The book could be available and read in any of them, so there isn't just one country to consider; however, different versions will not be available for each country (there won't be a "Portugal version," am "Equatorial Guinea" version, etc.)--there will simply be a Portuguese version for anyone who speaks Portuguese.

This doesn't just apply to Portuguese; this will be problematic in many other languages too.

It's a nonfiction book, if that matters.

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    Why not keep US dollar? The book is already using it for many people for whom it is not the local currency. – Patricia Shanahan Jul 19 '16 at 2:20
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    My concern is that in just keeping it in U.S. dollars it gives no relative equivalent to the reader, like how I would have no idea if something quoted to me as 20,000 Baht was expensive or a great deal. – L.Davis Jul 19 '16 at 2:24
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    I don't think e.g. Portuguese are any less aware of the value of the US dollar, or less capable of finding out the conversion to/from their own currency, than English-speaking residents of the UK, Irish Republic, Canada, New Zealand, Australia etc. – Patricia Shanahan Jul 19 '16 at 2:37
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    You will never get it perfect. The problem is that 4 rupees can probably buy a lot more in the country where rupees are used, than 6 US cents in the United States. Trying to convey the amount of money by doing a currency conversion is entirely beside the point: if you really want to convey the amount of money you should compare it to something more tangible, like how many average meals you can buy with that money. // On the other hand, if the currency conversion is intend to give the feeling of "relative wealth" (for example, imagine a fictional piece where a middle class American realizes... – Willie Wong Jul 19 '16 at 2:39
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    ... he can live like a king in some other country based on his savings), then doing your "accurate" conversion again may distort the feeling the author was trying to impart. // If the work is a scholarly work and is giving US dollars as a "relatively stable currency" to document the actual monetary amount, then there's no point trying to translate the currency: readers who care can easily look it up. – Willie Wong Jul 19 '16 at 2:41

I've had similar issues with translating currency in the past.

I believe that as a general rule of thumb, if the text has a worldwide audience, using US Dollars is the best choice. Many countries will have a general grasp on the value of USD and those who don't can simply use conversion tools to guide them. If the book applies to a more narrow geographical area, you can use the currency for that area (e.g. Euros for a European Audience)

No currency is accepted and understood worldwide. However, US Dollar is probably more global than the rest.

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    Thank you for responding. I'm relieved to know I'm not the only one who was so stuck on this seemingly minor detail! – L.Davis Jul 19 '16 at 17:00

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