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I ran into a question that was originally written in Indonesian: Windows 7 not starting correctly on Toshiba Satellite L640

I successfully attempted to salvage the question by using Google Translate and rewriting the question from the translation. I also took steps to ensure that the question author could read the answer by including a Google translation as part of my answer as well as posting a comment in the user's native language on using Google Translate.

However, should we attempt to support non-English users this way? I'm not sure about the long-term impact of doing this.

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Love the sentiment, but at least the first step of the process (Google Translate) they could have done themselves. Also, you could have asked this on Super User Meta, the Super User community may have different answers, although I don't think so, it's still up to them to decide since the question was asked there. – Yannis May 3 '12 at 4:07
@YahooAnswersenthusiast: This question is relevant network-wide, so I decided to post it here instead of Super User Meta. The same would apply had this occur in Photography. – bwDraco May 3 '12 at 4:15
Every question that could be asked on a site Meta is potentially relevant network wide, that wasn't my point, my point is that since the question in question was asked on Super User, you should be asking the Super User community about it. We don't get to decide for them, and we don't get to decide for Photography either. – Yannis May 3 '12 at 4:18
Had the output of the machine translator been unintelligible or nonsensical, I would have let the question stand and voted to close as "not a real question" (I did vote to close despite rewriting the question). – bwDraco May 3 '12 at 4:25

1 Answer 1

up vote 17 down vote accepted

No. Let them put that effort in themselves. Vote for close as Too Localized.

Your intent is good, no doubt, but that just won't work on long term. We are not a translation service. We do not want to invite foreign users to post questions in their native tongue and expect someone else to translate it for them. It will also not work if the OP does after all not understand English at all.

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I think "not a real question" applies more than "too localized", in that the question cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. – Yannis May 3 '12 at 4:06
It's indeed not answerable by the worldwide audience, but it's answerable by a small geographic area. I've seen enough non-English questions closed like that on SO. – BalusC May 3 '12 at 4:08
;) Too localized is commonly abused for geographical reasons, that's not really what it should be used for. Indonesia is home to 238 million people (4th most populous country in the world), so even if too localized made sense here, you can't really call Indonesia a small geographic area, other than being extremely populous it's also the 15th largest country by area. – Yannis May 3 '12 at 4:10
As long as DragonLord has the motivation and energy to do this kind of work, I don't see why we should tell him not too. Maybe it's not scalable, but so what? If you (and I) don't want to, and we get there first, then yes, vote to close. – Benjol May 3 '12 at 6:36

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