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I am just wondering.

I work in Japan and almost all of my co-workers are of course Japanese who mostly do not read or write English. I often see them reading Japanese translation of books but to me these are not enough when I research for non-trivial problems.

I usually do go to the following sites: Experts-Exchange, ASP.NET, The Code Project, etc. These sites require English. It is one thing to memorize the syntax, it is another to read paragraphs of explanation in English.

Are there any Japanese or foreigner in Stack Overflow? How do you search for non-reference or non-trivial problems in the web? I just want to know so maybe I could point that to my co-workers.

They are usually lagging behind in new technology stuff especially in web/Ajax technology. Or even other new technology like other programming languages.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 19 '09 at 11:04

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4  
Experts-what? I can't read these hyphenated stuff... –  Ladybug Killer Aug 19 '09 at 11:21
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Hi John Smithers "Experts-Exchange", i meant another IT forum site liked stackoverflow. –  Nassign Aug 19 '09 at 11:42
    
@napoleon: That hyphenated site is a joke 'round these parts, since it's essentially the anti-StackOverflow. Go here: expert-sex-change.com and see what I mean. –  Eric Aug 19 '09 at 11:46
    
@smithers okay. yup i had heard of expert-sex-change before =) @juan manuel the admin moved it. not me –  Nassign Aug 20 '09 at 0:28
    
English is my 3rd language and I do just fine. They (your coworkers) should really learn the language. –  NullUserException อ_อ Aug 11 '10 at 22:09
    
That being said, I always try to fix broken English in posts –  NullUserException อ_อ Aug 11 '10 at 22:12

3 Answers 3

As programmers I think they'd have quite a handicap not even reading English.

Jeff wrote about this in The Ugly American Programmer and it's true: the language of programming is English.

From my own experience I can tell you that many if not most programming workplaces in Holland, Switzerland and Germany are in English. Most professional people (especially if under 30-40 years of age) will speak English as a second language and they probably learnt it in school.

I can't speak for anywhere else (non-English speaking) but any programmer who doesn't at least read English is doing themselves a real disservice to the point where they might be best off taking 3 months off work to do an English course for their own career prospects. I imagine the return on investment of that will be pretty darn short.

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1  
+1 (I know this will be deleted to the newly established rules). I am a non-native English speaker and I have nothing to add to what cletus said/wrote. –  Ladybug Killer Aug 19 '09 at 11:23
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Oh for the sake of completeness and full disclosure, I should point out that I am a native English speaker so take my perspective with a grain of salt. –  cletus Aug 19 '09 at 11:34
    
I agree with cletus that it is a real handicap. You could really see the efficiency of the Japanese with English background against the ones who does not. –  Nassign Aug 19 '09 at 11:40
    
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? –  NullUserException อ_อ Aug 11 '10 at 22:10

Speaking from Poland, as I see all non-English speaking software developers here are extinct.

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It's a shame you first have to acquire a good command in English in order to learn how to program.

I don't have a doubt; if you're are willing to make a living out of development you DO NEED a good command of English. That's clear and there is nothing to add here.

But I think it's too sad for young people, who are learning both (English and a programming language) to first have to take a 2+ years course in the spoken language in order to be able to ask.

"Why do I have this NullPointerException?"

I think it is feasible to allow localized "content" (question/answers) without having to localize the platform it self (which I think it the reason why the request was rejected).

It is important to differentiate between Stack Overflow communities (people speaking any natural language ) and Stack Overflow the platform (the one built with ASP.NET, etc.).

While the latter would need a lot of work to be translated, the former would be automatically generated due to the phenomena we call Web2.0 ... :)

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I doubt they'd need a 2+ year course, but I suspect that I was lucky in that we started English as a second language as early as age 9, back when I was in primary school. –  Vatine Aug 11 '10 at 16:25

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