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I came across a question in another language that I happen to speak. Should I edit it and add a translation?

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marked as duplicate by Josh Caswell, Martijn Pieters, Won't, Hugo Dozois, juergen d Oct 28 '13 at 22:28

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Assuming you did, how would they understand the comments/answers? At the end of the day if the author can't speak enough English to communicate their question, they won't be able to be helped. Also note that editing such questions encourages people to continue to post them, hoping someone else will translate them, despite it being a violation of the rules. –  Servy Oct 28 '13 at 18:50
    
All fair points @Servy any ideas on how I could constructively help them? also post as an answer –  inquisitiveidiot Oct 28 '13 at 18:52
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@explain to them in their own language that they need to post in English. –  Servy Oct 28 '13 at 18:53
    
I think that's a good idea . –  S.MAHDI Oct 28 '13 at 20:46

2 Answers 2

up vote 17 down vote accepted

If it's a good question and you have more than 2000 rep points*, I don't see why not - if you manage to edit it in time before it gets downvoted and closed, which will usually happen quite quickly.

Of course, what Servy and Robert Harvey say applies - it's doubtful whether the OP will be able to follow the conversation in English, and trying to save a question this way is "heroic": the chance of a positive outcome can be very small. It's probably not something you want to do on a regular basis.

* as @dcaswell notes in the comments, suggesting a translated edit is a hopeless endeavour. You should be able to do direct edits if you want to translate stuff.

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I don't think that a blanket "no" is right either. But I view it a bit differently - if it's an awesome question that doesn't require further input from the OP, go ahead and translate. I don't really care if the OP understands the answers directly - they can find help translating. But losing an awesome question is sad. –  Mat Oct 28 '13 at 19:07
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@Yosi I find that a super weird argument. The future of any post on the system is dependent on whether enough active volunteers woke up this morning or not, isn't it? This is not to establish a policy saying that people are free to post foreign language questions and that someone in the community is guaranteed to translate it for you; quite the contrary. But why should inquisitiveidiot not be allowed to try and save a foreign language question when he happens to see one? I'm surprised this is even an issue. –  Pëkka Oct 28 '13 at 19:15
    
Though saving the question is only likely if the question is good to begin with. If it's purely a matter of translation, it might be worth it. But if it's not all that clear, even when asked in perfect English, the unlikely clarification by the OP does not give me high hopes. –  Bart Oct 28 '13 at 19:26
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@Yosi so what? The same applies to any question that is poorly written, no matter in which language. Either a volunteer will happen by and save it, or not. Why is that an argument for telling the volunteer not to try? As said, I don't really get why this is even an issue. –  Pëkka Oct 28 '13 at 19:28
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@Yosi but why is that an argument against someone trying to save it? It doesn't mean you aren't free to downvote and closevote it –  Pëkka Oct 28 '13 at 19:39
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@Yosi the same argument can be made for posters of low quality questions. –  Pëkka Oct 28 '13 at 19:42
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@probablyPekka One thing that's not covered in your answer is that the OP has less than 2000 rep. No matter how much someone wants to help, we probably don't need language translation going through the Suggested Edits process. –  dcaswell Oct 28 '13 at 20:25
    
@dcaswell that's a fair point indeed, I'll add that. –  Pëkka Oct 28 '13 at 20:27
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@probablyPekka You've earned the "Recovery" badge for editing your answer. –  Josh Crozier Oct 28 '13 at 20:39

No, for a few reasons.

First, we can't rely on you (or other bilingual users) to always be there to translate questions for us, so such questions will get unequal treatment. Google Translate is available for those who want to make the attempt.

Fundamentally, SO is an English site for English writers. Users who communicate in a foreign language are going to find it difficult to respond meaningfully to the community.

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I don't follow the "unequal treatment" argument at all. Doesn't that apply to any poor quality post on the system? And I'd much rather see a question manually translated than automatically. –  Pëkka Oct 28 '13 at 18:53
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Posts made by foreign language speakers, more often than not, fall into that poor quality category. Those that don't can probably adequately communicate in English. –  Robert Harvey Oct 28 '13 at 18:53
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yeah, definitely, but what's wrong with editing and trying to save it? I'm not saying it's always guaranteed to work. But since when do we discourage trying? –  Pëkka Oct 28 '13 at 18:54
    
It's just not something that can be supported by policy, that's all. We don't expect the community to make this kind of heroic effort to save questions. We expect people to post their questions in English, and in general communicate in English while on the site. –  Robert Harvey Oct 28 '13 at 18:54
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Well, this answer is formulating a policy that actively discourages trying, and I don't really understand why that is necessary. But people seem to be agreeing with you, and disagreeing with me, so maybe it's me who's not seeing the point –  Pëkka Oct 28 '13 at 18:58
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@probablyPekka - You are being impatient. ;) –  JDB Oct 28 '13 at 19:11

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