What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 133 Stack Exchange communities.

So, Portuguese Stack Overflow is online, and I guess there will be more languages supported in the future. This brings up a big question for me. Is it OK to pick a random question in the English Stack Overflow, translate it and repost it in a different language Stack Overflow site?

Obviously there will be a lot of duplicated questions about simple topics like:

How to concatenate two strings in X language?

But is it allowed to pick an answer from the English (or any other language in the future) site and completely translate it? Furthermore are we allowed to repost translated questions? For example can I entirely translate Stack Overflow's most upvoted question and repost it in the Portuguese version?

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

Is it OK to pick a random question in the English Stack Overflow, translate it and repost it in a different language Stack Overflow site?

As a general method of wholesale seeding a new site with content: No. This should be a universal rule for the Portuguese site and any other international sites that may follow.

  • The long-standing (unspoken?) rule has been that you should generally ask questions that arise out of a specific problem that you are facing.

  • Seeding a site with translated questions would decrease users' motivation to answer. When a question is asked, the general idea is that there is a real person who needs that answer, and you're helping them.

    Even though Stack Overflow is supposed to be about building a canonical archive of questions and answers, and not only benefit the asker, the two go hand in hand.

  • A translated question does not benefit its original author; nor can the author respond to questions for clarification, implement improvement suggestions, nor accept the answer they feel is the most correct.

  • The SO.pt community should take a long hard look whether it wants to allow trivial questions that do little more than clog search results in the first place. There should be no community incentive to copy all that crap from SO.English, in my opinion.

share|improve this answer
3  
While I generally agree, I would be less absolute. I agree with you regarding picking a random question. But I think it would be fine to ask-and-answer a frequently asked question by translating the one among the thousands of duplicates that has the best answer. –  Gilles Jan 30 at 15:11
    
@Gilles yeah. Edited for clarity –  Pëkka Jan 30 at 15:12
    
The translated answer also does not benefit the person who originally wrote the answer. If I put a lot of effort into an answer, and then someone else gets a lot of credit (reputation points) for it, at least I wouldn't be terribly happy about that. Community Wiki might reduce the impact of that, but has other problems. –  Michael Kjörling Jan 30 at 15:47
3  
@MichaelKjörling Translating content effectively is hard. Rewarding someone for both doing a good job of choosing what to translate, and translating the content effectively, seems entirely warranted in my eyes. Of course, that's assuming they put the time and effort into a quality translation. Someone who just runs it through Google Translate will have a poor quality question, and the votes (should) reflect that. –  Servy Jan 30 at 15:56
    
Self answered questions don't fit these rules and have been accepted. Admittedly they usually arise from a problem I just encountered and solved, but still –  Richard Tingle Jan 30 at 16:03
    
@Servy that's a good point, but the problems, to me, still outweigh the benefits. There should be rules for when a a question is already well answered on another language site - those it maybe should be allowed to translate, while giving attribution. But artificially generating questions? Feels like a bad idea to me. –  Pëkka Jan 30 at 16:18
    
@Pëkka In my eyes it's mostly up to the community to effectively judge the content and only upvote it if it is valuable content, worth having translated, not already readily accessible, and to which the translation itself is well done. That might be overly optimistic, but if the community can get to a point where doing this only results in upvotes at time where the community really benefits, then it'd be far more effective than any attempt at policing and artificially disallowing questions would be. –  Servy Jan 30 at 16:23
    
Quote from Gabe's blog post: "Oh, and do not worry if your question is already on the site in English". Could be a bad translation, I seriously doubt it :) This ought to be sorted out by their own meta, I'd say. –  Uphill Luge Jan 30 at 22:37
    
@Uphill there is arguably a difference between asking a question you want to ask again in Portuguese, and picking questions on the English site at random and replicating them elsewhere just for the purpose of creating content, though. But I guess you're right, that will be sorted on their Meta before any official rule comes out –  Pëkka Jan 30 at 23:13

Yes, the cc-by-sa license on Stack Overflow does allow for this, as long as you give the proper attribution.

Whether the Portuguese site actually wants you to do this is a better question for their own Meta.

If you really mean "random question", the answer is almost certainly "no! please no! why?!?!?!". If you mean "some very good SO question with great answers I'm also going to translate", the answer might possibly shade toward the maybe/yes zone.

share|improve this answer

Why not just point them to the english link, and tell them to use google translate on the page?

share|improve this answer
18  
Because the translations often come out pretty terrible. That's the reason for creating other language sites in the first place. If that was generally effective then there'd be no reason to have any other language sites at all. –  Servy Jan 30 at 15:41
1  
Point whom to the English link? Are you suggesting OP post a "question" on PSO in Portuguese suggesting that people reading the question might want to go to some random SO question and translate it with Google Translate? :/ –  Wooble Jan 30 at 15:59
    
If you suggest people use Google translate, you've likely never had to use it in earnest. :) –  Pëkka Jan 30 at 17:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .