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There's been a few times that I've seen nearly unreadable questions from obviously non-native English speakers. I'm pretty certain the actual question would have been more clear if they had used an online translator to translate from their native language to English.

I haven't seen any of these too recently, and I don't think there's a need for any links to specific questions here. Would it be out of place to suggest (in a comment) that they could probably get better answers if they had a machine translate to English for them?

On one hand, it seems a little rude, but on the other hand, it seems very practical.

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Captcha for this question was "thou trolling" :) –  Mark Rushakoff Oct 5 '09 at 4:32
    
If they implement a Google Translate function, it wouldn't be necessary :P –  Ivo Flipse Oct 5 '09 at 5:20
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To quote Google Translator "This page is in Romanian" not –  pavium Oct 5 '09 at 5:38
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You might find that one of the reasons for the unreadable questions is they've already tried to use an online translator. –  CodeByMoonlight Oct 5 '09 at 7:31
    
Which page is Romanian? This one? There's not a single word in Romanian here... I think Google Translator needs a little bit more work. –  alex Oct 5 '09 at 12:07
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2 Answers

Making the questions easier to read helps everybody out. But who knows how accurately the translations will work for the English as a second language (ESL) speakers. They might not recognise their own question after the parse.

If you word it just right, it shouldn't come off as rude. Then again, intent could be hard to gauge if you're new/foreign to a language.

Maybe they could include their first attempt along with what the translation guessed for them. Someone with enough succulent rep points (2000 for normal posts, 100 on wikied posts) could then rewrite for the savoury betterment of all users.


Google Translation: They might not recognise their own question after the parse.

English > Indonesian

Mereka mungkin tidak mengenali pertanyaan mereka sendiri setelah parsing.

Indonesian > Croatian

Oni svibanj prepoznaju vlastite pitanja nakon obrade.

Croatian > Spanish

Que puedan reconocer sus propios problemas después del tratamiento.

Spanish > Thai

พวกเขาสามารถรับรู้ปัญหาของตนเองหลังการรักษา.

Thai > Czech

Mohou realizovat své vlastní problémy, po lécbe.

Czech > Italian

Si rendono conto i loro problemi dopo il trattamento.

Italian > Danish

De er klar over deres problemer efter behandlingen.

Danish > English

They are aware of their problems after treatment.

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I'm not sure what 'succulent rep points' means but I like it. –  Jay Riggs Oct 5 '09 at 6:09
    
+1, I had been meaning to send a phrase through "full circle" like this but kept forgetting to do it. However, the translator does reasonably well with one way operations. –  Tim Post Oct 5 '09 at 6:12
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This is obviously not a valid test since you said "recognise" rather than "recognize". –  GManNickG Oct 5 '09 at 6:38
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Just try blahblahfish.com and see what happens :) –  alex Oct 5 '09 at 6:41
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@GMan There was no language option for American. –  random Oct 5 '09 at 6:43
    
Indeed, us poor Americans are raised into weird spellings and units of measurement :( Halp. –  GManNickG Oct 5 '09 at 7:11
    
the circular tripping is thusly demonstrated in awe –  Steven A. Lowe Oct 5 '09 at 19:59
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Why not allow the author to put its question both in unreadable english and in its native language? This would allow other speakers of this language to offer a better translation (assuming they have enough rep to edit questions).

I am not sure that this would be appropriate for answers though.

Moreover, this should not be understood as an invitation to answer in that language.

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It's not an invitation, but it will make people consider answering in that language. I would not go down that path... –  alex Oct 5 '09 at 10:09
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