This was inspired by Other language localization (and I'm sure others)

I only speak one natural language, but can understand the frustration as-well-as appreciate the value of multiple languages.

However, a cloned SO at http://stackoverflow.fr is a the wrong approach.

Something more akin to the Wikipedia model, http://fr.stackoverflow.com where all questions are reproduced and users can translate them.

Questions (and answers) move to a new language will become community wiki and offer no reputation (however badges would be a fitting reward).

The benefits would run both ways, I'm sure there are many talented programmers in India and China who could add to and expand SO.


3 Answers 3


That's not really how Wikipedia works. Each language version of Wikipedia is it's own "encyclopedia." Articles may be just be translated from another language, but often they're written completely separately. (Think of how the Japanese encyclopedia entry on "Tokyo" might be editorially very different than the English entry). There are hyperlinks in the left-hand column from one language to another, but those are added after the fact.

  • I agree. We'd end up with lots of translated content from Stack Overflow on locale specific subdomains, but what would be the reciprocal value? If a question not already covered on SO was asked and answered on another SO domain, would it be translated and just 'imported'? That seems kind of icky.
    – user50049
    Apr 8, 2011 at 16:02
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    true. But every article on Wikipedia has a counterpoint in every other language, that's an important characteristic. If you write an article about London in the frisian Wikipedia, you have a truckload of great content on the english version that you can steal from and translate. That is great, because the english version is likely to be the most authoritative in that case. I expect it'd be similar with SO questions, at least at first. Maybe there need to be separate SO communities for each language, but with the possibility of pointing out "inter-language duplicates"
    – Pekka
    Apr 8, 2011 at 16:04

Something more akin to the Wikipedia model, http://fr.stackoverflow.com where all questions are reproduced and users can translate them.

I think the man hours needed to translate all the questions border on insane. Vs the rate of new questions asked.

  • I don't disagree - but I'm sure the plan is for SO to out live all it current users. Jul 1, 2009 at 15:31
  • 2
    From experience, I expect to outlive the relevance of a lot of questions (after all, in ten years, are we really going to care about the iPhone?); Similarly, I haven't seen any 68000 assembler questions yet, which is where I started seriously programming... Jul 1, 2009 at 16:05
  • 1
    Objective-C has been around since 1986 and C since 1972 even C# is 10 years old. So I think very much we'll be looking for answers in 10 years time. Jul 1, 2009 at 16:28

I'm going to disagree that a cloned SO at http://stackoverflow.fr (with just a translated interface) is the wrong approach.

A Chinese and Russian unauthorized clones have already been created.

Programmers like to hang out and discuss in their natural language. If they didn't, those sites wouldn't exist.

But like Ólafur points out, translating the actual content of the site would be ridiculously time consuming for little to no value. I'll put money down that a translation of the SO content site never actually spontaneously appears.

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