I was just thinking about something, about how we could help non-English speakers participate on Stack Exchange sites. I'm not talking about localised sites for them, I'm talking about a common Stack Exchange site for all language speakers, because then it'll be a truly universal community.

Perhaps something along the lines of making non-English content community translatable, and what keeps it going would be rewarding reputation points or badges to those members of the community who help translate them.

Earlier mother meta posts to similar questions suggested that all questions non-English should be translated by professionals, which would obviously require a huge number of such translators, thereby making it unviable economically. My proposal eases the load on the necessity to have a large number of professional translators. All they have to do is to verify community translations, and we'd need far less of such professionals compared to the earlier case.

Some comments and answers suggest that such a feature would require us to translate comments, chat, etc. which would pile up more work. I suggest we need just translate the questions and answers, since the very opportunity to ask a question and receive a decent answer in their tongue for some non-English speakers is a great thing. (I've also mentioned this in my comment to an answer below.)

Of course, I have no idea about the costs, etc. involved in bringing about such a feature. It's just a random idea that popped into my brain, and I thought it'd be of some use to discuss about it.

What are your opinions and reactions on the same?

  • 7
    English is the acceptable international language in SE. I'm not a native speaker, but I still don't see how piling up work is worth imaginary internet points.
    – M.A.R.
    Jul 6, 2015 at 17:44
  • That would be a confusion of translated posts
    – user289879
    Jul 6, 2015 at 17:44
  • 5
    I'd close such a site as too broad.
    – nicael
    Jul 6, 2015 at 17:45
  • In 2015, there were 67 sovereign states and 27 non-sovereign entities where English was an official language. Many country subdivisions have declared English an official language at the local or regional level.... Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Jul 6, 2015 at 17:46
  • 4
    The practical solution is: learn English. Not only will it help you use the SE, but a marvelous world of books, movies, songs and ballads will be open to you. Jul 6, 2015 at 17:48
  • 1
    @DeerHunter But that's true with any "learn language [X]" advice
    – Jim
    Jul 6, 2015 at 17:49
  • @JimsBond - plus tons of science and technology literature, limericks and rap. Jul 6, 2015 at 17:51
  • 1
    Well, I doubt there's a lot of rap written in Latin. So you win this round
    – Jim
    Jul 6, 2015 at 17:53
  • 5
    Not sure this would be sustainable. There's millions of questions and answers, and the number of edits and additional posts increases every day. What did get translated would get out of sync. What benefit would this bring over machine translations, which improve every year?
    – user1228
    Jul 6, 2015 at 18:04
  • @Won't c'mon millions, SO gets "just" 8K questions a day. Easy peasy to translate to any language, isn't it
    – gnat
    Jul 6, 2015 at 18:24
  • @M.A.Ramezani "Piling up work for imaginary internet points" is also the case for present review queues, so what's your point ? Anyways, do you have any data to back up "English is the acceptable international language in SE" ?
    – Gaurav
    Jul 7, 2015 at 4:18
  • @Won't Point taken about machine translations. I do think they are the way forward.
    – Gaurav
    Jul 7, 2015 at 5:58
  • @Gaurav - 1) The point you're missing is current review queues are worth it. They're a big help when it gets to cleaning the site. And not every post needs reviewing; while with your feature, we should sit and translate stuff all day. 2) English is the current acceptable language in many fields, from science to technology. That doesn't need proving. When you see a product with made in China on it, you aren't reading that in Mandarin, but in English.
    – M.A.R.
    Jul 7, 2015 at 7:15

2 Answers 2


Creating a SE for all

In theory it's a beautiful idea, but in reality it's a bit pointless.

Perhaps something on the lines of making non-English content community translatable

Your idea is to translate to English because the OP cannot write in English, but how do they get their answer or respond to comments which would be in English?

They'd have to use a translator.

If they are needing to use a translator to understand comments, answers, edits, close reasons, etc etc, then why not just have them translate into English in the first place and save the review queues from a lot of work?

  • You're right in a way, that you can't translate each and every comment. But for many students, just the opportunity to ask a question in their native tongue and receiving a quality answer in their own language is a great deal, since there might not even be people (who speak the OP's tongue) being able to give a decent answer. That's why even the translation of just the questions and answers will be of great utility to a student, say, from Peru.
    – Gaurav
    Jul 7, 2015 at 3:07

Access the site through Google Translate or something of that sort? Machine translation is still pretty bad, but it has gotten good enough to understand at least the rough outlines of most simple sentences.

(Aliro ejo thru Google Translate aŭ io de tiu speco ? Perkomputila tradukado estas stll sufiĉe malbone , sed alvenis sufiĉe bona por kompreni almenaŭ la malglataj konturoj de plej simplaj frazoj. -- Esperanto, via a machine.)

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