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I have a filter feed set up that automatically shows me all the questions tagged with [clojure] across the entire network. Occasionally (as is the case now), a Clojure question will appear that was asked on the Spanish or Russian Stack Overflow site.

Clojure isn't a very popular language, and I'd rather not see questions go unanswered. The problem is, I only know English.

I successfully answered a Spanish Clojure question before despite not knowing Spanish, by using Google Translate.

I'm curious what the community's opinion is however. Should I try and answer questions that are written in languages that I don't know by translating my answer to the target language via some translating tool? Should I just leave them and hope someone that knows the language will answer?

  • As long as it’s a legitimate attempt at an answer, and you did your best with google translate and research and formatting and so on, then it’s an answer. After that, it’s up for the voting community to determine its value. It’s certainly possible that through google translate you misunderstood the question or your answer was mangled beyond repair, but it is what it is. You answered, that’s fine; it’s just no guarantee it’s a good answer. – Dan Bron Nov 12 '18 at 16:38
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I'd say it's fine, and even recommended in a niche tag. Google Translate is good enough at Spanish, Portuguese and Russian* that the intentions of your posts are clear enough after translation; other users will be able to correct your grammar, and together you'll be building una biblioteca de respuestas detalladas para todas las preguntas sobre a library with detailed answers for all questions about [topic X].

Should I just leave them and hope someone that knows the language will answer?

For easily answered questions, especially those which will probably involve a lot of back-and-forth commenting, the author of the question is probably better off with help from a (near-)native speaker.


Anecdotally, I know of a few users (me included) who are practicing a language by reading and answering Stack Overflow questions.

*: probably Japanese as well, but I don't speak Japanese at all so I can't tell.

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