I don't think Stack Overflow should allow questions in other languages, do they? I often hear comments like "I wish we had Stack Overflow in our language".

Are there any plans to make Stack Overflow available to non English speaking countries?

Is it OK if people "clone" Stack Overflow to make it available locally?


11 Answers 11


In my opinion, English is the lingua franca of software development. It is very hard to become and remain a competent software developer without a good command of English language. This is not elitism as we all know that most programming related material out there (like references, blogs, etc.) are written in English, especially online documents.

Stackoverflow is a medium for people who are willing to learn, and someone who failed to learn English to a level where he or she can understand programming related text in English or compose even basic questions in English (and I don't think that anybody has ever been mocked on SO because his or her bad English) is clearly someone who is not a 'learner' as probably not the target audience of Stackoverflow. Also, it is always possible to just grab a dictionary and translate the text.

Therefore, I reckon creating localised versions of Stackoverflow would be completely in vain as it would be just a waste of resources, and it would unnecessarily divide the community into segments as well.


I only speak English, but I can see how someone who speaks English enough to get by, might still not have quite the language required to express a complicated abstract concepts in their 3rd or 4th tongue.


  1. It's not really SO's job to satisfy that. They made a site, we use it. If you want a similar site in Gaelic, write it, or copy this one, or something.
  2. As others have mentioned, the number of people who will be able to answer a question posed in Gaelic is MUCH less than in English...
  3. since many computer terms were originally coined in English, no matter what language you choose, it's going to be a lot of English anyway... and
  4. There's really nothing stopping anyone (to my knowledge) from posting here in any language you want...

(And yes, I chose "Gaelic" as a random language for humor value)


I think the best solution would be for stackoverflow to 1) localize their UI and 2) provide support for questions in different languages. Users could then, a la Google, search for questions that match their primary language, or if they wanted, add additional languages to search. This would all be personalized.


I totally agree with the answer that says English is the lingua franca of software development. Most material related to software development is in English, I don't see how someone who wants to be a good developer can ignore this fact. Personally, one of the main reasons I improved my English was to become a better software developer.

The other reason why it could be hard to localize Stackoverflow is the number of users. Stackoverflow is a community of software developers so the number of users are much less than a site like Y!A for example, now by asking a question in a local language in a community that's not too large, you have a much less chance for getting a good answer for your question.


I can't believe no one's mentioned http://www.askdev.ru/ yet. Now it looks a little different; before, it was basically a perfect imitation of SO

  • 1
    it is not imitiation, it is programming Q&A as SO - feel the difference? – waney Mar 19 '09 at 15:56
  • wow... a comment and a downvote. cool. It was an exact copy of the UI. The focus may have been different. – Mikeage Mar 20 '09 at 4:54

English is the lingua franca of computer programming, just like latin was for medicine a few centuries ago, and english was for computers in general a few decades ago.

The current lack of online programming documentation in other languages shouldn't be an argument against localizing a successful programming site.


You can ask questions in whichever language you want. I know I've seen a couple non-english questions on stackoverflow. I don't think anybody would mod you down, simply for writing in another language. However, if you speak a language that not too many other readers speak, it may not get answered very quickly.

  • 1
    I'm not against non-English questions, but I think that everybody would mod him down. As far as I can see from some silly questions posted every now and then, somebody would also use the offensive flag of death, as a quick expedient to get the question removed. – Federico Ramponi Nov 3 '08 at 2:04
  • So far, I've only seen stackoverflow.com/questions/139513/… (which has been modded to +2 and has an answer in the same language as +3). – CesarB Nov 3 '08 at 2:06
  • Note that 1) the question was asked on Sept 26, few days after the "opening", and to a really smaller user base that came from the "beta stage"; and 2) the question was indeed flagged offensive. – Federico Ramponi Nov 3 '08 at 2:13
  • If you want to experiment, I can post a question or repost your answer in Italian, but I will not do it with my registered user :) – Federico Ramponi Nov 3 '08 at 2:16
  • probably the best thing to do would be if someone would dedicate a time and make a system like SO to their countries, like Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese... – Nick Berardi Nov 3 '08 at 2:23
  • According to me, the best would be SO to be released open source. That would not only allow for localized versions of SO, but also for Q&A sites not explicitly dedicated to programming. There is nothing on SO that prevents itself from being used for, say, cooking recipes... – Federico Ramponi Nov 3 '08 at 2:28
  • Or maybe the people who invested their time & money to create Stackoverflow would like to exploit the possibility of launching non-programming realted SO-based sites themselves. For profit. And fun. – Tamas Czinege Nov 3 '08 at 12:44
  • At this time Stack Overflow requires questions be written in English. – Rubén May 11 '17 at 5:39

Perhaps a more interesting question would be: is S.O. free or licenseable so you could you run an internal corporate S.O.?


I really think Jeff and company should implement on a basic level the Google's Translation API, while it wouldn't be perfect, it would at least translate the page or sections of the page auto magically using JavaScript so that any body could read a question and respond in their own language.

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    IMO best way to pull down the quality of SO: People would misunderstand the question, hence give a wrong reply. Posters would misunderstand an already wrong reply hence would better not have come to SO at all! – Serge Wautier Nov 3 '08 at 21:59

SO allows questions in other languages, but since the community prefers English, that's the language to be used.

My very first question was in spanish and was quickly downvoted and even translated ( thanks for the translation though ) !!...

My goal was to post a sample question and tell to a friend, "Hey look at this great site!" Without pretending that someone answer my question.

After a couple of downvotes, I closed my question.

So, it would be great to have localized version of SO, as in Y!A and configure the profile to see those that you know without having to switch sites.

For instance, I wouldn't be so interested in questions posted in ... let's say "Icelandic" but I could read english and spanish very well ( and try some others langs in the process )

The people who may ask a lot of basic programming questions, don't read/write english very well ( at least in my country ).

  • At this time Stack Overflow requires questions be written in English. – Rubén May 11 '17 at 5:39