With translation engine, separate site with translation or something along those lines. Much valuable information remains locked away in South America, Russia, China etc. because sites do not want to use technology to automate translation or for whatever reason.

Just an idea.

Edit: I think there should be seperate versions for more languages, the google translate can then be used anyway. (mm2010)

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    just for fun, take a technical question in English, run google translate on it to produce, say, Chinese, then run google translate on that to produce English, and compare the end result with the original - much is lost in translation, and some interesting things are occasionally added – Steven A. Lowe Mar 1 '11 at 4:26

While I agree with Jeff that, considering the target audience, international versions of Stack Overflow and ServerFault wouldn't make much sense, I do think they would be great for Super User.

I'm German and I know a lot of people who would love to use this site but can't since their English isn't very good or just wouldn't want to bother with it.

The whole "English is the definite language"-thing doesn't hold up to general computer use.

Regarding automated translation: I haven't seen it done in a way that made much sense but I would love to stand corrected.

Edit: Actually even for Stack Overflow and ServerFault translations might be a good idea. Attach a "translate" button to the question and the accepted answer.

Anyone with a rep > x can translate it, and anyone with a rep > y can vote up the translation. A translation with more than z votes becomes the "offcial" translation and the translator gets some rep from it.

The official translations can be found by on-site searches and search engines.

I know I would translate questions that helped me or I found intresting to German.


This has been debated in the past and Jeff has been pretty resistant to multi-language support, while Joel has been more in favor of it.

Relying on technology to do automatic translations is a big problem in my opinion. Even the best ones give some pretty hare-brained translations.

  • I often found valuable info that way, even if it is abit difficult to read. – mm2010 Jul 15 '09 at 12:24
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    When trying to give detailed technical explanations of a problem that I am having, or to provide an answer to said problem, I would definitely not trust an automatic translation service to make sure that non-English speakers understood it correctly. – TheTXI Jul 15 '09 at 12:31
  • I am sure, but you can draw info from discussions between people of the same language. – mm2010 Jul 15 '09 at 12:33
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    +1 for "hare" (instead of "hair") – Paused until further notice. Oct 20 '09 at 20:14

I can suggest a simple idea - translation of the question/answer to any languages other then English is the responsibility and desire of the author. Automatic translation tools will not help. English text is a must in any case (though for superuser there may be sites like superuser.de, superuser.ru etc. with different languages)

The main interface of SO will remain English, but for a translated questions there may be a small icon/tooltip near the question/answer indicating that answer and question are available in another language too.

Questions/answers on another languages may attract more searches from Google/Bing.


I started a question a while back that was intended to list various users from Stackoverflow, and which languages they would volunteer to translate accepted-answers into...but it went up in flames when other users abused their rights to editing, and ruined the entire attempt to solving this problem.

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