I saw a guy from Portugal today attempt to ask a rather simple question. But the question was so horribly confusing that he started getting down-voted, and close-voted. After discovering where he was from in his profile, I invited him in the comments to ask his question in Portuguese also — this was clearly easier for him.

Considering how many people we have from Brazil, Portugal, and others who understand a great deal of other languages, why can't we help these people a bit more? Maybe I'm just a bit too mushy, but they are people too and they deserve just as much help as anybody else.

Is there no method of assistance we can implement that will open up Stack Overflow to the rest of the world? So many of us here are willing to assist with other languages, and thus reach out to others who haven't felt the pure benefits of Stack Overflow-involvement.

Related: Non-English Question Policy

Also Related: Can’t We All be Reasonable and Speak English?

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    We had the same thing with a German guy today, although he didn't take my of offer to translate his question: stackoverflow.com/questions/1164220 Note that this wasn't closed immediately, but after quite some time of peoply trying to help. – balpha Jul 22 '09 at 16:32
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    And yet no one took the time to edit the question. Oh well, it is done now. – GEOCHET Jul 22 '09 at 16:38
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    No one really understood the question. It was about string manipulation, that's all I got, and all answers didn't put more than generic string manipulation comments. And I don't think Masi's edit from just now helps a lot either. If you go through the comments, however, you can see that people were, in fact, trying to be very helpful -- which was my point. – balpha Jul 22 '09 at 17:08
  • Aren't traditional forums (phpBB) still around in local languages? :-p – mmx Jul 22 '09 at 17:30
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    a Russian guy wrote a full question in Russian...go figure. – Sasha Jul 22 '09 at 17:39
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    One time at band camp I edited a question to fix some of the English language issues and a few minutes later, he edited my changes back to his original. :) – JP Alioto Jul 22 '09 at 18:14
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    Shouldn't, us, foreign people, start asking in both languages (mother tong and english), when unable to get a great question? It would also make it more appealing to international users to have something like online picasa comments translation :) (with a necesary and handy "read original" button) – perbert Jul 22 '09 at 18:24
  • If they're Chinese, there's this familiar looking website out there that might be of help. – random Jul 23 '09 at 1:40
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    @voyager: Shouldn't us, foreign people, just try to become more competent in English for the sake of our own profession? – mmx Jul 23 '09 at 17:09
  • Do you have the link to the question from the Portugal guy? I might well take a stab at directly contacting him with the answer to his question. Knowing portuguese, I might be able to comprehend what he was trying to say, and maybe even repost the question in proper English. – Daniel C. Sobral Jul 23 '09 at 19:38
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    @Mehrdad, the people who do not learn english will have a more difficult time of getting a correct answer, but that isn't a reason for us to give up on them/downvote them to oblivion. We shouldn't be excluding people. – devinb Jul 24 '09 at 14:00
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    My english gets much worse after midnight. Maybe you should stop non-natives from posting after 0am – Mathias F Jun 7 '10 at 22:02

18 Answers 18


With non-English speakers they often have trouble with a flurry of things.

  1. Spelling
  2. Grammar
  3. Question structure
  4. Conceptual words

Spelling actually isn't always a problem because if they used a translator, then all the words will be real words, they just might not be the right words.

But it's easy to clean up spelling.

Grammar is very difficult even for native English speakers, but when the non-English speakers attempt it, they are bound to make some easily correctable mistakes.

Question Structure Often times because they are not familiar with the language they will throw a lot of words on to one line or one paragraph when they should be split up into many. Or, alternately, they'll throw every sentence on its own line which serves to fracture the idea that they're actually trying to convey.

This is a little more 'personal' and subjective so it's harder to fix, but it is often very possible to fix these as well.

Conceptual Words this is the real sticking point. If they simply don't know the right words to approach what they are talking about, then it seems like there is no way to fix/answer the question. This is incorrect.

If you have fixed all the spelling, the grammar, and the question structure, then you will find that the conceptual words are not as important, or at least it is much easier to highlight what is unclear.

So if you've fixed all three of the earlier ones, you should then highlight the parts that are still unclear in a comment and allow the OP to break down those parts into smaller English words, instead of using concepts that require 'this word' they could instead break them down into many easier words.

If you spend the time to reformat the question, even if it is still vague, at that point it is back on the OP to clarify those parts, but you have ELIMINATED the language barrier, and this allows the question to be helpful to the site, rather than just dismissing everyone who doesn't speak English.

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    So, you're saying it's possible to infer "How to commit a transaction?" from "a blackboard am I?" :) – mmx Jul 24 '09 at 13:50
  • @Mehrdad: First of all, I don't see how you could possibly NOT infer that. Second, and more seriously, when you come across phrases like "a blackboard am I?" the best you can do is rearrange them into clearer grammatical sentences ("Am I a blackboard?") and if it still doesn't make sense (case in point) add a comment to the OP that points out the parts that need to be fixed. But at least the grammar is no longer a sticking point, and they can focus on content. – devinb Jul 24 '09 at 13:58
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    @Mehrdad i what you talking – Mateen Ulhaq Mar 19 '11 at 2:58

If I have the time, and even think that I understand the question, I'll edit to try and make it accessible.

But if I can't make sense of it, and no-one else is editing it, I'll down-vote and/or vote to close. That may seem harsh, but... at some point, a question is effectively just noise, regardless of whether its author intended for that to happen.

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    I do the same here. – GEOCHET Jul 22 '09 at 16:28
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    What if the original poster can no longer understand the question? Make sure to use small words. – user131831 Jul 22 '09 at 16:56
  • @polyglot: then we have an impasse, and the question should probably be closed (how will he understand the answers?!). But yes, it's possible to strive for simple language - IMHO, this is a good idea anyway (though i get very, very frustrated with questions that include no details beyond a vague title, and will occasionally go to town when it comes to editing them...) – Shog9 Jul 22 '09 at 17:20
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    All languages are "Just noise." The fact that the poster cannot speak in your "noise" shouldn't be punishable. We should try to help when we can. – Sampson Jul 22 '09 at 19:29
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    @Jonathan: i'm not saying non-English == noise. I'm saying bad translation == noise. There's a difference: a Portuguese question could at least be answered by someone who understood that language; a question badly translated from Portuguese into English might not be answerable by anyone. We should strive to do our best to avoid that - either by making expert translations such as you describe in the OP easier to accomplish, or doing what we can to clean up poorly-translated English questions, ideally with assistance from the person asking it. Otherwise, it is just noise. – Shog9 Jul 22 '09 at 20:21
  • FWIW: that last point is key to my insistence that some questions should just be closed. I've seen completely unintelligible questions posted and immediately abandoned, with would-be answerers struggling to guess at what the intended question was. Sometimes, i'll step in and just make up details to fill in the gaps, guess at the intended meaning of words that don't make sense in the context where they're used, etc... But i've gotten into disagreements before over this, when someone else reads the question and comes away with a completely different idea. What can you do then? – Shog9 Jul 22 '09 at 20:28
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    My point is, what if the poster actually doesn't have command of English? It's going to be silly to get into a cycle assuming what people mean when they can't communicate with you. In an demonstration of ideal internet wit, it could descend into hilarious farce in fact. – user131831 Jul 23 '09 at 14:39
  • @polyglot: and that happens. But it's rare, at least in my experience. Usually, we're able work something out. – Shog9 Jul 23 '09 at 14:57

If you can vote to close, then you have edit privileges. There's a reason you get to edit other people's posts 1000 reputation points before you can vote to close. Editing is to be preferred. If you can't make enough sense of it to edit the question, ask for clarification, but don't close it. Instead, give other people a chance to edit it.

  • If I can edit to make a question more clear, I don't vote to close. If I can't understand it, I may well vote to close. A question that nobody can understand is worthless. It takes up some small amount of resources for no return. Better it be closed. – David Thornley Jul 24 '09 at 15:38
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    @David: You're conflating a question that you can't understand with a question that nobody can understand. – Bill the Lizard Jul 24 '09 at 15:55
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    @bill: So true. My mother language is spanish. Let's say I found a question in english AND spanish. Maybe I'll be able to improve the translation a little (if I had edit permissions). I found questions that nobody can't understand (and where complaining about this) And for me where clear as water. My rather basic English skill allow me to understand badly constructed sentenses :-) – The Disintegrator Sep 17 '09 at 8:54
  • Why, in the general case, would I be unable to understand a question while other people can? If I extract all the meaning I can, and it's still not an answerable question, why would I assume that other people can do better? It's not as if I vote to close immediately in these cases, but if we can't get clarification in a reasonable time (either from the original poster or somebody who reads minds better than I do), I will vote to close. – David Thornley Feb 24 '10 at 14:50
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    @David: There are plenty of reasons that out of the thousands of users on SO, there might be some people who can understand a poorly worded question better than you or I can. Why would you assume that other people can't do better? For one specific example, my wife is bilingual. She can make sense of English sentences that use Chinese grammatical structure far better than I can. It isn't a matter of mind reading, but a difference in education. It's fine to close if you don't get clarification in a reasonable time, but give non-native English speakers a chance for trying. – Bill the Lizard Feb 24 '10 at 15:55

It is not, nor has it ever been, Stack Overflow's goal to be the one place in the world for all programming information in every human language.


  • Direct programmers to native language resources. Users who post non-English programming questions should be gently directed to programming forums in their own language. Community should form around the gravity of native languages. (see: Chinatown, Little Italy, etc.)

  • It is not our goal to teach English. It is our goal to teach programming. If the post has salvageable English and makes some modicum of sense, it should be edited and improved just like any other post. If it does not, it should be closed.

  • The asker has to put effort into the question. If the asker has barged into an obviously English dominated forum and yet insisted on posting a question in a different language, that is no different than the "do my work for me" sort of programming questions, the worst sin on Stack Overflow in my opinion. You want us to give you answers? Then prove that you've put some effort into the question, and that starts by politely asking it in the language this community is formed around.

edited a bit and made policy:


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    But Jeff, what about those of us who would like to help? We're already helping by guessing what the English version of the question means, and struggling to edit it into something answerable; and by guessing what the question means and answering what we think it means instead. I'm thinking that, with little or no expense, any volunteers who care will be able to help at least some of the posters in question. – John Saunders Jul 23 '09 at 2:54
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    I've already said elsewhere that in some cases, we'll find the poster can't express himself in any language. But I bet we've got some members here who can't make themselves understood in English, but who are pretty decent writers in their own language. Hey, if nobody here speaks, say, Hmong, then that question will be closed - just as it is today. – John Saunders Jul 23 '09 at 2:56
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    Here's how I'd do it: 1. Allow questions and answers (and comments) in any language. 2. Stack Overflow determines the language of a question, answer, or comment (Google has an API for this), and tags it as being English or French, whatever. 3. Users defined a primary language and other secondary languages that they care about in their preferences. 4. Search results are filtered based on user's preferences. – Mike S Jul 23 '09 at 18:23
  • @John you can help by following the guidelines, above. That is helping. The odds of these people finding an answer on SO/SU/SF is very small, unless you direct them to a more suitable place. – Jeff Atwood Jul 24 '09 at 4:43
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    Ok, this may be official policy, but I think it's a real shame. – DanSingerman Jul 24 '09 at 7:24
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    Strange thing to say if you want to be so linked to google which the whole world uses. – Mladen Mihajlovic Jul 24 '09 at 8:17
  • I don't think there's any conflict between these suggestions. OP makes best effort in English, in case of doubt can add (or be asked to add) question in own language. Editor corrects English and deletes foreign language bit. I'll take the French ones. – Benjol Jul 24 '09 at 12:15
  • Jeff, I suggest you edit the question to add the link to the policy on the blog. I'm too lazy to scroll down to find it. – John Saunders Jul 24 '09 at 19:05
  • @Jeff - I have suggested this in other comments, but I would suggest you think about creating an es.stackoverflow.com and other popular internationalized versions where users in those languages could build up reputation that is completely seperate from the English language versions. That way they get to use the same model, and people who speak like languages would then moderate themselves just like they do here. – Nick Feb 23 '10 at 19:11
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    Just curious, Jeff, if you went to Paris would you make an attempt to ask the waiter for food in French, or would you do what every 'mericun does and just start speaking in American or ask "Do you speak english?" – tim Feb 23 '10 at 20:04
  • @tim, but English is the langage of IT and programming – Ian Ringrose Mar 8 '11 at 17:25
  • @IanRingrose if tim's point was that Americans are arrogant and provincial, then you just illustrated his point. – McGarnagle May 27 '12 at 23:46
  • @McGarnagle English is the language of IT,programming,air travel etc. What Jeff is suggesting is if in France try to order in French. – david strachan Feb 13 '14 at 20:41

I proposed something similar in An Alternative to Translation for Non-English Speakers?. I'm glad people are still discussing this issue.

I'll propose something lighter-weight now. Let's have the poster always first try his/her post in his/her best English. If he/she then feels he/she can do a lot better in his/her native language, then let's recommend he/she creates a separate section in that language:

La misma pregunta, en español:

He propuesto algo similar en an alternative to traducción para no sean en inglés oradores?. Estoy contento de personas aún están discutiendo esta cuestión.

Te propongo algo ligera ahora. Vamos tener el póster siempre primero intentar su puesto en su mejor inglés. Si siente entonces él puede hacer mucho mejor en su idioma nativo, y vamos recomendar crear una sección aparte en ese idioma:

If someone speaks the other language, then they may use that version to help clean up the English version. As some will no doubt notice, my Spanish is no better than that of Bing Translator, yet even I could get enough information from a question in Spanish, Italian or French (or maybe Portuguese) to use that information to help clean up the English version.

It's still the case that all answers are to be in English. That should never change.

  • Brad Gilbert suggested something similar... It occurs to me that this would be an excellent use of a "flag for edit" feature if such a thing was implemented... meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3068/spelling-and-grammar-flag – Shog9 Jul 22 '09 at 18:51
  • Yes. I threw my 2c in on that one, and was told the idea was too complicated. I'm really moving down the scale on complexity here. Part of the idea of something this simple would be to see if it would be used at all, for little expense. – John Saunders Jul 22 '09 at 19:42
  • I think we should try this. After all, the alternative is that the OP simply doesn't post at all. – Ether Feb 23 '10 at 20:21

Stack Overflow in Portuguese in December 2013 and is now in beta.

Here was the announcement and explanation.


Well, I think that is where the ability to edit questions/answers comes in. If someone can't speak write English well, but he/she is able to put their thoughts down, someone from the Stack Overflow community can clean it up and make it readable.

Personally, I think it would by nice if the community could encourage non-native English speaking people to try to write it in English and then put it in their native language also. Obviously, I can understand English (although my spelling at times would lead people to deduce otherwise), and I can hack through Spanish. I know I am nowhere close to unique in my ability to at least partially understand a second language. What is a few extra lines in a question if it will help someone out a ton?

I understand it's Jeff Atwood's site, and he can build it the way he wants, but I completely disagree with him that it is an English-only site. It's English only for now. This is open to the world, and when enough people who aren't native English speakers start using the site, and can understand Russian, French, etc., I think this is going to change. I will full admit, that if I see something come across in Spanish, I will try and translate it and answer it if I can.

There are going to be enough of people that can reopen questions, that it will essentially be out of the moderator's control to try and police it. Yes, they can try and be diligent, but it will eat up all of their time eventually (currently, there are almost 250k questions, can you imagine trying to read each one?). So, Stack Overflow can either embrace other languages, or try and fight it and ultimately probably lose if the site gains popularity.

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    I think this should remain an English-only site, in the sense that questions and answers are to be in English. They may include other languages, along with requests to translate or clarify. – David Thornley Jul 24 '09 at 15:42
  • It's convenient that it is in English I agree, but I think fighting to make sure that answers not in English are closed (and not translated) is going to be problematic. – kemiller2002 Jul 24 '09 at 16:35

Why stop foreign language speakers coming here? (There)

Why not allow questions in any language, and have a tag for each language?

There could be some functionality which sensible filtered your view based on which languages you say you are able to speak.

Would that not largely solve the language issue?

Edit: An extension of this could allow multilingual users to provide translations of the question into English to increase the possibility of the answer.

I agree with Joel that it is short-sighted not to consider non-English speakers on this site - and the current attitude to badly worded English questions from non-native speakers is pretty horrific.

  • I know that Jeff is very against that. - "English is the language of programming" or something like that. – jjnguy Jul 22 '09 at 16:32
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    It wouldn't solve anything - now the folks who might have answered your question if they'd been able to understand it won't even try to read it... If you can convince enough experienced Portuguese programmers to visit the Portuguese portion of the site, then you'll be ok; otherwise, you'll still find non-English writers trying to write their questions in English, just so they can get an answer. – Shog9 Jul 22 '09 at 16:33
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    Re: your edit. That would be just fine, so long as there are people willing to do it (translate back and forth, i mean). But it's a non-trivial amount of effort, both for the SO Team to create a system where this is feasible, and for anyone volunteering to translate. – Shog9 Jul 22 '09 at 16:37
  • @jinguy - Jeff is not the Pope. Joel might be. – DanSingerman Jul 22 '09 at 16:37
  • @Shog9 If the translating is incentivised (say, ummm, in the way answering questions is) I think it could work. – DanSingerman Jul 22 '09 at 16:37
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    FWIW - i wouldn't be so hasty to label the current attitude "horrific". If you stop and think about the massive amounts of time and effort donated by editors on SO to cleaning up these questions, doing their best to make them accessible... it's almost touching. – Shog9 Jul 22 '09 at 16:39
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    Re: incentive... Not saying it couldn't work, just that it'd be a lot of effort for all concerned. – Shog9 Jul 22 '09 at 16:42
  • As (making up statistics) over half of the programmers in the World are non-native English speakers, maybe the effort is worth it? – DanSingerman Jul 22 '09 at 16:46
  • @Dan: So go do it then. stackexchange.com – GEOCHET Jul 22 '09 at 16:48
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    I seriously doubt that. Most people who grow up in a country who's official language is not English are also taught English in school. This is not true for countries with their official language being English. Thus, I'm willing to bet that well over half of all programmers speak English. – jjnguy Jul 22 '09 at 16:49
  • At this point this is springing to mind: xkcd.com/386 – DanSingerman Jul 22 '09 at 16:52
  • I've been wrong before, and I'm sure it will happen again. I was just making an educated guess here. I'd like to see some real numbers on this topic. – jjnguy Jul 22 '09 at 16:54
  • @jjnguy - Can you really back that up? (english taught in Chinese schools?) – tim Jul 23 '09 at 2:21
  • @jinguy - Note I said non native English speakers. Anyway, I qualified it by saying it was made up. Either way, there are a lot of them. – DanSingerman Jul 23 '09 at 10:58

I hesitate to offer a constructive suggestion, but since I don't care about my rep score in this site I'll go ahead:


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    Because everything that comes out of THERE is understandable? Try a round trip in German or something... :) – Benjol Jul 24 '09 at 12:17
  • @[Benjol]: lol - no, some of the round-trip translations are quite hilarious, especiallyl for technical subjects, but it's probably better than nothing! – Steven A. Lowe Jul 24 '09 at 14:12
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    For programing questions? Please, take my word, google translator sucks – The Disintegrator Sep 17 '09 at 8:57
  • @[The Disintegrator]: it's better at technical questions than non-technical ones, because many of the technical terms are English to start with! – Steven A. Lowe Sep 17 '09 at 18:46
  • If you write anything in Spanish and try to translate to English you will get an abomination of nature. But in the other way it's different... You will get a unintelligible stream of words :-) – The Disintegrator Sep 18 '09 at 0:37
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    A lot of technical English terms doesn't have a direct Spanish translation, so we end creating barbarisms (a word that's a mix between English and Spanish). – The Disintegrator Sep 18 '09 at 0:45

I posted this on Jeff's blog. I suggest that these sites become multi-language, with automatic content filtering based on an users preference. Here's my post to Jeff:

I think the point about splitting communities is relevant. While I'd perfectly capable of using both English and (hypothetically) Portuguese Stack Overflow, I would be unlikely to check both, at least with the same frequency. I'd be willing to see questions in both languages, though.

I think the problems of mixing content are being overrated. Let's see...

1) Browsers inform accepted languages. These can be taken as default, and overridden in the profile. So the initial experience can be optimal with no effort on the user.

2) Automatic recognition of language can be done the same way we do automatic recognition of spam, Bayesian filters. Word does it, by the way.

3) Language-specific URLs can then be used to force a language regardless of profile settings.

That is my suggestion. I'll leave a question here, though. What is the percentage of good answers/nice answers from users coming from non-English speaking countries? I ask this, because these are the answers you are likely to lose if you send the native speakers of these countries to other sites.

And, thinking about it, if we do go this way, it might be helpful if there was a feature to enable translation of a question from one language to the other, and linking question in different languages as being the same question.

  • I would take this a step further, and suggest that subdomains be created, like es.stackoverlfow.com (for Spanish), and have users on the spanish version NOT share reputation with the english language version (just like SO rep doesn't help you on superuser.com). That would allow moderation and community to be developed more fully in the foreign language sites. – Nick Feb 23 '10 at 17:48

Just give them a chance.. I often see questions are not well formed getting downvoted.

Downvoting is important, but downvoting beginners (newbies) will result in stopping them from using Stack Overflow. Believe it or not, it's real.

It might be better to have a tag, or something, to mark it as a newbie question. So that they (or someone else who can understand) can have a chance to edit the post.

I have posted a similar question "How do the re-open & close notifications work?" on Meta to ask for SO to notify the closers when the question is edited. This could be done if Jeff happened to see that post.


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    I (and I think others) generally try. But this issue is complicated by the existence of some native English speaking users who simply do not put any effort into forming good questions. It is often hard to tell if you're looking at the work of a non-native speaker struggling with the language or a lazy bum with rotten communication skills. It seems to get straightened out pretty often if they respond to the comments. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Feb 23 '10 at 19:11

Based on what I heard from Jeff Atwood in podcasts I don't think it is a priority.

I agree with the OP - it would be nice to make it easier for non-English speakers.


Just an idea... not sure how it would pan out in reality:

Ask that all questions posted in other languages are tagged with the language in question. Then various other users who speak that language can assist in translating it to English, so that the rest of the SO community can have a crack at answering it.

Of course, this would require adding a note in the FAQ (which no one ever reads), and people to monitor tags for languages they speak, but it might work at least in theory.

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    That's not a bad suggestion on the face of it, but would require a change in the (now longstanding) policy on English only. Also, not sure how well this would work for less common languages. I mean, Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish, German, Russian, etc are all pretty well represented on the internet, but what happens if someone posts in (for instance) Croatian? Do we just leave it there untranslated and un-responded to? And there is the matter of geek jokes. You can be sure some wag will post in Klingon. – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Feb 23 '10 at 19:16
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    @mckee: I'm not convinced there is an official policy against other languages. I've come across a few questions written in a different language, and someone has later come along and helpfully tried to add a translation. I don't see any reason why we shouldn't allow this, if the OP really is incapable of composing his question in good English. – Ether Feb 23 '10 at 20:20
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  • This is similar to this other answer – Rubén Sep 22 '18 at 21:25

I often write my text on spellcheckplus.com or other similar sites. It will fix most of my spelling and grammar mistakes.

It would be nice to have a "Check grammar and spelling"-button that takes the text and post it to a site like that in a new window so it's easy to do without having to copy/paste, open new browser, navigate to grammar site and so on.

This answer was checked by above-mentioned site. I hope it is readable. ;)


I just saw the same sort of thing happen here... https://stackoverflow.com/questions/4144392/for-that-i-need-xml-whan-im-programming-in-java-closed

The question was closed almost immediately, with zero attempt to be helpful and engage with the poster.

It's fairly obvious to me that the poster was asking how they would go about processing XML with Java, but the main thing people seemed to get hung up on was pointing out that XML wasn't a programming language.

The poster was obviously not a native speaker and also a brand new user, is this the sort of unfriendly response we want here?

  • let's improve the question, so it can be closed as off-topic, subjective or (still) narq? – SilentGhost Nov 10 '10 at 12:48
  • The question was closed before the poster responded to comments. I don't hold the necessary rep to edit SO questions, and even if I did, I was waiting for the poster to try and clarify. after it was closed I removed my comment requesting clarification. – ocodo Nov 10 '10 at 12:52
  • I've added it back in. – ocodo Nov 10 '10 at 12:58
  • I must agree, I wonder why closing a question is that important? Do we get reputation for dong so? Or is it to avoid the question being (massively) downvoted? I don"t like that users attitude - apparently not putting effort in his questions (neither in his profile) - put I think his questions are valid and should eventually only be downvoted as being "unclear or not useful (click again to undo)". Give new users a chance (and advice) to get used to SO; it needs time since SO works so much different than most forums. – user141148 Nov 10 '10 at 13:19
  • @Carlos, I think the user in that case could make more effort, but as far as I can tell (and this is pure guesswork) they've been scared off. - I find it interesting that all the answers on that one seem to be more concerned with splitting hairs over the definition of XML (which I would guess seal_code won't understand right now) rather than explaining to the user ways that they can improve their question to get better help. – ocodo Nov 10 '10 at 21:21

I think, there is two related question for this


Is it possible to make a link to some online translation software such as Google language tools?

While not perfect, it would allow people to write in their native language, hit a button to translate, edit if needed, and post in English.

  • Google Translate does most of the translation work, but as you mentioned, it's not always accurate. As such, relying on the tool may cause translation errors, and it's more severe when you rely on a technical site such as Stack Overflow. A satirical website that shows the exact problem by translating an English phrase to the various different languages before returning to English, and it tends to show translation errors arrive rather quickly. – Raymond Martineau Jul 22 '09 at 16:41
  • I'm suggesting we put the "best-try English" first, followed by the foreign language. We'd use the (possibly translated) foreign language as a way to edit the English. OTOH, I was just playing with Google Translate, and it has problems with Markdown. – John Saunders Jul 23 '09 at 16:25
  • I realize that machine translations are far from perfect, but they are getting better all the time. Also most "technical" words tend to already be in English, at least as far a programming goes. As for mark up, that is definitely a issue, but I think there could be some workaround. Simply write your test, translate, then add the ML. – Jim C Jul 23 '09 at 18:25

I would love if SO had some feature to support us non-native speakers.

I hate reading posts that are written poorly and I know that lots of posts written by me are written poorly. The problem is that I can't know how bad they really are!

Somebody who speaks English better than I should be able to correct my post and get some of my points. A lot of users are friendly enough to do this anyway, but it's not encouraged through SO.

Most non-native speakers know some English. They start at a low level and learn more over time. They do this by watching 24 and by writing posts at SO. If we could get some feedback in a way that doesn't add noise to the site you would help us a lot.

  • Ok this time I see how bad I really am :-) Thnx myers. – Mathias F Jun 7 '10 at 22:18

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