Out of mere idle curiosity, what is the state of internationalizing the Stack Exchange engine and community creation process?


  • A fully localizable UI

  • A crowdsourcing interface to get things translated (assuming that's the road that's going to be taken for translation - it would make little sense not to, though?)

  • Guidelines for building non-English communities and applying the SE culture to those sites (well, or not)

The last time I asked this on the old Stack Exchange 1.0 Meta some time last year, this was planned, but not yet being implemented.

  • 1
    I don't think that the communities should be split up (some very good users on the site are of course non-native english speakers), rather just allow them to choose the language of the SE UI they are using.
    – mylesagray
    Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 15:30
  • 9
    @Myles I agree in regard to SO, but SE is going to need localized versions if it's supposed to work internationally. Outside IT and other very international fields of work (like business, academia etc.), most normal people aren't good enough at english to interact in a community. The "Le Bon usage du francais" or "German language & usage" sites can't have an english UI in the long run IMO, it wouldn't work.
    – Pekka
    Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 15:32
  • 1
    @Pekka Agreed, I just wanted to make sure of the fact that SO will remain one site with localized UI's
    – mylesagray
    Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 15:35
  • @fretje yeah. I even had an official statement regarding this (from Robert or Sam/Waffles I think) but it was on the old SE meta
    – Pekka
    Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 16:56
  • 2
    Esta es una excelente idea... que merece una respuesta ;)
    – jachguate
    Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 18:54
  • 1
    @Pekka as a german SE user who's also committed to german.SE, I agree that it can't work... okay, that it will be a tough sell, at least with English as the only UI. I for one will likely keep the UI in English in my settings (when it can be changed). I'm just weird that way ;-) Commented Mar 8, 2011 at 22:26
  • 1
    We (some interested users, now Ninefingers, Gilles and me) are now trying a user-script approach - if you want to help (we would need some JS expert), please visit us in the chat. (This is for anyone else, too, of course.) Commented Sep 7, 2011 at 21:13

2 Answers 2


Without throwing out a lot of arbitrary, wildly-speculative dates, the best I can say is that localization is slowly creeping up in priority. But there are no dates to report or even an estimate. There are proposals targeted for other languages, but they are created with the understanding that the menus and prompts will all be in English… for the time being.

A localized interface means that all the menus and prompts would be translated into other languages. It seems logical to crowd-source the translation to the communities creating the sites. We need a way to follow, and understand non-english-speaking communities. We also need to come up with methods where we can learn and understand the cultural issues which will likely be virtually unknown to us. We cannot assume a site is running smoothly simply because we cannot follow what is going on.

It's a big undertaking.

Quick update (August 2013):

We are actually working on localization.

ETA: still 6–8 arbitrary units of time.

  • You can crowd source localizations at GetLocalization.com Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 12:34
  • @Skliwz yeah, we see you're working on it! ;) Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 17:50
  • For added clarification, we are currently actively working on localization (Portuguese, first), but the translation is going to be done by a professional company. Any type of crowd sourced translation interface is going to be far in the future.
    – Jeremy T
    Commented Aug 21, 2013 at 19:46
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    Roughly 8 week-sized units of time passed. Any updates on this? :)
    – user152193
    Commented Oct 20, 2013 at 8:40

I would be interested in helping creating a German localized UI, translating keywords, FAQ and so on.

I know how to program, but not in JavaScript. :)

I'm a bit surprised, that your approach didn't include an approach for that purpose from the beginning, but as I said, I'm not so much in the JavaScript business. Maybe it is uncommon there.

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