This Stack Overflow question was closed because it was written in Portuguese.


I was able to use Babelfish to determine that the language was Portuguese.

Could the questions have a link to Babelfish or some other language translator so that people fluent in other languages could ask questions?

  • Perhaps via the Edit questions/ approval, medium and high rep users could volunteer to translate. But that would need the OP's approval of the process, which in turn needs him to be aware that the site is in English .... Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 7:36
  • Related, possibly duplicate: The Stack Exchange Translation project. My take in short: Automatic translation is neither, this site is in English. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/59298/… Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 9:35

4 Answers 4


What about answers to non-English questions?

Should everyone use Babel Fish to translate their answers?
I wouldn't want to have to learn a dozen new languages or deal with computer translated questions to use this site.

Furthermore, a badly formed question can be improved by editors, with a translation this would be hard to impossible (unless the translation result gets saved in the Stack Overflow database, in which case it could as well be an English question to begin with).

  • Your second point is certainly something to consider in this discussion. Every problem with a question in a different language will make that question harder to answer, true. However, from the questioner's point of view, his question has a better chance of being answered, than the way it is now, where the question is closed. Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 16:28

I'd say no to this, for two reasons:

  • Babelfish (and every other automatic translation service) will most likely be unable to translate specific/technical terms, therefore rendering the question useless. Also, those translations are not always easy to parse and understand.
  • Laziness of the people! Oh look, I can write it in my native language...I can speak English, but that's easier... which leads to my first point.
  • In response to point 1, most technical terms would be written in English. Did you translate the question I linked to? I did, and I was able to understand the technical terms just fine. In response to point 2, laziness is in the eye of the beholder. If a question can't be translated by Babelfish, then it can't be answered. That's no worse than closing the question right off the bat. Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 14:31
  • 4
    @Gil If all technical terms would be written in English then the OP would understand the answers (since those technical terms will also be written in english). So it would be better if the OP tried to write it in English. Improves his knowledge of other languages and then the community can clean up with the edits. Easier to moderate as well.
    – phwd
    Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 14:49
  • 2
    In my experience, people often think they can speak English, but can't.
    – Gabe
    Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 15:29

I think the OP should first use Babelfish, or any other service, to translate his text, make adjustments and post it in English. This probably will result in a better text than if someone else do it, without knowing the real problem. The OP can still append the original text for those that can understand it.
This way the question is interesting to a broader audience...

  • 1
    I'd +1 you, but I disagree with including the native text. This only clutters up the question and the translation and original text can get easily out of sync via edits from others. Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 9:43
  • @Bobby - agreed - that's why I wrote "can...append", but this could help getting a better translation (other users). And answers and comments are often out of sync after edits.
    – user141148
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 11:59

I don't think so. It is enough if people sometimes post exceptions in their OS/platform localization without the ability to translate them. I've already seen a question with exception in Chinese - Google Translate made better work than the OP, but it doesn't mean I would like to translate every question first before I can even read it.


OK, I just read the last paragraph of the question. Does it mean that we will talk to each other through Google Translate or whatever else? No, thanks!

  • I think what he means is Provide a service to translate question before it gets asked. Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 14:49
  • @Bobby: Actually, my preference would be that the question is asked in the native language, and the answerer would use the service to translate. I understand that some people wouldn't bother translating the question. That's still better for the questioner than closing the question. Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 14:51
  • @Bobby: I see, I didn't read the last paragraph .. Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 14:51

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