Posting in other languages, please be friendly but clear

The subject must be as old Santa, but there still seems to be a lot of misunderstanding on the subject:

Every now and then people post in other languages than English, like this one. I tend to leave a (IMO rather friendly) comment, saying:
"Please see this https://meta.askubuntu.com/a/3616/72216 - questions should be asked and responded to in english. Thank-you."

This is not a political statement, not a value label, just a reminder of the practical agreement we have that this site is in English.

Also every now and then, I get a grumpy comment suggesting (like in the example) That I should rather translate the post. The comment is even upvoted.(?)
Please don't leave a comment suggesting so, it gives people the wrong impression that we are running a translation service here.
We do not ask people to write a poem in English, and most of us are willing to do some editing if the language is a bit of a problem but the question is clear.

But again:
Don't suggest we should translate a question, and publically suggest it is "unfriendly" to ask people to post in English.

  • 2
    I agree although I sometimes too try to translate Spanish/French/German posts to English, but always with leaving a comment that the OP has to use English here at least for his/her next post.
    – Byte Commander Mod
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 11:36
  • 1
    @ByteCommander I think that is perfectly allright, than you make clear it is not what we should do. Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 11:38

3 Answers 3


Posting a question in English (outside of being policy) is the best way to get the maximum number of eyeballs on a problem and increases the odds of a solution. I'm baffled as to why anyone would think that request unfriendly. I've made attempts with translation services in the past but considering the results I should have just left a comment suggesting conversion to english and perhaps flagged unclear what you are asking....


Why not leave such posts as they look like?

Those one who have big right gold opinion will down vote. Others will ignore or translate manually.


I would put that as a feature-request then. Normally I would control paste the text into google translate and fix the context. But if theres a way to put it into SE without doing it automatically I would support it.

  • 6
    When I started participating on AU, I used to suggest to use Google translate. However, If you look into the history of the question, you can see what happens then. It creates a dragon of a translation, and still needs a lot of editing (which I did in this case by the way). Usually, a story by OP in his or her own words does the job better, even if the skills on English are limited. I'd rather read a authentic question than a weirdly translated one. Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 18:39
  • 2
    @JacobVlijm - When I have to do it I edit in the (google) translated version and a comment that I use online translation, and leave the original (in a blockquote), so anyone who can speak the language can read it and do a proper translation without having to look in the revision history.
    – Wilf
    Commented Feb 22, 2015 at 22:07
  • @JacobVlijm "a dragon of a translation" = "een draak van een vertaling" :)
    – don.joey
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 12:54
  • @don.joey I was wondering if it would work in English :). Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 12:59
  • Automated translation services are not always totally accurate. Unless you have a good grasp of the language that you're translating, then I'd say it's probably better to just leave the question to someone else - ideally, the OP.
    – Carl H
    Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 19:11

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