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There are quite a lot of proposals that want to provide a Stack Exchange site in another language. None of these sites seem to have gone very far into the commitment phase and there are a number of people wondering whether any of them are viable. I was thinking it might work better to just give multilingual people the option of translating existing SO questions into a different language. A number of other sites like Wikpedia have translations available in such a way already. We could give translators reputation for each post they translate or maybe even badges.

Benefits:

  • SE users for whom English is a second language can see SE in their native tongue
  • The English SO community will not be diluted by multilingual users leaving that site for one in a different language
  • The same question will not be duplicated
  • This could extend beyond popular SE sites to any with multilingual users (e.g. not just Stack Overflow in Spanish but also Philosophy SE in Tagalog)

Problems:

  • It would be difficult to regulate the quality of the translation. If we give people reputation for translating questions, what's to stop folks from loading them up into Google Translate en masse? Or folks who just took a year of Japanese to mistranslate answers just to get the badges?

EDIT: Apparently this has already been suggested in meta.

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From How we can establish useful, thriving communities in other languages?

If local versions of Stack Overflow are to thrive, they must have all-original content. They cannot survive as merely translations of English Stack Overflow.

Stack Overflow is a community and depends extensively on the community nature of the endeavor to succeed. By simply translating some questions to another language, speakers of that language will forever be second-class citizens on their own community, forced to watch the site through the muddy lens of translators, never actually participating in conversations. As an English speaker, I can't imagine being a part of a community in, say, Hindi, where some (probably small) percentage of the content has been (probably poorly) translated to English. I would never feel like I belonged and I would lose interest right away.

There are enough developers who are very strong in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese to create independent, separate sites that cover common problems. And by letting them have their own sites they can develop their own communities.

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    Thanks for linking to that question! I didn't know it had already been asked because I only checked Area 51. (Next time I'll check meta; it's got everything ;) ) I also liked another answer given there. That is exactly what I was trying to suggest with far superior wording. – Eva Feb 27 '13 at 9:08
  • From "Wise usage of automatic translators for faster achievement of result" question: Thanks for the answer. Sorry but it seems you misunderstood me. I am not suggesting to translate content (questions and answers) of English Stackoverflow - just menus, headers and other "User Experience" things, and then correct the translations in such cases where the correction is needed – Jake Badlands Apr 9 '13 at 8:18
  • +1 very thoughtful reply and I completely agree a translated site, a community not make! – AquaAlex May 14 '14 at 7:42

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