We could use an automatic translator to translate most of UI elements: menus, headers and other "User Experience" things, and then correct the translations in such cases where the correction is needed. This way, the creation of Spanish Stackoverflow will be much faster!

I have used an automatic translator "Google Translate" for Spanish forum for a long time, and people seem to understand me very good. Yes, it is bad for some relatively diffucult languages like Chinese, but Spanish is one of the simplest languages, so there should be no problem with using it.

I have a pen friend, we were having conversations in Spanish for a long time. I thought he is a native speaker (just some issues with punctuation and grammar), but eventually he told me that he was using an automatic English -> Spanish translator nearly all the time! So, I thought, if automatic translators are so perfect for Spanish language, maybe they could help a lot with new Spanish StackOverflow!

Proposal: Stack Overflow in Spanish


You can read a Spanish-translated version of Stack Overflow right now using Google Translate:


But we are not going to embrace this as any kind of viable solution for a non-English community. For one thing, this would forever lock non-English communities into a second-class status because they would not be able to interact with the participants in their native language. Stack Exchange is an English-language site and non-English users would be forced to translate their contributions into sloppy, computer-translated gibberish. That doesn't sound like a very useful solution in the longer term.

Our goal is to make Stack Exchange a multi-national resources for all the world's citizens, and you don't do that by mechanically auto-translating your content into other languages. That is not how communities are built.

See my answer in Translated Stack Overflow.

  • 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. Apr 2 '13 at 9:10

Good translations never come from automatic translators.

My family are german, I live in Spain since I was two weeks old and obviously speak also english. There's something I call poetry of language, which isn't related to poetry, but to how same words coming from different languages could have different conceptual meanings. The idea behind a word.

I get your point in translating automatically the core words and I am sure it would be perfectly understable by spanish readers. But it would even need an individual tracing for each translated word to achieve perfection.

I love Google translator because it has the ability to improve any translation by changing words, rearrange them, etc. Just saying, if an automated translator is used, the community should take special attention. I think your idea include this, but I thought it would be good to just point this out.

  • I understand your concern. The automatic translator (in this case, Google Translator) will be used only for a draft translation - then it will be corrected by human translators who know both languages. As you could see, this way would be much faster, compared to 100% human translation without any tools - and also more accurate than a 100% automatic translation. In other words, this way combines the best of two ways! :-) Apr 17 '13 at 10:26

Fully-automated translators do a pessimal job, and even worst on highly-technical content. Proof of that are the Microsoft Knowledge Base articles, for example (although MSFT has already started to provide better human-supervised translations).

I dislike the idea of having multiple versions (different actual sites) of stackoverflow in different languages, because people looking for answers will have to search on multiple sites, and people asking questions may end asking the same question in different languages more than once, and perhaps only some of these translations will get answered while the same question in a different language may get no answers.

I'm more inclined to adding semi-automated translation feature to existing sites, where an automated translator can be used by default, but also custom or corrected translations may be provided by humans with enough knowledge about the subject (either making the question or providing an answer) AND the different languages (i.e. people who has not yet proved fluency on both languages should not be allowed to "improve" a translation).

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