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I have a strong feeling that keeping the site English only is going to radiccclay hinder traffic hits from searches.

Not only that, some answer, like this.

Is it true that having speed camera alerter is illegal in France?

I don't read German. But its still a valid answer, right?

As a, multilingual person and software developer I have thought about this for a few days.

Many of friends will search for these questions, in their own Language. Stack Exchange wont come up because search engines do not translate result content.

I would like to propose, something Stack Exchange has been pushing against. Allowing multi languages. OK. Not answering in the Language. but think about this.

If I can speak Polish and English, I will have no problem writing the same the question in Polish and English. So the original question wills tay english but we could have an alternative language question title. This way, when a search engine indexes the site in en it will see the English question but there can be a localised pl version, everything in English just the title in Polish.

When this person gets this hit on the search engine with Polish title, using Chrome for example they can use Translate page. Because their browser is set to PL, automatically picking up EN as non localised.

I know some question will apply to many cultures. Maybe that should be left English only. But if something is tagged Poland we should be able to put in a Polish title. H2?

Search on an English specific search engine yields good Stack Exchange results but on the same search engine in Polish. 0% linked to Stack Overflow.


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My proposal will get the attention of Polish users, who are not familiar with SE. The title in Polish is associated with the English entry. Whoever is interested will click on this.

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This is hard to do properly, as it's hard to check, flag, moderate, review, etc. posts which are in a language you don't understand. Determining whether a question is okay or not cannot be done on an autoamtically translated text, as it might be mistranslated, or key information might be lost inside it.

AFAIK meta sites on non-english SE sites have the policy that you can still write your question and answer in the language of the site, but you have to translate it to English as well, so community moderators, and SE members can read and understand them. So It might be viable that whenewer you ask or answer a question you can also include a translation in your native language (which is relevant to the question), but the English answer should be kept as the authorative one.

  • I still think this site will loose allot of potential traffic from people who are searching in native languages, but still can read and understand english, eventually translate it by them selves. As far as implementation is concerned I think it can be done properly, but your concern is about moderating the content. If you can identify people who speak a language natively, they can moderate this, without being a moderator. The same like checking the quality of questions and answers currently. I don't think its that difficult to do as everything is in place.We already have mulitlingiual ppl here – Piotr Kula Mar 14 '14 at 15:09
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    @ppumkin: Yeah, but for that you will need a at least 5 higher-rep person in each language so they can properly deal with edits and closures. Also waht would happen with duplicates? Is it a duplicate if it is about the same stuff, but was written in a different language? And how would the front page look like with each post bearing a different language? – SztupY Mar 14 '14 at 15:27
  • If we look at the current questions on this beta its a very high percentage of EU related questions. If you select top x number of languages I am sure regular users like me, across several sites will respond to language based reviews. Possibly targeting all the languages in the world is excessive at first so whats trending? QUickly looking, Germany, Netherlands, Poland. Why? Because we have a high number of users from these countries. Where are the Russians, Romanians? On some other sites because SE does not attract those people here, even though they speak English. – Piotr Kula Mar 14 '14 at 16:31
  • Those who were just allowed to work in UK freely actually will have the most interesting questions. The SE trusted user base can improve the English, as it already happens on all sites and validate an appropriate Romanian Title or approved, check what they wrote. All new users are flagged like this already. – Piotr Kula Mar 14 '14 at 16:34
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I'm a bit confused about your…

I don't read German. But its still a valid answer, righ?

The answer is written in English and merely links to a German page. Note that the author of that answer added a link to the Google translation of the PDF, which will show the PDF content in English. So, why exactly are you referring to that answer and saying you don't read German? That doesn't make sense.

Why your idea would actually introduce an SEO problem…

Same goes for your SEO idea, which doesn't make sense to me either. Search engines don't expect English pages with (for example) Polish titles. This is certainly going to have an impact on search engine positioning. Especially, as search engines will tend to mark such pages as duplicate content… and, in a worst-case-scenario, they might even categorize those pages to be part of a search-engine spamming attempt. I doubt there's anyone who wants to see that happening. That is the main reason why I would say it's a very bad idea.

The other reasons why your idea would be bad for… everyone

Besides that, I think it's also bad from both a user's as well as a moderator's point of view for several reasons (for example: detecting spam, flagging foul language, deciding on disputes between users, etc). In fact, by claiming the Q&A you referred is written in German which you don't understand… you practically show the problem that would arise when using non-English titles. I, for example, don't understand Polish. That doesn't mean the Q&As wouldn't be interesting to me, but I would have a hard time finding them… and when search engines start to get confused (as I described above), finding such questions and answers with foreign-language titles would only get harder – for everyone on the planet.

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What I do is link to resources in the local language where possible (for accuracy), often using that language in the title of the link, but summarize them in English in my answer (or question).

The site is aimed at English-speaking people. There are likely to be similar resources available in other languages (for example, there's a site in Spanish for Cuban expats in Mexico).

This site can't be all things for all people worldwide, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Requiring all questions and answers to be in English seems a reasonable limit. If somebody wants expat questions in Polish, there is probably a Polish diaspora site that has that.

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Just like stackoverflow eventually made a portuguese version, we could do that one day for expats if it grew big enough. For now - no, one lenguage is definitely easier to grow, manage, moderate and engage with.

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This isn't something that we can support in the engine. While we have completed the work needed to support sites in other languages, there's no technical means to support multiple languages on one site, even in search breadcrumbs.

Part of this is a lack of any kind of interface that lets the community suggest titles and summaries per language, which would also need to include some sort of moderation tools; this would introduce a rather large surface that would be ripe for abuse.

I'd love to be able to do this, eventually - but I don't see it being possible in the foreseeable future.

For now, if you think you could rally a large enough group of avid users together to have a site completely supported in another language, you can propose and vet it at Area 51. This would be a show of hands from people indicating that they would much rather search and participate using their native language.

Until then, we have to work from the idea that if someone is proficient enough in English to find value in our content, then they should also be proficient enough to use a search engine that returns English results.

  • I think what I am proposing isnt even something Google will do. It either has to be English or Foreign completely to get indexed. But I think if search engines could understand content better in other languages with using snippets like this people could opt in to get these results. But this is just a drop in the ocean. – Piotr Kula Mar 17 '14 at 9:08
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Here is a scenario:

English Title: How to open a bank account
Arabic Title: سوف أقتلكم كلكم ==> reads: I will kill you all

Now, the mod understands English only, he/she might even upvote the question, until someone who can read Arabic shows up and alerts the mods about it.

Bottom line: bad idea.

  • Obviously any new user can just write that in plain English. And a mod will pick that up, delete it or mark it as offensive. Myself for example, am fluent in English and Polish. If I am marked as Fluent and Trusted Polish editor, I can get in and change that within minutes. Or, before publishing a localised title a review flag will be made, and again a trusted English/Polish user/reviewer will accept it. This is how I do it at Microsoft MSDN translations. Trust me, nobody wants to kill anybody there and Polish people get much better content, in this case we need SEO. – Piotr Kula Mar 14 '14 at 15:36
  • Now when somebody searches كيفية فتح حساب مصرفي في المملكة المتحدة their search engine can present the English website, with the H1 Title How to open a bank account in UK, bringing in good traffic into the site. We obviously keep everything else English. – Piotr Kula Mar 14 '14 at 15:39
  • A very common search is something like How to get tax refund in country x but people will write that in their language. I asked that question 20 days ago and allot of search engines indexed it, but this guy will see 0% results from SO. But if he can read English and sees this website. He will be presented with valuable information from other users. Plus SO will be raking in hits in Europe. – Piotr Kula Mar 14 '14 at 15:43

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