It can be a chore to figure out what is going on in code when all the variables/methods/function/etc. are in another language, like in this question. Or this one.

How should we approach this? I don't see an easy way for the OP to translate their entire code to English so that we can read/review the code.

Is this something that we should just have to deal with, or is this something that is relevant in a review of the code?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ okay Bad Example. I looked at the question again and the code doesn't have that much Spanish in it, but the question still stands, what do we do? \$\endgroup\$
    – Malachi Mod
    May 20, 2014 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ cf. \$\endgroup\$
    – wchargin
    Jun 1, 2014 at 4:22

2 Answers 2


As much as it is disappointing, and discriminatory, etc.... StackExchange has a broadly applied Primarily-English slant:

Since this came up on meta, here’s our official policy towards non-English questions on Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and Super User.

(note that I say “programming” below, but this policy is the same across all the sites — when reading, you should substitute the actual topic of the site you use, e.g. “sysadmin topics” for Server Fault, etc.)

It is not, nor has it ever been, our goal to be the one place in the world for all programming information in every possible human language.


  • Direct programmers to native language resources. Users who post non-English questions should be gently directed to programming forums in their own language. Community should form around the gravity of native human languages. (see: Chinatown, Little Italy, etc.) Feel free to post links to appropriate human language-specific resources.

  • It is not our goal to teach English. It is our goal to teach programming. If the post has salvageable English and makes some modicum of sense, it should be edited and improved just like any other post. If it does not, it should be closed.

  • The asker has to put effort into the question. Barging into an obviously English dominated forum and insisting on posting a question in another language is no different than the “do my work for me” sort of programming questions — the worst possible sin on Stack Overflow in my humble opinion. You want us to give you answers? Then prove that you’ve put some effort into the question, and you can begin by politely asking it in the language this community is formed around.

Now, if askers try to use English and put in “sorry, my English isn’t very good”, that’s fine. Heck, a lot of native English speakers aren’t very good at it, either! The reason we have collaborative editing is to learn and improve together. This is totally fine and even encouraged. (Please do try to make sense, as our users are often brilliant, but not telepathic as far as I know.)

But the idea that we should be forced to accommodate random human languages in our community is completely unsustainible. Now if you want to form an any-human-language-goes community like that, be my guest. I fully support your effort and we’ll be more than happy to direct any non-English questions your way.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe this answer touches more on the plain-English part of the question than the code part. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 22, 2014 at 9:49

Limiting Code Review to English-fluent users reduces diversity and hurts the site, in my opinion. As long as the English in the question is clear enough, it's fine.

Deal with it just like any other question. If the foreign-language comments or identifiers bother you, you can

  • mention it as a problem in your review
  • ignore them, and just review the "real" code
  • ask for clarification.

Personally, foreign words don't bother me as long as the usage is consistent, and the code is reasonably understandable. Examples from my own history of answers:


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