This question is perhaps related to a previous one here entitled Handling questions from non-english writers and I have seen similar discussion entitled Is English required on Stack Overflow?.

My now researched understanding is that Languages Other Than English (LOTE) are not allowed in Stack Exchange Questions except in language specific sites such as French Language & Usage.

However, LOTE seems to occasionally creep into questions (like How to fix "import qgis.core ImportError: DLL load failed") in a similar manner to what we see with signatures, taglines, or greetings.

With respect to signatures, taglines, or greetings our help is clear in what to do:

Do not use signature, taglines, or greetings.

Every post you make is already “signed” with your standard user card, which links directly back to your user page. If you use an additional signature or tagline, it will be removed to reduce noise in the questions and answers.

Your user page belongs to you — fill it with information about your interests, links to stuff you’ve worked on, or whatever else you like!

If we see LOTE used, should it similarly "be removed to reduce noise in the questions and answers"?

I am a confessed francophile with high school French so don't think me xenophobic, but I know through personal experience that it is now easy to read/write rudimentary Italian and Korean with the aid of Google Translate.


3 Answers 3


I do not think you need to remove questions or answers. If you see LOTE used then the best thing to help people who ask or answer the question is to make it understandable for everyone.

In short, if you know what they mean and what language they are using, you can translate it for community so that everybody becomes happy.


I think we should insist that question askers try to use English, and encourage the community to help improve/clarify/translate it, if possible, and otherwise close it as "Needs details or clarity". If the entire question is in a non-English language, I would say just close it. There has to be some effort on the question asker's part to make their question understandable to the majority of English-speaking users.


There is now a Meta Stack Exchange FAQ titled Do posts have to be in English on Stack Exchange? which I think should be adopted and followed here.

It currently advises:

What should I do if someone else makes a post that is not in English?

If someone makes a non-English post on a site other than one in the above two lists [which do not include GIS SE], or in a language different from the site's accepted languages, first, check to see if it's spam. A small portion of wrong-language posts are actually spam, so be sure to check for that.

If it's not spam, vote or flag to close it as "Needs details or clarity" (or a community-specific reason about wrong-language questions if one exists on the site) if it's a question, or flag as "very low quality" if it's an answer.

Should I translate wrong-language posts?

No, you should not translate wrong-language posts. Machine translations (e.g., Google Translate) can be inaccurate, and even human translations risk distorting the intended meaning of the post. It's up to the author to make sure that their post fits the quality standards of the site; if they don't, it reduces their chance of getting a good answer (in the case of a question) or that their post will be well-received.

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