There are thousands people worldwide with high expertise level in Latin, definitely enough to ask/answer questions in Latin, who can't speak English. Anyone fluent in Latin (in writing/reading - no need for fluency in speaking) understands texts in English or Romance language to some extent, but they might have big problems with writing anything in English. They shouldn't be required to write anything more than their username and password (while logging in), but it doesn't necessarily mean we should advertise this website among them from the very start.

These people can be a boon for this site, but getting accustomed to their presence would take a lot of effort on our side. As basic communication in English may be a problem for them, so at least some of us need to learn at least basic StackExchange-related phrases in Latin. This would be especially a hard burden on moderators.

So, what are the guideline for inviting Latin experts not fluent in English?

  • should we actively invite them, or just wait if someone of them finds us?
  • which minimum level of English should be required (from at least basic understanding of the basic English in our [tour] to ability to at least broken English writing)?
  • if we should invite them, when should we start? Right now, after launch of public beta, or after some longer grace period?
  • 3
    Excellent, excellent question. Perhaps some sort of officially-sanctioned sandbox, where non-English-speakers can post draft content and work together with other community members to refine it?
    – hBy2Py
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 20:25
  • @Brian A Latin-only chat room might fit the bill. Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 20:35
  • 3
    It won't be a terribly large burden on moderators, more on the community itself. Moderators are part of the community, but their duty as moderators generally doesn't include welcoming and orienting newcomers. That's everyone's job.
    – user11
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 20:38
  • 1
    @Undo: I can think of semi-officially recognized Latin-fluent welcomers/interpreters/ostiarii, or even "flag for interpreters' attention" (though I don't think the SO team will do such a favor for us).
    – Pavel V.
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 20:45
  • Hey, it seems like this particular question's been decided. Any chance you could accept the top-voted answer?
    – Nic
    Commented Mar 24, 2016 at 16:59
  • @QPaysTaxes: I'm not so sure of it. AFAIK the top answer got just a 1 (or 2? not more) upvote since I posted the other one, so most of the voters didn't read both answers. I'll watch the question and wait for few more votes.
    – Pavel V.
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 19:40

2 Answers 2


I'd say actively invite them anytime.

Correcting English is something everyone and anyone should do if they come across a post by a non-native speaker that is hard to understand. Edits by users with 500+ reputation go through straight away; other users can suggest edits (they have to be at least 6 characters, then) that need to be approved by two users above the threshold. (Eventually this threshold will be raised to 1000.)

As long as the posts by non-native speakers are somewhat understandable, anyone is welcome to contribute.

Just one caveat: be nice about editing people's posts. Tell new users about the possibility of rolling back edits, or ask them in a friendly comment if they would mind if you edit their post. Try not to make them feel out-of-place by correcting really minor language issues or rewriting their whole post without ever having them explicitly welcome corrections.

  • What about those unwilling/unable to even try writing anything in English? I had this group in mind as a worst case. Can you expand your answer to clarify proposed policy towards those willing to write only in Latin? Off course, we agreed on adding English translations/summaries, but how else we should approach them?
    – Pavel V.
    Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 21:11
  • Hm... If they can't write comprehensively in English, do they only understand the questions written in Latin? Sounds like a rare case to me and I can't imagine they would get a lot out of the site, but I would say that the only thing they can be expected to do is to reply in Latin. Just somebody will have to ask them in Latin if we can add translations to their posts (if the community decides that such translations be compulsory).
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 22:00

How I would solve it:

1) I would introduce some "Latin-sandbox" tag stating that the OP wants the answers and comments in Latin. would seem to prohibit English summaries which we should add anyway, so it should be something different; we can make another question to pick the right name for the tag.

2) our introductory tour should contain the information required for the Latin speakers to understand how they should prevent being forced to write in English where they can't or don't want. Also, they should be required to understand basics of English (like the English part of the tour) - sentences without too many words of Germanic origin can be understood by anyone fluent in Latin and really trying.

3) we should make an all-Latin chat room (here "Sola Latina" seems appropriate)

4) some of us, who are fluent in Latin enough, should watch the sandbox tag, communicate with the newcomers asking questions in it, adding English summaries, teaching using the SE net in the Latin chat room, pointing to questions outside the sandbox which the Latin-writing experts could answer (someone else will immediately add English translation) etc. These translators or welcomes should have a semi-official status and their role should have some nice Latin name.

The weak point is the danger that the sandbox would be a site in site disconnected from the rest. This can be mitigated by English summaries (so that others could learn from these questions) and encouraging the "Romans" to read other posts as well, perhaps asking the translators to add a Latin summary where they didn't understand well. Hopefully most of them will become able to participate in the rest of the site to some extent. And off course, others can ask questions in the sandbox just to practice communication in Latin.

About timing, we should encourage inviting Latin speakers regardless of their English level once we have enough translators. My guess is that 5 translators to 1 "Roman" should be enough to handle this easily.

Note that I don't volunteer as a translator now, but I might join this group once I learn Latin better.

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