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An early question on Meta (Should all-Latin questions be permitted?) allowed all-Latin questions. We also had a Meta question about using non-English sources in answers.

We've also had a fair number of questions that ask about translations from other languages, e.g. Finnish, with the inclusion of text in the relevant language, e.g. this question.

I don't think we have developed an official policy, though, on questions asked entirely in a language other than English or Latin. We haven't yet had an issue with someone asking a question in ancient Greek (and honestly, I'd be too impressed to worry about whether it fits the site rules), but we've recently gotten at least one question that was (before editing) asked entirely in Spanish.

My question: What should be our policy for on-topic questions that are asked in a language other than English or Latin?

Depending on the answer to that question, another question naturally arises: What should be our policy for answers to such questions?

I can think of several options:

  • Leave as-is (and, presumably, allow answers in the same language)
  • Make a parallel translation into English (as has been done in the linked question above)
  • Replace with an English translation
  • Close

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My vote is for the second option. It's trivial to include a machine-generated translation, and with some minor editing, the translation from most modern languages to English will facilitate understanding among a wider audience. That can only be beneficial for the question.

Similarly, answers can be in that same language (or theoretically another one completely), but where possible an English translation should accompany it.

Since this process is viable, I see no reason to close them. Furthermore, I don't like the idea of replacing the question with English, but the original language might contain subtle nuances that can get lost in a translation taken without care.

For what it's worth, that question followed the model set in this question, so it wasn't a one-time thing. I think we might have seen this before, too, a couple years ago.

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    I agree with this. Anyone is free and indeed encouraged to add an English translation to such a question. If necessary, we can also do a (machine) translation of any answers from English to the original language if the OP struggles with English.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Nov 16, 2023 at 19:00
  • What if noöne is in the mood to add such a translation? Should it then still remain open?
    – Cerberus Mod
    Nov 26, 2023 at 1:56
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    @Cerberus Good question! I'm not opposed to closing such a question as unclear (or for a custom closure reason created for this purpose) and then reopening if someone provides a translation. I'm curious to hear other ideas.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Nov 27, 2023 at 15:10

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