Should we translate our canonical questions into English? (I mean, both the Q and the A.)

I'm just getting started with getting to know the Q&A pages that have been collected in our list of canonical questions, and it's going to take me a while to get to know them all. So far I have read a great one about le vs. lo vs. la. That question is in Spanish and so is the answer. Will this canonical answer be more useful to Spanish learners who visit the site, if it is made bilingual?

I personally think the answer is yes.

Note, I don't think there's any particular hurry in editing the Q and the A to provide an English version. But I would like to know if others agree that this would be a goal to work towards bit by bit.

You are welcome to post a differing opinion in an answer if you wish. And if you don't like either my question or my answer, please feel free to downvote to indicate your position. After all, votes received in Meta (positive or negative) don't count.

  • 2
    Por mi parte estoy de acuerdo. Creo que el sitio se beneficiaría si tradujéramos las preguntas canónicas al inglés o al español (según el idioma en el que esté la pregunta).
    – Charlie
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 7:52
  • Are you thinking of editing the original question and answer to add the translation or just adding a new answer which is a translation of the existing one?
    – mdewey
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 12:13
  • @mdewey - I've posted both possibilities. Please edit if I misunderstood your two ideas -- and also, if you can think of another solution, please add another answer. Let's see how they fare in the voting and discussion. Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 21:44

3 Answers 3


Yes. We should make the question and answer a community wiki (so that we all feel more comfortable with editing them) and edit them to add the missing translations.

  • Good one. People sometimes are a bit reluctant to make their posts CW, but in Spanish there is not much interest in reputation so it shouldn't be a problem. Badges are awarded as well, if that matters.
    – fedorqui
    Commented Oct 1, 2020 at 8:38
  • @fedorqui'SOstopharming' I guess most of the users who wrote the canonical questions and answers are no longer active anyway... We could also reach a compromise solution: ask the author of the question or answer to edit in the translation (we could provide the translation to them, they do not have to write it themselves). If the author does not respond in a reasonable time frame, we could CW the post and add the translation ourselves. If the author responds, they can decide what happens to the post.
    – wimi
    Commented Oct 1, 2020 at 11:05
  • It sounds fair to me. In fact, most of the current questions with the preguntas-canónicas tag had once their translation included and I don't think anybody ever complained
    – fedorqui
    Commented Oct 1, 2020 at 14:19
  • 2
    @fedorqui'SOstopharming' I have gone ahead and rolled back the two edits of the two canonical questions whose translation had been edited out, as I do not think such a removal of information is a helpful edit in any way.
    – wimi
    Commented Oct 1, 2020 at 16:37

While I understand people wanting to make resources more available to a wider audience, I don't think adding translations of question/answer to the question/answer bodies themselves is the best way to go about this:

  • It creates an intimidating wall of text that people finding a question may be more likely to just ignore.
  • It creates overhead for anyone updating/editing an answer to ensure the updates are consistent across both translations.
  • The translation may not convey what the original author intended (if added by someone else, or if the author is not fluent in one of the languages)
  • People asking questions in one language may be coming from a specific perspective (e.g. as an English speaker learning Spanish), which would not be a question generally asked in the other language, making the extra text unhelpful and essentially just clutter.
  • It's generally more difficult to parse visually when everything is doubled.

I think a decent solution to people wanting to include translations of questions they think important is to add a new question/answer (and then possibly decide as a community to stop marking the 'same' question in different languages as a duplicate).


  • keeps things cleaner visually and easier to read/search (especially titles)
  • doesn't unnecessarily 'vandalise' people's posts (by adding a wall of text they didn't include originally)
  • allows for the subtle differences in question/answer explanation from one language's perspective to another (e.g. native speaker vs learner)
  • Thanks for the comprehensive answer with all the rationale of the suggestion. With the current technology, I think having two separate questions, one in each language, is not useful: if they are one duplicate to the other, unregistered users will always be redirected automatically to the canonical; if they are not duplicated, we will probably get an amount of extra answers that will require extra moderation. Also, its improvements and edits will need to be updated over and over again, so they will probably end up diverging.
    – fedorqui
    Commented Oct 5, 2020 at 14:40
  • 1
    What I agree on is that the title in both languages may look a bit intimidating, as well as the answer. What about posting one answer per language?
    – fedorqui
    Commented Oct 5, 2020 at 14:41

Yes. We should edit the original question and the existing great answer, to add the translation.

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