The consensus on Should we allow question and answer bodies in Spanish? seems to be that both Spanish and English should be allowed.

However, what about mixing both languages within a single question/anwsers page? For example in the English question: How did the words “mataburros” and “tumbaburros” come to mean “dictionary”?, currently the top voted answer is written in Spanish. As an external observer, this seems a bit odd, and for me it kind of breaks the flow when I'm trying to read the question/answer pair.

Another problem I see is, when a beginner learning Spanish asks a question in English (which was the rationale behind accepting questions in both languages), he might have trouble reading a Spanish answer so, even if it is correct, it isn't of much use to him. And similar for a person not experienced in English, getting English answers on his Spanish question might not be very useful to him.

The only argument I see for allowing mixed Q/A bodies is that, an answer is better than no answer. So if someone knows the answer but is not fluent in the language of the question, it is better to write the answer anyway, instead of not sharing that knowledge. But then perhaps it should be allowed, or even encouraged, for third-parties to edit the answer and provide a translation in the original language of the question?

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    It does break the flow for me too, but I'm willing to put with that in the expectation that some good contributors will only feel comfortable writing at length in one language or the other. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 17:16

1 Answer 1


This was also a concern on French.SE. Their community-accepted standard, which I fully agree with, is this:

Answers should be in the same language as the question;

However, no answer should be rejected or down-voted because it is not in the same language as the question.

That's not a quote, it's just an easy way to segragate that text...

It is most likely that the person asking the question is asking in the language that they feel most comfortable with. Therefore, the answer should be (ideally) a response that will be the most helpful to the asker, which would be in their more natural language.

Having said that, sometimes it is easier for an answerer to convey their meaning in the opposite language. In these cases, we should be willing to accept these answers as well.


Ideally, the answers should be in the same language as the question. However, I don't think we should down vote or limit these other-language answers because of their language.

  • Don't forget, there's always Google translate for the answers...
    – Richard
    Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 16:42
  • I think this is very sensible. Commented Nov 22, 2011 at 17:16
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    And what about my suggestion that "it should be allowed, or even encouraged, for third-parties to edit the answer and provide a translation"? Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 11:58
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    @JuanAntonio I strongly agree that it should also be allowed/encouraged to provide translations, and I suggest you add a separate meta post for that concern. If it is clear there that people think we should encourage translations it gives us a separate post to point to to say 'Yes, it's ok to make substantial edits to answers in order to provide a translation so that the answer can also be in the language of the question.' :)
    – aedia λ
    Commented Dec 1, 2011 at 17:56
  • @JuanAntonio I agree. There's nothing stopping people from editing answers to provide translations. Suggesting edits are even part of the system available without having to log in! Feel free to translate these answers. Also, it is currently allowed!
    – Richard
    Commented Dec 1, 2011 at 18:02
  • @Richard I agree. But Google Translate is weak and incomplete for some languages. Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 13:01
  • Can an Arab user for example, who is a newbie in Spanish and doesn't know English very well, ask here in Arabic? How is it probable for them to get answers? Are there any risks of getting down-voted or closed? Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 13:06

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