DEV Community

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต What if we made DEV.to polyglot ?

English is the lingua franca of programming but the DEV community is polyglot

Should I write in English or in my mother tongue ?

I think many of us here have asked us this question.

But the answer is actually obvious

Writing is its own reward

Social Media and its vanity metrics everywhere taught us the wrong lessons.

Writing, even just for yourself, on paper or on your computer, is always a useful exercice.

Writing in english is a great idea for your career, for too many reasons to write down.

Writing in your mother tongue is also super positive, because at playing with mother tongue is actually a very big deal in life.

Also don't worry about the DRY principle here. You write for a different audience, with different references, a different mindset.

Translating is a creative act.

No one will be mad at you for writing in a language they don't understand

Most people will ignore you, but that's what we already do most of the time.
It's absolutely fine.

Cross posting is good

Editor Note: I will now cross-post all my english and french content on DEV.to and on my website https://desviesdedevs.jmfayard.dev/

That's how I now start all my posts on DEV.to
I do that to get the best of both world.
On my substack, I have a small but great audience that likes my posts and receive them by email.
Even if nobody interacted with my content on DEV.to, the platform has a SEO strength that I will absolutely never have.

But people do interact on DEV.to

Here are some proof that you can have readers in your mother tongue

A bilingual brazilian portuguese - english interview

A read who has read 4 ways to judo mansplaining and then went on to read ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท 4 prises de judo contre le mansplaining

Just saw the French version and it is even more funny, kudos!
I absolutely loved "...vous pouriez mec-spliquer" ๐Ÿ˜‚

A cool comment in esperanto

Bonega artikolo. Mi komencis pasigi tian intervjuon kaj viaj kolsiloj estas saฤaj ๐Ÿ˜‰
Tamen kiel kandidato mi ฤ‰iam diris ke mi deziras plu esti programisto kaj post kvin jaroj, mi havos pli da kompetencoj kaj pli bone laboros ๐Ÿ˜
Kelkaj firmaoj starigas tiun demandon por scii ฤ‰u la kandidato povas evolui en tia firmao (se la kandidato deziras iฤi arฤฅitekto kaj la firmao ne havas tian postenon, ili scios ke la kandidato deziros ลanฤi post 5 jaroj)

A german reader who take the time and effort to answer me in french

Je pensais toujours que c'รฉtait les Allemands qui ne savent pas accepter aucune faute grammaticale ou formelle et qui toujours trouvent quelque chose qui est fausse. Mais les mauvaises examples de ce type of gens รฉtaient et sont les profs de francais aux รฉcoles allemands.

Les gens que j'ai rencontrรฉ en France, Belgie, Suisse ou Tunisie etaient tranquil sans fixation sur leur langue, sauf en Paris ou on m'avait donnรฉ des lecons.

J'aime les "FOTES", ca resemble un peu les bandes dessinรฉes underground ร  l'age des "K7" (cassettes de musique).

Merci pour l'inspiration de trouver du contenu en francais ici! Je suis รฉtonnรฉ que je le sais encore. Et excusez moi pour ne savoir comment รฉcrire une cรฉdille sur cet ordinateur. Ma FOTE!

I rest my case : write in all your languages

The emoji convention

I suggest to follow my convention to start the title with the "language emoji" (actually country emoji) to make us all visible

And follow your language tags

In no particular order

#french


#spanish

La etiqueta oficial para post en espaรฑol.

#german


#italian


#japanese


#portuguese

Merci beaucoup - muchas gracias - grazie - danke sehr - obrigado - arigatou gozaimasou

In particular to @ingosteinke @michaeltharrington @lelepg @morgannadev @pachicodes @axel584

What Should You Do Next ?

A thousand miles journey begins with a single step.

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท Prends un article que tu as dรฉjร  รฉcrit. Publie le sur DEV.to avec l'emoji qui va bien. Fais en la pub dans les commentaires ci-dessous. Comme รงa tu peux รชtre sรปrฮต qu'au moins une personne va le lire.

๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Ich vermute, du hast bestimmt irgendwann in deinem Leben, etwas interesantes auf Deutsch geschrieben ? Nimm den text und verรถffentlicht es auf DEV.to. Dann mach mal ein bisschen Werbung in die Kommentare

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Busca un articulo bueno quรฉ ya has escrito en otro lugar. Publicalo aqui en DEV.to. Y despuรฉs mandame el enlace en los comentarios. Asi quรฉ pudedes estar seguro quรฉ almenos una persona lo lee.

Top comments (38)

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vladfr profile image
Vlad Fratila

I love this idea, and I hate it in equal amount.

I'm working for a Japanese company, and the language barrier is a huge obstacle. I definitely would encourage more tech articles on Japanese, it's a great way to share knowledge, and it is really needed - I know that half of my team would benefit.

But I can't be a part of that conversation, and that frustrates me to no end. The best things about tech are collaboration, openness, inclusion, open-source and community. I worry that non-English content will cause massive breaks. So I feel that I cannot encourage this.

But I'll do it! I will try to find the benefits. I can focus on the pleasure of writing - I definitely agree with that part - and I'll try to find other good parts. I'll also try to find the limits - when is it detrimental to the community to have multiple languages? One thing that comes to mind is coding - I still strongly believe that all code should be done exclusively in English.

Anyway, even if I don't agree, I'll try it, and I thank you for this idea. It's out of the box, and only for that reason and I like it.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard • Edited

You can become part of the conversation, because you can in fact learn to speak enough of Japanese with confidence to do that.

Learning a foreign language is easier than people assume. Human beings are naturally gifted at learning languages, that's why you can take any baby in the world, put it in a country with a supposedly impossibly difficult to learn language, and it will work with 100% success rate.

There's a catch though, you need to forget about the wrong ideas you have about how to learn a language, in order to make places for better strategies.

The go to website for this is my friend Benny Lewis, the irish polyglot
fluentin3months.com/

Here are resources for Japanese specifically
fluentin3months.com/resources/japa...

GAMBATE!

PS: here is my dog Linda, she can understand at least 20 words in Japanese

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vladfr profile image
Vlad Fratila

Yeah idk about that. I don't consider myself to be good at language.

On Japanese, the problem is compounded by the writing system - I really can't see myself picking that up anytime soon, and I can't see much benefit without it.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard • Edited

Problem solved easily, don't learn kanjis and focus on speaking. That's what I did.

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vladfr profile image
Vlad Fratila

So then how can I read and write articles, documentation, or even Slack messages?

The barrier would be lowered indeed, but not enough. I wouldn't be able to join in the conversion. People take years to learn what they call business level Japanese.

That link you shared says "have a conversation in 3 months" - sure, but it will be about ordering sushi, not about private connectivity on GCP, which incidentally is what I need to talk about next week.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard • Edited

Itโ€™s impossible to go fast from where you are today to talking about GCP connectivity in Japanese without having lots of conversations about eating sushis in the middle.

To learn to speak Japanese, you must speak Japanese early and then often.

you need to make friends with whom you speak in Japanese about sushis etc

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard • Edited

I even wrote a song in multiple languages

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington • Edited

I love this post so much Jean-Michel! ๐Ÿ’š

And I second everything ya said, haha! I def encourage everyone to write in whatever language they want to. And, it's absolutely cool for folks to post multiple versions of their articles in different languages. I see that as a perk!

Also, I'd challenge folks to interact with each other across languages even if you're not that comfortable using the language right now. If you're practicing English, Portuguese, French, etc. โ€” our community is a great place to flex those skills and get better. On a similar note, I'm not actually practicing other languages, but I enjoy interacting with folks from other cultures, so I just pull out Google Translate and use it to jump into the conversation; we live in a time where it's easy to translate words in seconds and nothing is holding us back from communicating with one another. So, why not?!

I think a special part of our community is just how global it is. I can talk with you (Jean-Michel) all the way from across the Atlantic... and someone else who is from an entirely different part of the world can read what we say and hop in the discussion too if they wanna. It's amazing and it's all made possible because of software developers collaborating! When we come together, we can make amazing things happen.

So please, communicate in whatever language you wanna, share ideas, be open to other cultures, and, as always, treat everyone with kindness and respect. ๐Ÿ™Œ

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard

Salut Michael, merci beaucoup pour tes encouragements. Et oui c'est exactement รงa, le monde informatique est une tour de Babel, et pour l'instant nous n'avons pas รฉtรฉ punis par le Crรฉateur. Alors profitons en !

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darkterminal profile image
Imam Ali Mustofa

This is so good bro! I love this...

I am Indonesian, I am in!

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard • Edited

That's great imam, waiting for your first article here :)

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steeve profile image
Steeve

Bonjour ๐Ÿ‘‹ Je vais traduire toute ma sรฉrie Mastering RiotJS and franรงais, voici le premier article:

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard

Pas mal DEV.to d'un point de vue SEO, non ? :P

Image description

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steeve profile image
Steeve

DEV.to a un rรฉfรฉrencement de dingue, on apprรฉcit et on prend le jus :D

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canro91 profile image
Cesar Aguirre

Cool! Great idea. I keep an eye on #braziliandevs to level up my Portuguese. And I've enjoyed some of your French articles. I haven't read them all. I don't want to lose my French, so it's killing two birds with one stone, reading about tech and learning vocabulary in other languages. ๐Ÿ’ช

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lelepg profile image
Letรญcia Pegoraro Garcez

Whenever the topic of using multiple languages comes into discussion, I always remember of Lera Boroditsky's Ted Talk How language shapes the way we think. Language is really something very powerful, and if we have many languages at our disposal, we definitely should take advantage of that.

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ajborla profile image
Anthony J. Borla

I applaud the sentiment (improve diversity, inclusiveness, etc), but question the practicality.

As software professionals you should all be aware of the importance of adhering to standards (put another way, something to which most can agree), and maintaining clear communication.

Let's please not add unnecessary impediments to achieving these objectives.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard • Edited

TBH, I am not sure what you are trying to say.
What's the drawback of someone using her mother tongue to express herself ?

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ajborla profile image
Anthony J. Borla

If a website is in one language, whether English, or whatever else, then content on that site should be in that language. I believe this is not only standard practice, but is what is expected by most, if not all, website users.

There is nothing stopping anyone writing in their native language, using a translation service to convert content into the website's language, and posting. They can also do the reverse, translating website content into their native language for better comprehension.

Although a native English speaker, I have completed several courses on non-English websites. In order to participate in those courses I have done as I have earlier described, performed two-way content translation. Doing this certainly required more effort, but I accepted the website as implemented, and worked around this challenge.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard • Edited

I would say that's what is expected by people who speak only english and don't notice everything else because of the langauge barrier :)

I have seen this often on Reddit. People asking why others are speaking in their mother tongue on an american english-speaking website. Not realizing that there many many active reddits in other languages.

There are 8 billions human beings on earth.
400 million are native english speaker which is an awful lot... and also a clear minority.

I stand by the first sentance of my post : the internet by nature is polyglot with english as lingua franca.

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lnahrf profile image
Lev Nahar

Anthony is talking about adhering to standards of clear communication within the professional programming industry and community, not in general or as an absolute rule. No one is stopping you, or anyone from writing in your native language about anything. I think what Anthony is trying to say is that it is important to stick to clear communication protocols when transferring professional knowledge, especially in the professional programming industry and community - since English is, as you've said yourself, the community's lingua franca

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard • Edited

Well yes, that's what I said, that's why I don't understand why the thread even started.

I indeed said that writing in english is good, also I've written 100+ articles in english on DEV, so it's not like writing in another language made me unable to write in english.

Also telling people to not express themselves in their mother tongue, which is like the sandardiest standard in the history of mankind, that would be crazy. So I assume that noone is suggesting that.

The only question was wether there is a choice to be made, and the point of my article.

No, write in both, why not ?

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ajborla profile image
Anthony J. Borla

A thought just occurred, and hopefully it is useful starting point, and not merely an empty bubble :)

As Lev has mentioned, why not author an article in a language of choice, as there is, as far as I am aware, nothing to stop you doing so. Importantly, however, tag it so as to clearly identify the language (there may need to be some co-ordination over the tag format, and so forth ?).

Run the post through a translator into English, and post that as well. Language tagging may not be required since an untagged post can be assumed to be in English, simply because it is the default language of the website, not because it is "superior" to any other language :).

The tagging is important - obviously - to avoid non-English posts appearing in default feeds, and to allow browsing of articles in a selected language.

Doing so should help ensure:

  • A poster is able to express themselves in their native language (and over time, a searchable body of knowledge is built in that language)
  • All website users are still able to share that knowledge

I believe in standards (so we can all understand one another, and more easily, and reliably, manage information), and inclusiveness and diversity. Hopefully this "thought" helps in achieving all those aims.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard • Edited

Yep, a starting point of that is the #spanish tag alongside the ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ emoji in the title

That could be automated actually, it's pretty easy to auto detect the language of a given post

The main thing that's missing from DEV/FOREM after that would be for the algorithm to include the information of which languages people want to read or not

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lnahrf profile image
Lev Nahar • Edited

The thing is, by writing something in your native language you are severely limiting the amount of people who could read and benefit from your article. Realistically, writing two articles every time you want to write an article is not very sustainable and not many people would do it. Since you cannot program without knowing some English, when it comes to programming I believe articles should be written in English.

Edit: I am not a native English speaker ๐Ÿ™‚

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard

Forget about limiting, it's impossible and uninteresting to write for everyone.
There are 6 billions people on earth, and maybe 1.000 to 10.000 will read any given article.

Who talked about publishing the same articles in two languages each time ?

Typically the subject matter dictate the language.
If I want to talk about what's new in React, of course I will write about it in english.
If I want to write about my engineering school in France, of course I will write about it in French.
Sexism in tech is strong both in France and elsewhere, so in this case, I translated the article.

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lnahrf profile image
Lev Nahar

Right, we are talking about DEV tho, most articles posted here should be written in English, in my opinion.

Don't get me wrong, I do see value in writing a React tutorial in French for example, for those who are maybe not as proficient in English yet. But most written topics in DEV will need to be written in English to be able to reach those 1000 to 10000 readers we are talking about.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard

Source ?

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lnahrf profile image
Lev Nahar

What do you mean by source?
It's all my opinion, no sources ๐Ÿ™‚

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard • Edited

You come to someone's blog and explain that he should write things the way you say things SHOULD be done.
I ask the source on that because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

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lnahrf profile image
Lev Nahar • Edited

I'm sorry if I offended you in any way, since you wrote an opinion piece I thought it would be okay to share my opinion about the topic. Maybe you misunderstood what I said since I did not claim anything that requires "extraordinary" evidence, that is also a possibility.

Edit: I did not claim anything but the idea that technical articles written in English have the potential to attract more readers than technical articles written in other languages (and this also is an opinion, if you have data that contradicts my claim, please do share, I am not always right).

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard

I am not offended, it just seems weird that you come to someone's blog and pretend you know what and how he should write.
I actually do what I want you know.

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lnahrf profile image
Lev Nahar

I did not mean to impose anything on you, it is just an opinion that does not match your own, it's all good. I never meant to offend you or say you should do this or that, I apologize if my comments were written in a way that may have sounded like I am forcing you to do something.

All I said is that in my opinion technical articles should be written in English to reach a wider audience, I wonder what is so controversial about that?

I think there is a misunderstanding here, no need to continue this.

I wish you all the best, no hard feelings.

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thomasbnt profile image
Thomas Bnt โ˜• • Edited

Bonjour ! Ce que je fais, c'est qie je crosspost mes articles franรงais depuis mon blog personnel sur DEV, et je les traduis en anglais.
C'est une habitude, et je sais que je toucherai plus de mondes sur DEV avec un article รฉcrit en anglais, mais je laisse toujours une trace/lien de l'article canonical.

Blog

Mon blog est un endroit oรน je partage mes connaissances, mes expรฉriences et mes dรฉcouvertes. Vous y trouverez des articles sur le dรฉveloppement web, des tutoriels, des astuces et bien plus encore.

favicon thomasbnt.dev

Pour moi, ce n'est pas dรฉrangeant de faire de la "duplication" de contenu, รงa permet au lecteur de choisir dans quelle langue il voudrait le lire. Mais il est vrai que de la diversitรฉ de langues sur DEV serait une excellente chose ! Juste ajouter la possibilitรฉ de filtrer ce que nous voulons lire, non pas pour se limiter ร  certaines langues, mais par moments, j'aime bien juste lire des articles dans ma langue, ou que de l'anglais. C'est un choix, et non quelque chose que l'on m'impose

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nicolus profile image
Nicolas Bailly • Edited

Completely agree, and I've always contemplated posting in french on dev.to.

What bothers me is that multilingual support seems half baked on the platform : You cannot have one article in several languages, you need to make several unrelated articles (and then add a link yourself in each article if you want to), it would be so much better if articles could actually have several languages, and only offer reading it in their mother tongue to readers who actually want it.

Now I know Forem is Open Source and I could just add the feature myself, but learning Ruby on Rails just for the sake of making a PR that might or might not get accepted.

I'll definitely try and add a few of them in french though !

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard

The needed support would be more to filter by languages.
For now we have the #french tag and the ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท emoji in the title

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raphaelproject001 profile image
Rafael Barbosa da Silva

Muito bom!๐Ÿ‘

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel ๐Ÿ•ต๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ Fayard

Obrigado Rafael
๏ปฟO meu hovercraft estรก cheio de enguias