(To Robert, Dori, Shog9, HedgeMadge & GraceNote, wherever I may find them)

Do any of you guys understand any French?

As you'll see, we're wondering what the main language of the main and meta should be here, and currently Gilles is asking/answering all questions in both French and English, so that you guys can understand.

What do you think about this: are we underestimating your linguistic skills?

  • Please separate your questions into separate posts/questions. I think the 2nd has already been asked on meta.french anyway. Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 13:35
  • @Rebecca. OK sorry, done. The dupe was here, for anyone following links.
    – Benjol
    Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 13:41
  • 2
    My knowledge of French begins and ends with the lyrics to an old Megadeth song... Google Translate FTW!
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 14:59

4 Answers 4


Rebecca's answer is evident that she is is more fluent than I, where I have three years of French and a few weeks of full immersion in the suburbs of Québec. That was a lifetime ago and I am not anything near to conversational or fluent… but I understand the gist of the questions and issues being asked. I might even know the occasional answer, but I'll leave that to the experts here. For the rest, Google Translate works just fine.


A Notice for Non-English Meta Sites

Our goal to make the Stack Exchange Network a great place to produce high-quality Q&A sites, no matter what language your speak. But we are still predominantly an English-speaking organization and we need to understand the underlying operation and issues facing these sites.

We allow the creation of non-English sites, but we have to insist that any posts on the META site must be in English (or translated quickly after posted). Posts on the Main Q&A can be written in the language of your choosing.

I know this is not ideal; It's all a bit of a compromise in lieu of saying "Sorry you cannot create proposals for non-English sites until we have a proper localization interface."

For details, see

Is it OK to have non-English question and answers in Area 51?

  • 3
    Is localization of the SE network planned? Would be easy to crowd source it (think like how Facebook does it or take a look at crowdin.net) especially with StackExchanges in specific languages (those communities could help contribute). Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 15:04
  • Without throwing out a lot of arbitrary, wildly-speculative dates, the best I can say is that localization is slowly creeping up in priority. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/82176/… It's more than just the physical translation -- that's easy -- it's the infrastructure changes and the logistics of administering these sites without that one-on-one communication channel. It's a big undertaking. Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 17:14
  • @Robert, my take is that localization should only take place in the context of an existing community (like this one will hopefully become). I guess that once it's 'done' for a given language, the texts could then be reused elsewhere, but that poses the (bigger) problem of whether you want to further fragment each subject area into a language-specific version. I'd put that off 'til you're Google-sized :)
    – Benjol
    Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 18:10
  • @RobertCartaino : Google translate is a very bad idea that will give you inaccurate results (while being syntaxically correct). Just try “low fat” (on food) or “microwave and dishwasher safe” (on a plate). It is still easy to see peoples who cheat on lessons. Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 5:41
  • @RobertCartaino : An another example “They don't use mules for nothing but glue no more” which normally translate toon ne se sert plus de mulets sauf pour faire de la colle Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 14:47

Tu ne me demandez pas, mais je vais répondre quand même. (:

J'ai étudié le français depuis sept ans et j'ai passé un été en France. Malheureusement, c'était il y a cinq ans. Je peux le lire et le comprendre beaucoup mieux que je peux parler. Mon français <--> anglais dictionnaire devient beaucoup d'usage!

Je ne sais pas à propos des autres. Évidemment, l'anglais est notre langue maternelle. Pour les employés de SE, les messages que nous devons comprendre sont mieux en anglais.

Google Translate est toujours utile d'obtenir les moins d'essentiel.

(Je sais que je fais des erreurs. Je ne vais pas vexé si vous me repriser. Je veux sincèremment que mon français d'améliorer. Trouvez-moi sur le chat!)

You didn't ask me, but I will answer anyway. (:

I studied French for 7 years and I spent a summer in France. Unfortunately, that was 5 years ago. I can read and understand it much better than I can speak it. My French <--> English dictionary is getting lots of use!

I don't know about the others on the team. Obviously English is our native language. For the SE team, posts we must understand are better in English.

Google Translate is helpful to at least get the gist. q:

(I know I make mistakes. I won't get upset if you correct me. I sincerely want my French to improve! Find me on chat!)

  • SORRY! I thought I'd included you in the list. :(
    – Benjol
    Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 15:24
  • Hehe no worries, just giving you a hard time. q: Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 15:25
  • Le jour ou Google traduction produira un texte en partie compréhensible sur du Français versifié, le poules auront sans doute des dents. Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 1:20

J'ai étudié le français depuis sept ans, et je voyage en France de temps en temps. Maintenant, je ne vais pas à l'école et je n'ai pas d'amis ou de famille francophones, donc mon français est en train de rouiller un peu. Comme Rebecca, je sais que je fais des erreurs, et ça ne me vexera pas d'être corrigée quand c'est nécessaire!

Quand le site aura besoin de son propre membre de l'équipe CHAOS, moi, je m'offrirai (bien que je me rende compte qu'il se peut que quelqu'un d'autre sur l'équipe qui parle mieux français que moi - je ne l'ai pas demandé aux autres. Peut-être qu'une compétition pourra identifier le CHAOS le plus doué en français?).

I studied French for seven years, and I travel to France from time to time. Now, I'm not in school and I don't have any French-speaking friends or family, so my French is rusting a little. Like Rebecca, I know I make mistakes, and it won't bother me at all if I'm corrected when it's necessary!

When the French site needs its own member of the CHAOS team, I'll volunteer (even though I realize that there might be someone else on the team who speaks French better than I do - I haven't asked the others. Maybe a competition can identify the best CHAOS French speaker?).

  • 1
    No need for a competition, if all the French-speaking CHAOS members start answering questions here, we'll take the one with the highest rep :)
    – Benjol
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 4:53
  • That's very good French! Your first paragraph is perfect. There is a problem with the structure of your first sentence in parentheses. You could write “rende compte que peut-être que quelqu'un d'autre de l'équipe parle mieux français que moi” or “rende compte qu'il se peut qu'un autre membre de l'équipe parle mieux français que moi” or “rende compte qu'il y a peut-être un autre membre de l'équipe qui parle mieux français que moi”. Oh, and compétition, with an é. Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 7:25
  • @Gilles - Fixed. Merci beaucoup!
    – hairboat
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 11:24

I do not understand any French other than your obvious basics like "oui", "fromage", and "francais".

You should generally seek to use English as the main language. Not only to make it easier on those of us who don't speak the language, but also because we are mostly an English speaking network. Especially on Meta, you will need to actually communicate with us on a regular basis, so it helps to use the language we share.

On the main site, it's a lot more excuseable to have questions entirely in French. As long as they're appropriate questions, of course, haha. ♪ But I mean, German and Japanese both have a handful of questions that are composed entirely in the given language, so I don't see all that much harm for you. However, do keep in mind that even if acceptable, it does require extra work for moderation, so please make sure to help take care of any pure French content that you produce.

  • 2
    Someone has got their priorities straight
    – Joubarc
    Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 14:12
  • 1
    @Joubarc - the only other vocabulary necessary is "vin".
    – hairboat
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 13:04
  • @Abby Oi, and I don't even know that one. I only know fromage because I make a point that if I'm not learning swords and sorcery, I at least have to know cheese in that language.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 13:06

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