I feel confident in my ability to comprehend French, but can express myself much more clearly in English. However, for questions written in French, the question asker may not be able to understand the response.

Should I (and others in my situation) try to respond in the language of the question?


J'ai suffisamment confiance en mes capacités à comprendre le français, mais je m'exprime bien plus clairement en anglais. Le problème est que lorsque les questions sont écrites en français, il est possible que celui qui a posé la question ne soit pas capable de comprendre une réponse formulée en anglais.

Dois-je (comme toute autre personne dans ma situation) essayer de répondre dans le langage de la question ?

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4 Answers

Great question. My personal feeling is that yes, the response should be in the same language as the question. It is likely that the person asked the question in the language they are most comfortable/proficient with, and so they would prefer replies in that language.

Of course, that's ignoring the community nature of the site. If one considers the site as a community resource, though, it would be better to have all questions and answers in both languages! As that doesn't seem practical, trying to answer in the same language as the question was asked seems the next-best thing.

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Is no answer better than opposite language answer? –  Flexo Aug 17 '11 at 21:47
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@awoodland Probably not. I suppose an answer in the same language should just be strongly encouraged. –  Jez Aug 17 '11 at 21:48
    
In general, I would tend to answer in the same language as the question and in French. That is, if the question is in French, my answer will solely be in French; if it's in English, I'll tend to answer in English but sometime add a French version as well. (Same if the question is in Dutch, although I don't expect much of that) –  Joubarc Aug 18 '11 at 7:40
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@Joubarc I've been mostly doing that on meta, but it's a lot of work. Are you really prepared to do that all the time? –  Gilles Aug 18 '11 at 23:16
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You're correct, I see now that I am not. –  Joubarc Aug 19 '11 at 11:08
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In foreign languages, people's reading ability is often hugely superior to their writing ability.

So I suggest we allow other-language answers, even tough same-language is preferred as a general rule.

In the (probably rare) case of ununderstood answer, the asker can still add a comment to ask for clarification. Or spitulate from the beginning that the answer must be in language X.

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La forme et le contenu de cette réponse sont en contradiction :p –  rds Jul 16 '12 at 11:58
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Mon point de vue:

  1. Écrivez en français si possible, et en anglais seulement si vous n'êtes pas suffisamment à l'aise.
  2. Dans les deux langues, évitez les phrases compliquées.

Même chose pour les questions et les réponses.

Raisons: La lecture ne devrait pas être aussi difficile que l'écriture, et je pense que se faire corriger est le meilleur moyen de progresser. De plus, si le français est la langue majoritaire sur le site, ça attirera plus d'experts. (Tout le monde n'est pas à l'aise avec l'anglais.)

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Of course, I'm testing what I'm suggesting right now. Btw, I don't see a problem with comments being in English or in French, but maybe this will raise a new meta-question soon. –  Stéphane Gimenez Aug 18 '11 at 5:09
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J'avais spontanément tendance à répondre dans la langue de la réponse, mais je suis assez d'accord avec ce point de vue. Je réalise aussi qu'il m'arrive de discuter avec des amis étrangers, chacun s'exprimant dans sa langue natale, et on se comprend très bien ainsi. Si la question est plus claire quand elle est posée en anglais, il est fait possible que ma réponse soit plus claire et précise si elle est en français. –  rds Jul 16 '12 at 12:00
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Why not simply let the inquirer decide?

For example, lets say I'm not that much confident with my french. If I ask my question, what would prevent me to state in the question (in the body, not the title) that I'd appreciate if any complex explanation could be answered in English? Nothing.

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