Multilingual forum

Original post

I can see different languages in this forum. I don’t know if there is multilingual support in Discourse. If exists, please could you enable it? If not, I propose to encourage users to specify the language of the topic in the title.

Possible poll
(suggested by @anon90052001)

How do you prefer to handle multiple languages?

  • Keep it as it is don’t make nothing special to handle multiple languages.
  • Keep it as it is but make non-English threads’ title ends with the language in brackets like “… [Français]” (thanks @humorkritik)
  • Keep it as it is but make non-English threads’ title begin with the language like. “Français: …” (thanks @anon90052001)
  • Group of translators: Volunteers that can translate posts to English (thanks @jpjacobs and @ben)
  • Create a category per language. Besides “Fairphone Help” there are like language houses “Spanish”, “French”, “Italian”… (thanks @anon90052001)
  • Translator: automatic post translation (thanks @Stefan)

Please help us to find other options and write a reply including “@sim6 add this option”.


In my opinion the main language in the forum should stay English because the user base is not that large that it supports extremely differentiated languages. Information and knowledge would scatter into all different locations and it would be like Babel 2.0.

The forum should not encourage people to use their own language rather than English!


Even for people with a Romanic language background, English is the de-facto new lingua franca. :wink:

That’s the point. I think it’s parsimonious to try sticking to English, and not split the forum in multiple sub-thingies. There are less than 60 k FP users from all over Europe (with some rare exceptions on other contients). The majority of customers comes from countries with languages which are somehow related to English. And while Google Translate is not yet as good as the original Babel fish, it can give you both an idea and help to translate to English from you native tongue, even if it’s not related to English.

However, of course everybody can ask questions in any language of choice. People providing help can (additionaly) provide it in his or her native tongue, if possible. I wouldn’t be the really surprised if a question asked in Chinese or even Bambara would get an answer here. However, it is easier to get answers if a question is asked in English.

Your second thought seems sensible, though: it would be easy for everyone to add a [language] in brackets to a new topic, so anyone could search for stuff written in Francais, Deutsch, Catala, Hindi or whatever you want to answer today. Or skip it, if you don’t want to try to make sense of, e.g., eye-soaring German grammar. :slight_smile:

I don’t mean that we encourage people to leave English, it is the main language of this forum. But I think we need to allow non-English topics because there are non-fluent English writers. So, we need flags for non-English topics, I think the usage of brackets with the language in the title is fine.

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In fact, there are already some threads for French people, Italian people or even Spanish people. I think in this way there are a simply way to place a doubt, a question, or whatever someone want in his or her own language.


I pretty much like how things are handled right now:

Threads in other languages than English usually quickly get a translation in English, and are answered in the original language, with an English translation (Even though sometimes it’s a straight copy from Google Translate).

This is something I have never seen happening on any forum but this one. I think it’s a reflection of the Fairphone spirit in it’s userbase.

In another thread, there was a suggestion of using language badges for people speaking that language;
It might be a nice idea to combine the idea of @sim6 to have people flag the language of their post, and notify people who have that badge as long as it’s not translated to English, crowdsourcing the translation effort.

What do you guys think about this? Would it be feasible?

Anyway, I am against segregating different languages as this does not take full advantage of available knowledge in the community: people will skip over questions they would actually be able to solve.


I think there is no harm in enabling the user interface translatation.
If possible, english is best, but everybody should be able to ask questions in every language he or she is able to speak. Maybe is would be great to have some multilingual users that volunteer to translate in topics, this would even enable community members that are not tech-savy to help out users by enabling others to understand the question.

We could use a topic were people willing to translate post their languages so they can simply be flagged when needed?

Thanks for getting the topic going. So our options are:

  • See Discourse functionality on handling multilanguage forum
  • Create a category per language. Besides “Fairphone Help” there are like language houses “Spanish” “French” Italian"
  • Keep it as it is. Make non-English threads begin with the language like. “Français: …”

By the way - in another post I asked for crowdsourcing translation technologies. Not exactly gonna produce our solution but just so it’s on our minds.

@sim6, you could edit your original question and add the poll once we decide on the options?

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As a moderator, I think things are working well at the moment. The forum needs to be simple to use, and I think if we have additional categories for various other languages we are at risk of making the forum too complicated and fragmenting the support.

My preference would be to write the language in brackets after the topic title - however unless you recognise the language, it doesn’t make a lot of difference.

The better option of course if some kind of multilingual functionality.

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I second this idea of checking for Discourse multilingual potential.

Indeed there are a couple of non-english threads, but from what I can see they quickly become completely mangled with all questions totally unrelated to each other, and responses diluted far away, which negates the interest of a forum to begin with (I cannot tag a point for further reactions, I’m warned for every and all new question…)

So yes, a multilingual forum would be useful.

In the (single) french mega-thread for instance, you get a lot of new users, generally old persons that did decide upon FP only because there was a reaction in french (remember that, for these guys, even the Dutch/English/German manual is useless)

National threads, specially for countries away from FP place of birth, is key to enlarging FP footprint. I’m not spanish but I HOPE I’ll see spanish threads for instance. Not you?

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There is one: 🇪🇸 Dudas en castellano :wink:

@Chris_R I agree with Chris. Just write in your own language and write the language in brackets after the topic title.
I use a translator to write in other language and place my text also in English. Because translators are making mistakes in sentences when it comes to where to put a word. By placing my text in two languages I hope to get a better understanding of what I mean to write.

I agree mostly with @ben’s suggestion.

Maybe it is possible to have a “translator group” which can be flagged, just as moderators can be flagged now. E.g.: You click on the flag symbol and then you can choose “Have this translated.”

People can voluntarily offer their help to participate in the translator group in a separate (maybe pinned) topic.

@joe please check out this: @HugoAlmeida from the forum wrote a plug in which lets you translate individual post with a button next to the post. Could this be implemented on the Fairphone Forum?
If it is feasible, it should be one of the options in a poll.

I edited the first post as @anon90052001 suggested to start a poll. Maybe two options for flags in title are too many.

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I moved a post to a new topic: Poll: Multilingual Forum

Unfortunately you can’t edit the topic to turn into a poll (I didn’t know that either!)

Anyway, I’ve created a new topic with the top post. I’m closing this one off so that we collect the rest of the views on the poll topic.