A Note to Our International Readers On Comments …

Preface: If English is your first language, skip this … it will bore your socks off.

I’d like to address an issue that has arisen from international readers.

Specifically, I know that some readers use translation features to read our posts in other languages.  Indeed, we’ve added a translation feature at the bottom of articles – below each post – to allow non-English speakers to be able to read the site.

Several times a month, people post comments in a foreign language.   While I used to speak Spanish fairly fluently, French passingly, Italian fakingly, and German pathetically, I have forgotten most of what I knew (use it or lose it … I lost it).

In a perfect world, I would translate each and every foreign-language comment, and then go through an analysis of whether or not the comment was productive, spam, or trolling.

Unfortunately, I am an extremely busy professional, and don’t have time to translate foreign comments. Indeed, while I try hard to read all of the comments, I’m too darn busy to even read all of the English comments.

I sometimes delete comments in foreign languages, especially when they are in alphabets which don’t even give me a clue … e.g. Cyrillic, Arabic, Mandarin, Hindu, etc.

Sometimes, I can’t tell if our foreign readers are making the most insightful comment since Plato, hawking “manhood” enhancing drugs, or declaring that all Americans should be beheaded …  I have no idea what you’re saying!

Yes, it is my fault that I don’t speak more languages … and that I am not taking the 30 seconds to copy and paste your comment into Google translate.

But – then again – if you are commenting on a site based in the U.S. with mainly American readers, you could take the extra 30 seconds to copy and paste your comment into Google translate so that you can comment in English.

I’m posting this boring, distracting rant because I’ve never seen any other website owner discuss this issue anywhere … and I am interested in potential solutions.

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