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Nadine M. Thêry
Nadine M. Thêry

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Do you feel comfortable learning in your own language or do you prefer English? (For non English-native speakers)

I am native Spanish speaker, although English billingual. However, taking coding courses or classes in Spanish feels odd to me.
I think that part of it is due to that I have always learnt coding stuff in English. And another part is that all coding language itself is in English, and of course the documentation is also.
It feels really odd to hear the name of the functions translated into Spanish. And I also think it is not practical at all, since documentation does not translate the names.
What about you? What is your native language and how do you feel about learning in it?

Top comments (55)

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keptoman profile image
mlaj

Native french speaker here.

Programming in French is horrible, since every programming language are written in English. We've had many problems at work with Rails auto-pluralize because of French words that look like English words.

I was forced to program in French on school, and I switched to English as soon as I could. Some government agencies here are still forcing employees to code in French tho.

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arberbr profile image
Arber Braja

Whenever i find code commented or with function names, variables written in different language then English i curse the developer :p

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gablaroche profile image
Gabriel Laroche

Yeah, coding in french is truly horrible (also had to code in french at school) but I feel like sometimes, some concepts are easier to understand when they are in french. But I will never code in french ever again.

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daviddalbusco profile image
David Dal Busco

I'm agree with you. Coding in french just burns my eyes from the inside 🔥

Fun fact, when I jump into a french car I often ask my self "did the car manufacturer developers coded some stuffs in french here?" like:

const signophiles: boolean = true;
if (signophiles) {
   this.tableauDeBord.lumiere = 'orange';
}

🤣

On the other side, reading a technical book where the explanation are provided in French makes it faster and easier to understand for me.

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keptoman profile image
mlaj

On a fait la même technique, a la même école!

On s'habitue vite en anglais a force de travailler a tous les jours 😊

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gablaroche profile image
Gabriel Laroche

Malade! c'est sûr qu'on s'habitue vite! C'est juste que des fois, c'est un peu plus facile de lire de la doc compliqué en français.

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fultonbrowne profile image
Fulton Browne

as a english speaker, what does french code look like?

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gablaroche profile image
Gabriel Laroche • Edited

For example
getUserData();
would look something like :
chercherInformationDeLutilisateur();
Basically, everything is just way longer.

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lukegarrigan profile image
Luke Garrigan

I’m English so my comment will add absolutely 0 value. Just wanted to say you’re all bloody amazing learning English and coding in English, I struggle enough myself without it not being my native tongue.👏👏👏

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Ninso00

English all the way for me! Reading in my language (Slovak) would get me absolutely nowhere, even our teachers here give us english books. No-one bothers to translate and by the time they do, the technology might as well be out of date (Says allot about my country, no-one cares here, people just go with the flow).

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Jérôme Gamez

I don‘t want to contradict you, but looking back I wish the publishers (books, movies, sitcoms, etc.) in Germany hadn’t translated almost everything into German.

Had it been like I perceive it to be e.g. in the Netherlands, where I’ve seen most movies and sitcoms in English with subtitles, I think my English would have gotten better sooner.

So, even if a country doesn’t care, I believe it is good in the long run, because you get closer to English faster.

Well, at least as long as Mandarin doesn’t take over the spot of being the predominant world language 😅

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simonebogni profile image
simonebogni

Same for Italy, that's also one of the reasons why we are soooo bad at English. Plus, after starting to watch all the movies in their original language, I must say that that it's really terrible to watch one where the language spoken doesn't match the lips movement of the actors 😅

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mnlwldr profile image
manuel

Same for the Scandinavian countries. I like it.

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alexisbenamar profile image
Alexis Benamar • Edited

I find that native language can be useful when learning at an early stage, elaborating ideas and/or writing pseudocode, as it can faciliate the understanding.

But when it comes to programming (for development or production environments), English should be the standard choice, as the tool we use are built with it and some language could mess things up.

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Davide Bellone

Well, at the very beginning I think that native language can be a good choice. But most of the tech jargon is in English, so for "real" projects it's best to use this language.
For simple test projects (just to try a library or a functionality) I prefer my native language (Italian), since I don't have to think about reasonable names.

However a

public class Prova {
public void FaiQualcosa(){}
}

is fine for me, because it makes obvious that the code is not meant to be used in real life.

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vhoyer profile image
Vinícius Hoyer

Learning and coding in portugues (which is my native language) feels wrong to me. Personally I hate having to write mixed languages like:

const opcaoHabilitada = true
if (opcaoHabilitada) {
  console.log('goto hell')
}
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

It's so much strange reading in my head "if (Opção Habilitada)". not to mention I can't use the right accents and signals and stuff you append to letters like "ç" and "ã". Not only it feels wrong, but I'm also writing wrong portuguese, which gets on my gears gets on my gears meme

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joaoiacillo profile image
João Iacillo

Programação em português é horrível mesmo. Sempre fiz em inglês e quando vejo a mistura inglês + português nos codigos parece que estou lendo um amálgamo. É super estranho

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andres profile image
Andrés Pérez

I'm a native Spanish speaker and I cannot stand most technical stuff in my language. Not only I find English resources to have a higher quality, but also the Spanglish mix that some code bases are, makes me cringe.

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ravavyr profile image
Ravavyr

I've thought about this in the past and wondered if i was alone in this. Turns out most of us feel like English is the best language for code.
I'd try writing in my native language [Papiamento], but then only half a million people on the planet would be able to read it lol :)

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schmitzel76 profile image
Patrick Schmitz

My native language is Dutch but learning technical subject in my native language can be quite annoying. Most of the terminology used online is English. To understand what you are reading in Dutch, you often have to translate terminology to English in your head. Same as with other tools, like Photoshop, which I just cannot use in Dutch as the Dutch translation simply doesn't click with me.

Using English terminology is also beneficial when looking for help or information online. Most of what you will find is in English anyway.

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arvigeus profile image
Nikolay Stoynov

This is the reason I never set the language to my native on any software I use. Translation tend to be confusing, and it's nearly impossible to google any errors.

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Omar Bahareth

I'm a native Arabic speaker and learning in Arabic is very difficult for me, especially because most written content is written in MSA (Modern Standard Arabic) and most Arabs don't speak or write it in their day lives, it sets a very formal tone and I prefer learning in a more casual way. My reading speed in English has gotten much faster than Arabic due to reading docs/programming throughout most of my career (as well as the occasional sci-fi/fantasy book), so that's another factor.

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raymag profile image
Carlos Magno

Well, I am kinda like you. I am a native portguese speaker and although I am far away from being fluent in english I feel way more comfortable with English than with Portuguese. It's easier to find English content and I like the flow of the language.

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raymag profile image
Carlos Magno

Also, you have to use accents (à,á,â,ã...) in Portuguese and that sucks. So programming and looking for content in English is way more comfortable for me.

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arberbr profile image
Arber Braja

If you mean reading and learning regarding programming topics, i can speak well italian and english, almost on the same level but whenever im watching tutorials or reading programming related topics, always prefer English.

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David Pérez-Suárez • Edited

This is a big question. I'm part of a team that is translating the software- and data-carpentry lessons into Spanish and other languages. I'm Spanish and code in English since a very long time, as probably almost everyone who is a member of this community[1]. However, I still think the translation of that material is very important. Many have asked us why to "waste" our time with such translations, suggesting, as many of the people commenting here, that "real" code should be written in English. These courses are aimed at young researchers, normally when they are starting their PhD. If we can do anything to ease their path to get used to the tools that will make their life easier while producing a more sustainable software that helps to open science and replicability, then why wait till they learn English, or why to enforce them to learn the hard way the tools while they don't know English?

I would prefer to read and work with a code in Finnish that's readable than having something bad in English. The problem becomes when there is no consistency and a mix of languages, then you don't know whether the abbreviations used by the previous developer are in one or the other.

[1] Maybe you would get a very different result if you survey this on non-English universities and/or companies.

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Cécile Lebleu

I’m native Spanish speaker, then French, and then English.
I learned Spanish and French before I was 4 years old, and then English (on my own with video games) by the time I was...12-14.

And I must say computers only make sense in English. You say “ratón” and I’ll be like “what the heck are you talking about”. Not joking. And French even less so.

Even if the best course or book ever made about something technology I’m learning was made in Spanish or French, I’d rather chug 10 courses in English than have to suffer through one in ES/FR.

I remember my teachers in high school trying to explain how to use excel in French, while I was playing with code when they turned away. It was horrible but fun. I would change the language of the library computers back to English (and then get into trouble for it because I was one of the very few nerds who actually went to the library during recess, let alone to use the computers).

I’m just very glad now that I don’t have to ever think about technology in anything that’s not English.

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carlospaz2084 profile image
Carlos

I'm a native Spanish speaker like you. I also speak English but I've been using it on every day basis since almost 5 years ago (I'm currently 41), and like you, programming using Spanish words seems odd. I think it has to do with the languages and documentation as well. Programming is a very english-ish world.