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Incredible as it may seem, this has not been discussed yet. This very old question deals with whether the title should be translated in the question’s body. This one and its follow-up only deal with the language of the actual question’s body. And this one maybe recommends editing to make a question one common language, but also mainly deals with question bodies.

This question is sparked by this one on the main site where the OP insisted on sticking with an English title for a question entirely in German.

In which language should the title of a question be written? Which reasons would there be for using a different language in the question’s title than in the body? Assume monolingual questions only when answering.

  • 2
    interesting question! Would something as trivial as in the language the asker would like the answer in count as an answer? – Burki Nov 16 '15 at 8:14
  • @Burki That’s an interesting thought, because that would mean asking a question in German but using an English title expects English answers. – Jan Nov 17 '15 at 16:35
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The title of a question should always be in the same language as the body of the question.

If the body of a question is bi-lingual (de & en), the title of the question should be in English.


The rationale for this is that English and German are viewed as equal on deSE and thus, only consistency should play a role for choosing a title on mono-lingual questions. This directly follows from the Principle of Least Surprise.

On bi-lingual questions, English should be preferred for the title since it opens an already universally compatible question to the bigger part of the target audience, while not impeding the majority of the other half of the target audience. Sticking to one language in the title greatly helps the readability of the question list.

To further promote the Principle of Least Surprise, we should explore if we should feature-request a special marker for bilingual questions, which maybe can be activated through a tag, and which marks the (english) title to a bi-lingual question as bi-lingual in the question list.

  • I know I said assume monolingual, but you did a good job of addressing all issues imho. Have an upvote. – Jan Nov 15 '15 at 21:24
  • Jan: yeah, oops, sorry :D - @chirlu pointed that out in chat just now. But since bi-lingual Qs would be the natural follow-up question anyways, I think I'll keep the A as it is -- vorauseilender Gehorsam, or something like that. – hiergiltdiestfu Nov 15 '15 at 21:26
  • I agree with »same langauge as body of question« but I disagree with »english if bilingual«. Bilingual questions have two parts: A first part written in one language, followed by a second part written in the other language. I don't see both parts as equal. The second part is the translation of the first, so it is depending on it. The second part is subordinated to the first part. And this is why I think that the title should be written in the language of the first part. In other words: German question with English translation: German title. Engl. question with Germ. translation: Engl. title. – Hubert Schölnast Nov 15 '15 at 22:26
  • @Hubert I see your point. I'm not sure I undestood bi-lingual questions to always have a primary and a secondary language, so it feels kind of too distant from my answer to change it. But maybe you feel inclined to formulate your point as an alternative answer? – hiergiltdiestfu Nov 16 '15 at 14:58

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