In this question I quoted several paragraphs of French, and translated it.

Is it always better to quote the original as well as giving the translation? Even if the passage being quoted is quite long (several paragraphs), and if the translation seems unlikely to be contentious?

If so is there a good way to make it easy for most people to visually skip the non-English text? I was wondering about using the "spoiler" markdown to hide it.

1 Answer 1


It's important to give both versions (i.e. including the original non-English version) in an answer, when the answer depends on the exact meaning or exact phrasing: for example here, here, and here.

It's harmless to give both versions, when the phrase being quoted is short (one paragraph or less).

I'm not sure about longer quotes, though. I think the question referenced in the OP would be easier to read, and more attractive, if it were only in English. Unfortunately bad questions are often based on an inaccurate paraphrase of the original claim, and making the translation step explicit might help to reduce the possibility of an inaccurate paraphrase?

  • 1
    Longer quotes are probably bad anyways: the use of [...] can help there.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 9:14
  • +1 - I've had a couple of past experiences on SE (not sure if Skeptics) where I found errors in English translations some of which were meaningful to the answer.
    – user5341
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 20:02

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