On the blog language

Daniel Abramovici - 2016/02/19

I think it’s fair that my first post in this blog should deal with an issue that is not strictly technical, but affects all technical decisions being made by our engineers. And what better way to start with than language.

Ah, language; the cornerstone of any modern society is also full of treacheries that can make an otherwise fully functional and understanding team to enter unending debates between right and wrong, with no clear victor emerging from all this. And to think this happens in a company based mostly in a single country…

When the Engineering team decided we should start a technical blog, pretty much everyone went aboard with the idea. Being able to share information and participate in the greater community is something we all crave, one way or another. Debates were had on which technology to use, where to host, and to what extent share and they were all agreed upon after some debate.

Except for the blog language.

When someone mentioned this issue, we all went back to a couple of months ago when we were trying to decide the language we should communicate in our code pull requests. Arguments where had and some ended up being quite heated with, in the end, no single solution being chosen. Although we live in Brazil and (currently) all the engineers are from Brazil and speak fluent Portuguese, points were had about discussing in English due to it being closer to the code we write and, therefore, to our daily work. In the end, some decisions were made and slightly followed by the team, but no standards were strictly defined.

Enter the blog. The platform we will use to share technical information and code, not only between ourselves, but with everyone interested in the subject that happens to find this information. And again, the great language debate emerged from the depths of our email inboxes to haunt us.

There were good arguments on both sides. Writing in Portuguese, the first language of everyone in the team, seems more natural. We were born with this language, first learned to write with this language, and live our daily lives in this language. It seems logical to write posts in Portuguese. However, English is the international language. It’s the language we (mostly) work in, it’s the language we ask for help, and it’s the general language of the internet. For this blog to have more reach, using English seems like a natural step.

After some thought, some discussion and a few arguments, we have reached a conclusion. Sort of…

Why don't we have both?

Writing in both languages. Well, almost.

We’ve decided to let the writer decide. Any language that they feel comfortable writing in, they should. After all, those are their ideas and thoughts being written, nothing more fair than letting them be the ones with the final word. And after the post is written, the owner or anyone else that feels like it can make a translation to the post. This way we can maximize the efficiency of the writers, while at the same time, not sacrificing information reach.

Since I was one of the advocates of English as the primary language, I wrote this post in english. And now I patiently await for someone to offer to translate this to Portuguese.


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