Contributing in a language that is not your strongest

Please write sentences that have the most value for everybody. This usually means writing in your native (strongest) language because:

(a) Sentences you write in your native language are most likely to be correct and natural.

(b) When you write in a language that you have identified as your native language in your profile, people are more likely to trust your sentences.

However, you can also write sentences in another language as long as you know it well. If you do, please follow these guidelines so that you don't create more incorrect sentences than others can fix:

(1) Only write sentences in a language you know very well.

(2) Make sure that each sentence you write that is not in your native language is linked to a sentence in your native language. If a translation into your native language doesn't already exist, write one. This will build a bridge between languages. It will also help other members understand the sentences in case they need to be corrected.

(3) Do not use machine translators (such as Google Translate), which often produce bad translations.

(4) Check your non-native sentences regularly to see whether anyone has written comments on them. If they have, fix the sentences before you add new ones. If you see that you've made a lot of mistakes, write fewer sentences and check them more carefully.

(5) Avoid writing lots of similar sentences. For instance, avoid writing sets of more than three sentences where the only difference is in the pronoun:

  • "I went to the beach."
  • "You went to the beach."
  • "He went to the beach."
  • "She went to the beach."

or the verb:

  • "I drove to the beach."
  • "I ran to the beach."
  • "I walked to the beach."
  • "I went to the beach."

and so on. Writing many similar sentences means that you're likely to make the same mistake in all of them (such as spelling "beach" wrong). Even if you don't make mistakes, writing many similar sentences makes the site boring.

(6) Use language that most native speakers consider correct. If 80% of native speakers think a particular usage is wrong, don't use it, even if some people say that it is correct.

(7) Use standard language. Avoid slang, which is hard for a non-native speaker to use correctly.

(8) If you want to add a sentence but are not sure whether it is correct, mark it with a tag and/or a comment:

  • If you're an advanced contributor, add the tag "@needs native check" (not "@NNC" or "NNC"). This will make the sentence appear on a particular page that corpus maintainers check often.

  • If you're not an advanced contributor, consider applying to become one. In the meantime, you can always write a comment on your sentence that says "needs native check".

(9) Consider finding a native speaker to review your sentences, particularly the ones you're not sure about.


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