David has already raised the issue of real comments with spammy URLs, and that’s something to deal with in its own right, but what I often find is comments left in another language (sometimes including a link) which I have to debate what to do with.
What can you do with comments left in a language that differs from you and your blog’s native tongue? Here are three ideas.
Delete the comment outright
This seems a little unfair, though it could be argued that if someone is genuinely leaving a comment on your blog (and has therefore understood the blog post well enough to leave an informed response) then they should be able to leave the comment in the same language.
However, the visitor may have used an automatic translation service to read your article and yet feels more comfortable leaving a comment in their own language.
They may be able to read and understand the language you use but find it hard to write in that language.
Simply deleting the comment outright may save you time but it could potentially alienate one of your visitors, and who knows how influential that person might be?
You could add this as part of the comment policy for your blog, of course, but it could still be perceived as a snub.
Translate and leave comment in original language
If you’re fortunate enough to speak the same language as the person who commented, or are happy to trust an automatic translation tool such as Google Translate, you can check to ensure that the comment is relevant to the entry and that the link doesn’t lead to a spam site.
Doing an automatic translation may miss some nuances, but you should get the overall flavor of the comment and be able to work out whether it’s a keeper.
Translate and publish a translation
As above, but instead of simply checking out the comment for your own peace of mind, publish a translation (either verbatim, paraphrase, or summary) in the primary language of the blog.
This is done more for the benefit of your other visitors, but be particularly careful with automatic translations because you may well miss nuances or find that some words (especially “slang” for that particular language) are incorrectly translated or not translated at all.
If you receive a large amount of traffic from a particular region where another language is predominantly spoken, it might be worth investigating partnering with someone who speaks that language to handle comment moderation for you.
The admin involved in dealing with comments can be fairly high, whatever language they’re left in.
I don’t have statistics for how much spam is left in other languages, or whether spammers are deliberately using non-English languages to try to fool automated spam filters and human detection, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised.
At the end of the day, it’s your blog and you can choose how to handle the comments you receive. However, I’d recommend making some effort to check them out rather than simply purging them.
What’s your strategy for handling comments left in other languages?