Blog Comments

How to handle blog comments left in another language

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.

Getting help

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.

Conclusions

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?

Author: Andy Merrett

13 thoughts on “How to handle blog comments left in another language

  1. In my view, its better to remind the guest to rewrite comment in English. Anyway thanks for share the tips.

  2. We just had a comment that presented us with a combination of the issues you and David discuss. The comment itself wasn’t exactly spam, but didn’t really add much to the conversation either. The kind of comment I would delete if it linked back to something questionable. The comment was in English (the same as our blog) but the linked-to site was in another language, so I don’t know what it says. So far, I’ve let the comment stay. I may try the translation software.

  3. Comments that have sense and related to the topic have a chanced to be accepted by moderator. But if a comment is just a waste and not related to the topic, it’s always deleted by moderator.

  4. I always delete comments that is no connection to the topic. Even if it’s a short comment, I still allow it on my site if I found it something useful.

  5. I declare them as spam. If the person could read my blog in English, in one’s right mind, that person should have left a comment in English too, otherwise, what’s the reason for using another language? And with all the links he/she can paste? I also delete general comments like ‘great post’ especially if it links to a commercial site. What I don’t understand is, why a person would link to google dot com and have a comment like the info was useful when in fact the post was far from instructional. Ahh…spammers! What’s even funny is, the same person will use different names not realizing that the same IP reflects.

  6. If it is something that I know like Ilonggo or Cebuano, then it would be comprehensible. But there is a problem with posting on a different language: You may perceive this as like talking at the back or stabbing at the back.

    Yes, Google Translate may give you a rough translation. Otherwise, seek help from someone who knows the language itself.

    I usually have the moderation for comments first. At least we have to check first what the comments say.

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