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I've heard it said (by coworkers) that everyone "codes in English" regardless of where they're from. I find that difficult to believe, however I wouldn't be surprised if, for most programming languages, the supported character set is relatively narrow.

Have you ever worked in a country where English is not the primary language?

If so, what did their code look like?

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closed as not constructive by Jeff Atwood Sep 26 '11 at 3:14

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It makes sense to name all things code in English to make it more integrated with frameworks not even mentioning the non-latin writing languages (I should find some Cyrillic or Chineese code; that would be interesting). The question is of course: Should it be British or American English? There are parts in .net framework with British spelling while most of it is in American. –  Robert Koritnik Sep 15 '10 at 19:07
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Really? Where is the British spelling? The American English used to annoy me (I'm Australian), but I'm used to it now... –  Damovisa Sep 16 '10 at 2:39
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The problem with questions like these is that people writing English answers to your English question on this English Q&A site are probably not representative of all programmers in non-English-speaking countries. –  Larry Wang Sep 20 '10 at 5:36
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a code sample wonderfl.net/c/iUH0/read –  www0z0k Feb 5 '11 at 14:33
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@Larry Wang: True, Stackoverflow users probably aren't representative. But we work at normal companies with normal coworkers and normal (read: representative) coding rules. So I think the answer's to this question aren't that distorted. –  nikie Feb 5 '11 at 23:33

108 Answers 108

In Czech Republic, the debate is still somewhat alive between three schools of thought:

  • Use English, only 10^7 people speak Czech
  • Use Czech without diacritical marks, not every environment supports them
  • Use Czech with diacritics, yay Unicode!

Since that time I worked in a Dutch company which had most code written under the assumption that "we're all Dutch here, what would we use English for?" (and later expanded across Europe), I've switched to English for everything - code, comments, and metadata. After all, my colleagues have been Czech, Dutch, Bulgarian, French, American, Turkish, Swedish, and Croatian - with English being the common language (after all, the Dutch guy was not happy when we needed him to translate comments every day ;)).

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I usually do everything in English when programming C#, but sometimes we throw in some Spanish or Italian in comments. Some business objects are in Spanish (but always mixed with English for actions and such).

Now, when I’m in Objective-C, I always stick to English. It makes so much sense (in the way the language is structured) that it’s easier to read.

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I am English and have lived and worked in Germany. I nearly always use English unless I can't think what the English term for something is. Then I use a German word.

I have met one or two who insist on only using English ('because it is better') but then spell things incorrectly which can be very bothersome when it makes its way into the API. There have been some compile-issues when using accents (for example, 'Müller') in source code. These have been forbidden.

Team discussion is exclusively in German. Coding is mixed. Most tend towards German names for variables and methods, etc. but will use English when it suits them. What ticks me off is when the English spelling is wrong.

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I'm from Brazil, and in my last job, some guys didn't speak english, so we had to write things in portuguese, but most of the people wrote in english.

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I'm from INDIA and as far as I have noticed all the Indians code in English.

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I have been told by friends the the original SAP database system was codded entirely in German. Once they were bought out however, it was likely this was ported over to English.

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I noticed that is more easy for small groups to maintain an English-only standard. Big, bloated projects tends towards to use a mixed convention (English and Italian in my cases).

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hell yeah from Morocco!
well i'm talking about my case, some people mix between english french and arabic.

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All identifiers are English. They look silly with the English keywords.

Comments are either in English or Dutch, not certain if that good, but the codebase is too big to adapt.

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I'm from Israel, and professional programmers almost always use strictly English. However, sometimes, Hebrew seeps through, for example see PHP's scope operator.

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We ALWAYS code in english. Comments and documentation are written in spanish if the customer really asks for it.

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From my experience here in Germany, most professional programmers (as in capable ones) code in English. In my opinion, variable, function and class names in non-English are just plain ugly. :-)

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Hola soy de Argentina y siempre usamos variables y comentarios en Castellano. En algunos casos los clientes solicitan la documentación en ingles y solo en estos casos se usa otro idioma. Saludos!

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Have a look on this Chinese markup language project site:

http://code.google.com/p/chtml/

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I'am from indonesia, and english is not our primary language, but all of programmers that i know is coding in english including the code comments.

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I'm a Chinese and we write code in English while we write the comments in Chinese.

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Yes. I live in Switzerland and my native language is German.

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personalmente los nombres de las variables/funciones/clases/etc... las escribo en ingles o en un spanglish por ejemplo: getLastComida(); get(en) - Last (en) - Comida(es)

Desde Chile

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