Introducing Non-English Chatrooms for Scala Users

Tuesday 9 January 2018

Jon Pretty

I attend a lot of conferences around the world, and usually all the talks and most of the communication among attendees happens in English. It has become (if you’ll excuse the irony) the lingua franca of the Scala community, and the wider software industry, even though speakers of English as a first language are a minority.

There are, however, many users and potential users of Scala who either do not speak English, or do not have the confidence to communicate in public forums in English, and the expectation that English be a prerequisite to becoming an effective Scala programmer disproportionately handicaps many minority groups from countries outside the USA and the rest of the English-speaking world.

So I was surprised to discover that for most non-English languages, there were no online communities where people could ask questions in their native tongue. And so, it took very little effort to create several channels on Gitter dedicated to talking about Scala in a variety of non-English languages:

  • - Arabic
  • scala/cn — Chinese
  • scala/fr — French
  • — German
  • — Portuguese
  • — Spanish

By the time you read this, the list may already have grown longer. See the Community page for a current list.

We encourage any speakers of these languages to join one of these groups, but after just a few days online, some of these channels are attracting a lot of activity. Should demand exist for other language groups with a significant number of speakers, we would be happy to facilitate these by creating new channels as necessary. Please get in touch with me, Jon Pretty, if you would like to suggest a new channel.

We do not anticipate English losing its primacy as the common language of the Scala community any time soon, but we see this as an important entry-point for non-English speakers to start their journeys with Scala, without the distraction of having to learn a new natural language at the same time. Lowering the barriers to entry—whether they be linguistic, social or cultural—is important, and we want to do everything we can to make it easier for people to feel like they are “a part of the group”, and encourage more participation!