Questions tagged [language]

Questions concerning the language (e.g., English, French, German, Chinese) of academic publications, presentations, transcripts, or other documents. For questions on style, use 'writing-style' instead.

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42
votes
4answers
3k views

How to find ways to proofread English in papers

As a non-native speaker of English, it can often be hard to spot some of the errors that a native speaker would find. For a long time, I've been thinking about getting a native speaker to help me with ...
13
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4answers
83k views

How to cite sources written in a different language than English?

Assume one wants to cite a paper written in a different language than the article citing said paper (e.g., ones own article is written in English, but the source is French). How to properly handle ...
61
votes
2answers
18k views

In what tense (present/past) should papers be written?

That is, should it be present tense or past tense? Should there be a difference between the abstract, main body and the conclusion? Does the field of publication have any impact?
26
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2answers
9k views

How should references in non-Latin script language be treated in English paper?

Let's say I want to cite a Russian text in my own paper which is written in English. Should I: reference it as is, in the original Cyrillic alphabet, although the readers won't be able even to ...
35
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7answers
1k views

Resources on how to overcome writer's block, especially for non-native English speakers?

One of the issues we have at my English-language institute is the problem of getting our doctoral students to write papers in English. For some, writing isn't a big challenge. For others, however, the ...
45
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5answers
3k views

Writing papers in language X and translating to English vs. writing papers in English to begin with?

I'm working with a group in China, and we were discussing the following question, which I would like to ask here too: Question: Is it better to write a paper in Chinese, then translate it into ...
36
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6answers
5k views

Special (non-english) character in name. What to do as author? Internationalize or not?

In German, as well as in other languages, people have Non-English characters in their names. e.g. ß, the umlauts etc.. I frequently face problems when flying, opening bank accounts, etc., ...
26
votes
7answers
2k views

Do PhD courses in engineering fields in European non-English speaking countries require knowledge of the native language?

Can a Ph.D. student who only knows how to speak English study in a European non-English speaking country (e.g., Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, etc.) without any problems? Does applying to ...
83
votes
11answers
36k views

Can I, as a reviewer, tell authors to get a native English speaker to proofread their paper?

I am reviewing a paper for possible publication in a respected journal. The English in the paper is very poor. The authors are clearly not native English speakers. I want to write something to the ...
37
votes
3answers
3k views

Dealing with listening/talking to researchers with difficult accents

Often, when speaking English in research, you can find a great variety of (mostly, non-native) accents. Since I started moving in academic circles and a more international environment, I slowly ...
55
votes
6answers
18k views

How should I interpret “English is poor” review when I used a language check service before submission?

Recently I submitted a manuscript to an international journal. It was accepted with a minor revision, but I am worried about the reviewers’ comments. The first reviewer commented that the paper is ...
74
votes
3answers
12k views

How should I handle poor English in reviewing an article that claims to be proofread by two native English speakers?

I was asked to review an article written by non-native English speakers. I had never seen this before, but the manuscript includes a link to a certificate from a website called Textcheck that says: ...
24
votes
10answers
5k views

Is it possible to study in China without knowing Chinese?

Is it possible to enroll into and complete a graduate school in China while having only English language skills, without speaking Chinese at all? In particular, I am interested in (theoretical) ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

What tense should paper titles use?

I have recently noticed that the tense of paper titles can be somewhat odd. This previous question, In what tense (present/past) should papers be written?, has some great information but it doesn't ...
29
votes
1answer
2k views

Should diacritics be kept when citing a paper written in an abundant diacritics Latin-based script language?

Diacritics, or tone marks (as what they're called in my language), are symbols added to letters to change their sound. For example, diacritics for the letter a in my language can be ă, â, à, á, ả, ã, ...
20
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10answers
4k views

How to ignore a presenter's bad english?

I recently attended an average international conference in Computer Science. This was the first time I actually attended an international conference. The level of English that I heard during the ...
44
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6answers
8k views

Is it appropriate to cite a paper in a language I don't understand?

Some months back I got into a situation where a paper with information that I considered important to prove a point was in a language I cannot understand. Since it was important but not crucial, I ...
19
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3answers
2k views

Is there such a thing called native speaker bias when publishing?

This has been a subject that has occupied my thoughts for the past years but haven't really managed to formulate it completely for myself. I have this feeling (and I can't say it's more than a feeling ...
17
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4answers
4k views

Can I submit the same article, which is written in two different languages, to two different journals simultaneously?

I have written an article in Persian and then translated it into English. Is it possible to send them to two different journals (one in Iran and the other one in Belgium)?
10
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3answers
1k views

Do non-English papers/publications have value in a CV which is going to be sent to an English company/university?

Some of the students are doing research in another language than English because they are living and studying in a non-English speaking country; they may be doing research in their mother-tongue ...
7
votes
3answers
547 views

Is hiring a proofreader beneficial in the long term?

I am an Early Stage Researcher in a bigger project. I am non-native speaker of English and I find my level of English in my articles not satisfactory, especially when I consider that it is not just my ...
63
votes
8answers
15k views

Why are there so many papers written in bad English?

I am pretty sure that anyone who has spent some time reading academic papers have come across quite a few "lemons" among them, with bad grammar, strange word choices and incoherent sentences. Such ...
35
votes
6answers
7k views

What to do when no one speaks English around you?

Often when I attend conferences and meetings, there are some social activities sometimes specifically for graduate students to mix with each other and get to know other students and build possible ...
33
votes
3answers
6k views

Is it normal that journals strongly suggest a professional English editing service?

It is quite common for me to receive emails from the editors of a journal asking me, before or after the referees have given their approval, to review and improve my English. Then, the editor suggests ...
65
votes
18answers
11k views

As an international instructor, should I openly talk about my accent?

I'm an international, teaching at an American university, and I have an accent, which can be strong at times. I'm working hard at it, have always been, but still, the accent is there. This has never ...
35
votes
7answers
11k views

A lecturer is hard to understand, what to do?

I have a lecturer at university that I find very hard to understand. My lectures are taught in English, but my lecturer is of East Asian origin, and English is not his first language. I find the ...
21
votes
10answers
5k views

Is it ever appropriate to correct a non-native teacher's English?

Four of my Japanese teachers are, as you would expect, Japanese, and they all speak English fluently. But now and then, there will of course be slip ups: I often see small grammatical errors in one ...
21
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5answers
3k views

Is it a good idea for a nonnative English speaker to have native speakers help make the English in statement of purpose perfect?

I am applying to doctoral programs in the US. Since I am not an English native speaker, I am wondering if it is okay to have native speakers help make my English perfect in my statement of purpose? ...
33
votes
10answers
10k views

Why do universities require international students to show language proficiency?

For example, Let's say an American person wants to attend a French university F. F explicitly states that French is the main language of instruction. Why would they require the student to take a ...
24
votes
7answers
2k views

Are there some fields where having skills in a language other than English is necessary to perform research at an international level?

When I went to college, an old-schooled teacher of mine insisted that, because I was interested in chemistry, I needed to work on my German as it was the lingua franca of that trade. It turns out, ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Junior professorship (W1) in Germany without full German proficiency

I am a Computer Science PhD student aiming for an Academic career. One of the options I am considering after I receive the degree is to apply for a W1 professor position in Germany (Junior professor). ...
10
votes
4answers
578 views

Names in my language used in publications are inconsistant. Should I worry about it?

In my language, name structure are different to Western names, and they have a lot of diacritics. To make it less confusing and easier to use for international work, we usually "transliterate" it to a ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Pointing out language mistakes in a review

In one of the reviews I received from a journal on a paper I sent there, there was a complaint that the paper contained a lot of language mistakes, so serious, that they change meaning of phrases. But ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

Would it be ethical to hire a proofreader for theses and academic articles?

Proofreading documents for orthography is a pain. I consider that I am decent at writing in my native language (on the grammar and orthography side), but proofreading for typos and whatnots is a time-...
16
votes
7answers
7k views

Isn't English the common academic language?

In a question about university ranking, many people mentioned that language is a privilege for better ranking of English speaking countries. Isn't a decent fluency in English the requirement for ...
8
votes
2answers
435 views

Should I put my papers which are not written in English on my social-media profile?

Is it OK to put my non English internal conference or journal paper on my social media profiles such as Google Scholar, Academia, Research Gate, etc? and also, should I translate their title and other ...
7
votes
1answer
443 views

Should references in foreign language be translated to make popular audience get familiar with how academia works?

Typically, references in foreign language are cited with title and journal name in original language, whether they are academic or popular science books. As pointed out in this answer, popular science ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What should I do if, after choosing a Master Thesis topic, I find an existing thesis on it in another language?

I picked a very unique topic for my Masters Thesis, only to find out that there is a Dissertation on the same topic, from 2008, in French. No other books have been published on this topic. Ugh... I ...
4
votes
1answer
312 views

Should we tell students they need to improve their English?

As an instructor or teaching assistant for a graduate class at a top institution, is it okay to tell students (e.g. in homework feedback) that they need to improve their English? What's the best way ...
3
votes
1answer
200 views

Reference formulas in non-English text books

In a mathematical paper, is it wise to refer to formulas in a non-English (here: German) text book, under the conditions that: the text book is standard in its language region all English text books ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

How to prove that papers were presented when conference programs are not in English?

In preparing my application to PhD programs I have the following question: I have presented papers in two distinct large-scale local conferences. However, I am not sure how to list these on my CV in ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Mathematics Ph.D program foreign language requirement

I will soon be attending a Ph.D program in mathematics. I do not know how common this practice is, but the department has a requirement that graduate students must learn a foreign language and be able ...
7
votes
1answer
276 views

How should English reference be cited in a non-English work?

According to the Chicago Manual Style 16 edition, section 14.194 Translated Article Titles, non-English article cited in an English work follows this formula: Authors, "Original title," [...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

How to answer a professor asking “what your masters work is about?” when my thesis is not in English?

I have contacted a professor, looking for a PhD position. He replied that my field is so near to his research field, and to consider my application; he needs to know more about my masters thesis. I ...
1
vote
2answers
870 views

Possible causes of confusion and mistakes in technical terminology in bilingual settings [closed]

Disclaimer: This question is probably on the brink of off-topicness; maybe, it is also opinion-based and I don't exclude it is way too broad. Nonetheless, I'm asking this out of curiosity: so, if you ...