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This question is for anyone who has learned programming in a Spanish speaking country.

Seeing as though the key words for programming languages like Java, C, Python etc are all in English I have a couple of questions:

  • Do courses in Spanish speaking countries expect some knowledge of English as a prerequisite?
  • Do they teach you what English keywords mean?
  • Are you taught to use English names for variables, classes, methods etc or Spanish ones (Confusing?!)?
  • Lastly, can you get/do you use, things like Javadocs in Spanish?

Thanks = )

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Related: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/13664/… –  Flimzy Feb 16 '12 at 7:44

7 Answers 7

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Keywords aren't changed and their meaning is explained. But almost everything else is in Spanish, because concepts are taught in Spanish and have their own Spanish terminology, and exercises reflect that. I mean, if the lesson was about trees or stacks, it would be taught in terms of "árboles" and "pilas", and the programs would have their classes "Arbol", "Nodo" and "Pila".

And the comments would also be in Spanish, because nobody is testing your English (neither you the teacher's!) but whether you understand what the code does and can explain it.

In a professional setting, I think, English is more prevalent. Especially now, when international teams are more common. When I last worked in a Spanish-speaking firm, some 10 years ago, we did almost everything is Spanish.

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Añadiría que el Inglés no es un pre-requisito para estudiar programación, que los lenguajes mantienen sus palabras reservadas, etc. en Inglés, y que usualmente no te enseñan la traducción de una palabra o comando, sino para qué sirve y cómo se usa. Por ejemplo, si tu primer lenguaje es pascal, te enseñan que debes encerrar los bloques de código en begin / end y ya, y no cuál es la traducción de begin o de end. Lo mismo para if / then / else, while, for, repeat, y una larga lista de etcéteras. –  jachguate Oct 28 '12 at 20:58
    
I should add that one upside of using identifiers for variables, functions, etc in Spanish was that you could identify at a glance which was your function and which was the system's or third party libraries. Also name collisions were less likely. –  deStrangis Mar 28 at 11:02

I'm a Mexican telecommunications engineer, and here's how it went for me:

Do courses in Spanish speaking countries expect some knowledge of English as a prerequisite?

Usually not, but it's a very good idea to start with some cursory knowledge of English.

Do they teach you what English keywords mean?

They usually do, but it depends entirely on how kind is the instructor.

Are you taught to use English names for variables, classes, methods etc or Spanish ones (Confusing?!)?

Again, this depends on the instructor. Back in college some professors used variables in Spanish, and some used them in English. As long as your tongue choice is always consistent you should have no trouble.

Lastly, can you get/do you use, things like Javadocs in Spanish?

Usually only for basic stuff. In fact, a lot of Mexican engineering students struggle because all the documentations and manuals are in English only and they don't speak English.

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This is an old question, but still relevant I think, and I just came across it today.

Do courses in Spanish speaking countries expect some knowledge of English as a prerequisite?
Most other answers here say you don't need to know English as a prerequisite. Although I'm sure it varies widely from university to university, at my university, UNED in Spain, they do expect you to have some level of English. Here it says

Es deseable un nivel básico/intermedio del idioma inglés. Especialmente la comprensión lectora del inglés permitirá el manejo de la abundante bibliografía existente en esta lengua. El alumno podrá encontrar algunas asignaturas con libros en inglés.

I had a couple classes where the textbook was in English. And on more than one occasion a professor gave additional material, or what have you, in English and the students were expected to be able to comprehend it. As a native English speaker, I had no problem with it, but there were others who complained about it.

Do they teach you what English keywords mean?
In my experience they do not teach you what the keywords mean, but rather how to use them. However, most are basic enough to look up in a dictionary and have a good understanding.

Are you taught to use English names for variables, classes, methods etc or Spanish ones (Confusing?!)?
We weren't really taught anything in regard to this. I'd say most just used Spanish for variable names, classes, methods, and for comments. I used English variables, classes, and methods, but comments in Spanish (for school work). I did ask my professors on a couple of times, and they usually all said that the way I did it was fine and probably preferred, since you'll find English in the "real world" more often than programs written in Spanish. I just find it easier and more natural to use English for variables, classes, and methods because all the other keywords are English. Also you come across issues like pluralizing variables and other things that I can't remember right know where English seems a little more convenient.

Lastly, can you get/do you use, things like Javadocs in Spanish?
Not sure if you can get it in Spanish. However, my recommendation would be to use the English. Even if you're not comfortable in English at first, force yourself. A lot of the same words and phrases are reused in lots of different situations, and pretty soon you'll find it easier. Then you'll have the added benefit of access to all the tutorials and example in English, which is a pretty big deal.

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En la cujae cuba teniamos libros de asignaturas en ingles, incluso tuvimos dos semetres de ingles tecnico –  Emilio Gort Mar 10 at 21:47

This is from a long time ago. After I learned to program in ANSII Basic I once started reading a book called "Basic in Spanish" I threw it away the very first day since it didn't make sense to relearn every single keyword in Spanish.

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I learned to program in Spanish, in Peru.

Do courses in Spanish speaking countries expect some knowledge of English as a prerequisite?

No, they don't expect you to know english. I'm very sure on this point. Sometimes even teachers don't know english. On the other hand, most people can read documentation in english, sometimes with the help of google translator (which is very good for technical stuff). The best programmer at my work don't know english and he has more than 16 years of experience. Sure, he knows the meaning of a lot of words.

Do they teach you what English keywords mean?

I learned by reading magazines about programming written in spanish (This kind of magazines were very popular in the 90s). They don't mention the translation but explain the use and give examples ("IF sirve para expresar sentencias condicionales"). I give lectures on "Scientific programming" (MATLAB and R) and I do mention the meaning of english words, but just the first time.

Are you taught to use English names for variables, classes, methods etc or Spanish ones (Confusing?!)?

For work, I use names in spanish and comments in english. I think is a bit confusing if you share the code with non-spanish speakers, I'm trying to improve that for lots of reasons, particularly because I don't like to avoid "tildes". Also, I'm using Java for my PhD and my advisor does the oposite: variables/methods/classes in english, comments in french (she's french). For lectures, I use variables and function/methods names and comments in spanish cause knowledge of english is not a requisite to learn programming (and for most people programming it's hard enough).

Lastly, can you get/do you use, things like Javadocs in Spanish?

I learned java a couple of years ago using books in spanish. There are very good documentation in spanish to learn for most programming languages. But when looking for help in internet, It's almost sure it will be in english. Now I prefer to use documentation in english, but mostly because I really want to improve my english. As a final remark, all students who do interships at my lab are encoraged to learn english and we provide them documentation in english, despite there are good translations in Spanish.

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How it looks in Spain:

Do courses in Spanish speaking countries expect some knowledge of English as a prerequisite?

Not in Spain. Obviously it's a plus if someone can, but most people don't understand English and it's not a requirement. All of terminology is translated.

Do they teach you what English keywords mean?

They teach what they mean in programming, usually not what the word would mean in casual English.

Are you taught to use English names for variables, classes, methods etc or Spanish ones Lastly, can you get/do you use, things like Javadocs in Spanish?

This depends of the level on which you're studding. If it's B.Sc. or just a programming course, then they will teach you to have everything in Spanish. If you're studding Ph.D. and in some M.Sc., they will teach you to have everything in English, as you're expected to present some of your work on international conferences.

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Yes, I think conferences are one of the main reasons to shift to "all in english"... –  Ricardo Jan 16 '12 at 21:41

I learned programming in French. Since French is of the same root it is fair to assume it is the same in Spanish. I followed programming courses in highschool in my native country as well (Colombia, where spanish is spoken) and it was the same as in France.

Do courses in Spanish speaking countries expect some knowledge of English as a prerequisite?

Yes they usually do. If you don't have english proficiency or at least some basic knowledge you won't have access to most internet based resources for that programming language. Most importantly the documentation that is not always translated into spanish. Of course there are some exceptions in which they use a spanish tutorial book and that's all they need, but those, as said, are exceptions.

Do they teach you what English keywords mean?

In my case sometimes they did, even if we already knew english. They would only teach the meaning if it is really relevant to the method or procedure it is referring to. For instance the method String.isNullOrEmpty().

Are you taught to use English names for variables, classes, methods etc or Spanish ones (Confusing?!)?

In my case I wasn't taught anything about it. That I had freedom to choose Spanish or english (or French) as long as I stick with it throughout the program. It is not confusing since the program would be for Spanish-speaking programmers. Specially if the keywords are highlighted in different colors as the methods and variables (in most languages and editors anyway). Blue for public, private, static, void, string, int, etc... and black for names made by you.

Lastly, can you get/do you use, things like Javadocs in Spanish?

Depends, if what you are looking for is easy to find then spanish, or more complicated in english. There are more chances of finding it in english than in spanish. In the case of JavaDoc, for making a custom documentation it depends on the public that will read it. Spanish for spanish speakers and english for all others. As for the standard documentation I'm not sure if there is such a documentation in spanish for java.

As a last note, all these are personal thoughts based on personal experiences. I am not talking for all cases and don't pretend to either. Keep in mind that this greatly depends on the teaching style of the institution and the skills of the students, sometimes the students will have only a rudimentary knowledge of english and english classes are given separately to fix this, but while that is done everything related to programming is done in their native language(as it happens in France)

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I disagree, because English is not always a prerequisite. Of course it is desirable and a plus, but definitely is not a prerequisite. –  jachguate Oct 28 '12 at 21:03
    
@jachguate As I said, it is usually a prerequisite. Of course not always I cannot speak for everyone. I spoke based on experience. Read the last note in my answer. :-) –  Joze Nov 13 '12 at 13:13

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