Is it ok to use profanity on your website?

It's a question with no easy answer. While some believe that profanity has no place on a website, others see it as perfectly acceptable (or even necessary) in certain situations.

Most people curse at some point in their lives, whether it’s in response to sudden pain or because they’ve dropped something. There are even studies that show cursing can be beneficial, providing relief from pain and stress.

While there may be benefits to cursing, you may not want to use profanity on your website. After all, you want your site to appeal to as many people as possible, and using foul language could alienate some visitors.

Let’s take a look at why people curse, the language with the most curse words in its dictionary, and whether you should use curse words on your site. We’ll also give you some tips on how to translate curse words if you do decide to use them.

Why do people curse?

People have been cursing since the 15th century and there are a few theories about why we do it:

  • To express strong emotions like anger or frustration
  • As a way of bonding with others who share our passion for certain activities (think sports fans)
  • To attract attention or get laughs from others

Whatever the reason behind it, one thing is for sure – people enjoy swearing! In fact, according to research by psychologist Timothy Jay, we say bad words an average of 0.5% of the time when we speak – that’s once every 200 words.

What is the language with the most curse words in the dictionary?

The language with the most swearwords in its dictionary… is English!

Out of all languages English has the largest vocabulary when it comes to profanity. This might come as a surprise considering other languages seem to have more colourful swearwords (we're looking at you, Spanish), but English has over 200 ways to tell someone where they can go – and that's just including variations of “fuck". Add in phrases like “shit happens" and "holy shit", and suddenly 200 doesn't seem like so many...

Should I use profanity on my website?

That’s a decision only you can make, but we recommend considering the following:

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. What kind of image do you want for your brand?
  3. How will using profanity affect your search engine optimization (SEO)?

If you decide not to use swear words on your website, that doesn't mean you have to avoid them altogether. You can still use them in social media posts, blog comments, and even brochures or billboards.

How do I translate profanity into other languages?

If you’re targeting a global audience with your website or app, then you may need to translate some profanity into other languages. Unsurprisingly, this can be quite tricky as different cultures have varying attitudes towards swearing.

For example, what might be seen as playful banter in one country could offend another.
It's important to consider local customs and norms when translating curse words - otherwise, you risk alienating or offending your users.

Here are some guidelines for translating profanity:

  • Keep it cheap and cheerful: steer clear of four-letter words that are considered particularly offensive In most cases you'll want to pick milder alternatives where possible.
  • When in doubt translate literally: this will at least give readers context for the word.
  • Err on the side of caution: it's better to tone down a curse word than amplify its power.
  • Use asterisks or dashes to obscure letters: e.g., “f*ck" or " f--k".
We hope this post has given you some food for thought on whether to use curse words on your website. Remember, there's no right or wrong answer – it all depends on your brand identity and target audience. If you do decide to use profanity, just be sure to translate it carefully so as not to offend anyone!

Dilingual can help you translate your website automatically and quickly, as well as review and edit translations manually to avoid any potential embarrassment 😉.

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