Yvan Saint-Aubin in the CMS Notes, on behalf of the new bilingualism committee:
Truth be told, writing an elegant, masterful scientific article is possible only when we do so in our mother tongue.
Right. You could tell that to Hoory, Linial and Wigderson, the winners of the 2008 Levi Conant prize for the best expository article in the AMS Bulletin or Notices. Or you could read up on Joseph Conrad, who grew up in Ukraine, Russia and Poland and only became fluent in English in his twenties. Of course, Conrad was only writing fiction, which must be way easier than writing a “masterful” scientific article.
Don’t judge too quickly what others might or might not be capable of.
Update: Emmanuel Kowalski points out in comments that a more accurate translation of the original French would be:
Writing scientific texts elegantly is something that can probably only be done in one’s native language.
Which I still disagree with, but it doesn’t grate like the English version does. I have also removed the sentence that used to be at the top of this post, because I don’t think I would have made good on it.