I've noticed occasional questions which appear to result from the use of online translation utilities. I see that questions asking specifically how to translate [THIS TEXT] to or from English are OT, but the questions I refer to here are of the form: "Blah blah blah blah was supposed to be translated into English, but I'm not sure it's right. Can you help?" Can I assume that such question are OT as well?

In any case, though, there isn't a radio button specific to the "No translating" proscription in the "flag" dialog. Using "Blatant" seems too ... blatant. Do we use that - or am I overlooking something? Can we consider adding such a "flag" option?

  • By the by, a judgement as "blatantly" off-topic is nowhere shown to the public or the asker. Rather, that's just the stand-in for "otherwise clearly off-topic in a way which only close-voters have the ability to define" (as it takes the place of the write-in custom reason). Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 5:54
  • @NathanTuggy I know. For some reason, though, I always find myself saying: "Well, this isn't really blatant..." And of course we can't have a radio button for every conceivable objection. Commented Jul 26, 2016 at 19:53

2 Answers 2


I think it's like proofreading - there's a big fat gray area. We don't want the site to become a free translation and/or writing service. We want answers to be useful to more than just the person that asked the question, so that we can build up a library of answers catalogued by the questions they answer.

If I ask "is this sentence correct?" (whether it is a translation or just something I wrote), the answer is probably not going to be that useful to other people.

Example of translation questions that only help the translator:
Translated text about Royal Baby

If I say "I wrote this sentence, but I'm not sure if I should write 'your next meeting' or 'the next meeting' - that might be a question that someone else has and could find on the site. Or, if I say "there is this expression in my native language - what is the closest equivalent in English?" and then proceed to explain the phrase in English I think that's useful to other learners as well (even if they don't speak the same language natively that I do).

Example of translation questions that may be helpful to other learners:
French --> English "À leur tour" or
How do you say "patio de vecinos" in English?

I would just flag questions as "should be closed" if you come across one you feel strongly about. At 3000 reputation you should be able to vote to close directly. I usually use the off-topic/other and leave a comment explaining why.


I don't know that they're all OT. I would balk at translating so much as a paragraph (I agree with ColleenV that that would fall under proofreading), but requests for things such as idioms don't bother me.

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