Is seems very common task nowadays to translate some texts (technical, fiction, and others) from English to other languages and vice versa. I looked at the list of current SE sites including Area 51, and I don't know which site to choose without a risk of being blamed in off-topic.

For example, the English language and usage site says it is not for "Translation and non-English languages" (FAQ). So it looks like I should create new proposal on Area 51, but looking at this site I see many suggested sites for specific languages, including, for example, German Language & Usage, which is intended for translation queries as well. I think all language sites should have the same policy, so, which one is correct? Either German (and other language) sites should not address requests for translations, or the English site should be extended to accept such requests.

Also I'm not sure which question can be considered as a translation request. For example, I have a very hard to understand English sentence. Is it normal to ask to explain it in English (English-to-English translation) on the "English language and usage"?

I thought about creating a proposal of a dedicated translation site on Area 51, something like Cucumis (which sucks and really needs to be transformed into something like an SE site). But the problem is that Area 51 does already contain a lot of proposals related to translation itself. For example, there is the Translation Tools site. I think it's not a good idea to have numerous sites for very similar matter. So it could be possibly more appropriate to extend the "Translation Tools" into more wide "Translation" topic, but I'm not sure if this is possible at all (technically and procedurally).

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    I think all language sites should have the same policy, so, which one is correct? not necessarily. Each community has relatively broad freedoms to define what they deem on-topic and what they don't.
    – Pekka
    Mar 11, 2013 at 17:47
  • @Pekka웃, this is very unfriendly for a single user who, for example, needs to translate English and German texts. If "English usage" and "German usage" sites will really have different rules this will become a nightmare for the user. I think language specific sites should have the same rules, because they are basically about the same topic, but in different languages.
    – Stan
    Mar 11, 2013 at 17:51
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    English Language Learners?
    – juergen d
    Mar 11, 2013 at 17:51
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    @Stan maybe, but different communities have a different evolution and run into different problems, nothing we can do about that. Pure translation requests are a slippery slope anyway - they're dangerously close to code requests on Stack Overflow, Recipe requests on cooking.SE, and shopping questions in general. Not saying they aren't legitimate questions, but it's not as easy as it looks
    – Pekka
    Mar 11, 2013 at 17:58
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    @Stan - how is that a nightmare? I use SO and meta.SO which have different rules and cope just fine.
    – djechlin
    Mar 11, 2013 at 19:15

1 Answer 1


No one speaks all the languages. So what language would this site be in?

Would it still be in English even though it supports French-to-German translation? Would a French speaker necessarily look there? Of course, not, they don't speak English and while with many domains it's arguably (and in the stance of SE) reasonable to expect English to be used, I don't think a similar claim can extend to non-English-to-non-English sites.

So if you're interested in translating French to German, that would go on the appropriate language.se. If neither French or German SE's are interested in a translation question, it means they have rejected it because it doesn't work with their community. And, why is this banned on english.SE? They probably had good reasons that it would behoove you to understand before Area 51-ing it, so take that to their meta.

Are you trying to solve all n^2 combinations of languages to translate? At that point you're back to talking about translation tools, which your research did uncover exists.

In short this seems reasonably well-factored at present. I would see potential for an X-to-English or vice versa SE, but you need to understand why English.SE has been closed to that. If, for instance, it was for the volume of such requests overwhelming the rest of the site, then that would be an indication it could perhaps be supported independently.

  • Thanks for the answer. Currently I'm interested in a human translation because translation tools provide very poor quality. The "Human translation" site could be in ALL languages, as Cucumis does. For example, each question is marked by required language-from and language-to tags (similar to discussion or feature-request here). So every user can only see questions in preferred languages.
    – Stan
    Mar 11, 2013 at 18:06
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    @Stan: that sounds like what we call a "homework" problem on SO. In general, the SE network is a not a Mechanical Turk for various tasks, be it "give me the codez" or "translate this sentence".
    – user7116
    May 10, 2013 at 18:55

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