As very few translations (unless the translator is native) can truly capture the meaning of a foreign phrase or sentence, how should I handle translation edits in the review queue?

This edit prompted this question, which I rejected on the basis that it's not really possible to verify accuracy as the original post was written in German. I understand from the syntactic accuracy of the edit that the editor is most likely either native German or fluent in German, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee its accuracy.

I've seen more severe edits, however, which translate entire posts written in Finnish into English, with the comment passed through google translate or some such.

In general, granted the question should not necessarily be closed, how should these be handled? More specifically:

  • If an edit has been passed through Google Translate (and the editor admits it), should these be rejected?
  • If the edit is syntactically incorrect in English, should it be rejected?
  • If there is any doubt / it cannot be verified that the edit is correct, should it be rejected?
  • If all the above fail, should I approve or reject translation edits?

Edit: I should be clear about another issue: If I let these edits go freely, I know they will be accepted when they are potentially not correct. I have some qualms about letting these pass freely for this reason - the potential spread of misinformation.


  • 3
    It's not an entirely accurate translation, FYI.
    – Bart
    May 2, 2013 at 5:54
  • Interesting. I imagine, then, the author used Google Translate and touched up the grammar, though that's just speculation.
    – user206222
    May 2, 2013 at 5:57

1 Answer 1


If you can't verify the edit, you should skip it. There are enough other users on the review queue that can verify the translation.

  • 3
    Are there? I highly doubt most users frequent the skip button, and I also doubt they will care to verify the accuracy of a translation. I think most users will just impulsively approve or reject, and I doubt most low-rep English speakers will skip.
    – user206222
    May 2, 2013 at 5:55
  • 3
    Even if there are bad reviewers, that is no reason to not promote the good reviewing strategies. May 2, 2013 at 5:59
  • Interesting. I can accept that. Still, this doesn't quite address the other cases. What about Google Translate edits? Does this action change if the edit is syntactically incorrect?
    – user206222
    May 2, 2013 at 6:00
  • 1
    The tas of the reviewer is to evaluate the suggested edit. So regardless of the used method of translation, if it is wrong, the edit should be rejected. And if you don't know one of the languages, you better skip it because you can't possibly judge the edit. May 2, 2013 at 6:04
  • 1
    Regardless of whether or not you know both languages to verify the accuracy of the translation, you can still make a judgement on the quality of the English. I'd treat it the same as any other edit - if the English is bad (spelling or grammar mistakes) then it should be rejected. May 2, 2013 at 10:25
  • 2
    @AnthonyGrist right, if you don't know the original language your choices are reject (if it has come out in poor English) or skip. If you do know the original language then you also have the option of accept. May 2, 2013 at 11:38

You must log in to answer this question.