This question was posted entirely in Chinese and was tagged with the tag, but got an extremely negative response and was put on hold. Whereas this one was posted entirely in Portuguese but remained open and didn't get any downvotes. So I'm not entirely clear on what the appropriate procedure is for posting a translation request question.

Do you post the question entirely in the source language, and then wait for someone to edit it into English? Or is it done more like this question where you simply make the translation the question itself? (e.g. "What is the equivalent concept of primitiva in English?").

I think that if some consensus is arrived at, instructions on the proper procedure should be edited into the tag wiki.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ To clarify: IIRC I only arrived to add the translation-request when the question was already closed. If the question was closed only, because it is in Chinese that was IMO a bit naughty. Some commenters could read at least parts of it, and I rather got the impression that there were other shortcomings as well. Anyway, it has been reopened since. $\endgroup$ Aug 27, 2013 at 14:50
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ About the chinese post. I read chinese and I was one of the original person who vote to close it. At that moment, the post didn't make any sense at all. The current version is now readable but still sort of poorly written (I'm referring to the chinese part). That might explain why it get so many downvotes. $\endgroup$ Aug 27, 2013 at 15:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I wonder if it received so much attention simply because it wasn't using latin characters. Because of this I noticed it on the front page (I wasn't even skimming the front page - I had just clicked to it). However, I wouldn't notice a question posted in Portuguese for this reason. $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Aug 27, 2013 at 18:18
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It would be nice if (some of) those users who are reasonably fluent in at least one language other than English kept an eye out for the translation-request tag. $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2013 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


While I think it is a really great idea to be open to a larger audience, I also hope we can minimize a deluge of unreadable questions.

At the moment

We don't get many of these, so it makes sense to handle them by case. It would be nice to expect some minimal amount of translation, if they want it to be seen by English speakers. Just piping it through Google translate would be a good start. Having the original text is handy too, for helping clear up problems with the question statement. If nothing readable ever emerges, then it should probably be closed as "unclear."

A tool that might save space would be a way to have a "foreign language text" box in parallel to a translated box, with a tab that you can toggle between the two, sort of like the way you can compare a closed question against a revised version in the "reopen" tool. Is it possible to get access to some tool that just uses google translate to do this (putting foreign text in that box and providing a parallel translatoin) automatically?

In the future

If we were ever super-open to the world community, you'd think there would be posts in every language. In that case, a lot of us would need good ways to switch off seeing languages you don't understand, or else it would be impossible to find questions to read.

  • $\begingroup$ I nominate you to be our translator for Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language. $\endgroup$
    – dfeuer
    Sep 2, 2013 at 6:06
  • $\begingroup$ @dfeuer :) Do they sign from right to left or...? $\endgroup$
    – rschwieb
    Sep 2, 2013 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know much about it, but I imagine that if the language includes bits of fingerspelled Arabic and/or Hebrew then those are probably perceived as going from signer's right to left, whether or not they are (much as a native ASL user will likely insist that fingerspelling is traveling from signer's left to right, even if the video coordinates say otherwise). $\endgroup$
    – dfeuer
    Sep 2, 2013 at 19:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .