From our FAQ

What kind of questions can I ask here?

German Language and Usage - Stack Exchange is for students having questions about German, expert speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation questions from any language to German.

I looked a bit around into the FAQs oft the other new language sites currently in beta



and found no similar sentence. That can be because the FAQ is still just the default stackoverflow FAQ and has not been modified or it is the intension of the site not to allow such questions.

Does anyone remember, how this got into our FAQ?

Note: I see no problem in allowing such questions here. I'm more general interested in where to ask translation questions from German into other languages.

I know that http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/16613/languages intends to aloow such questions.

  • Look here: meta.german.stackexchange.com/questions/136/… Ich erinnere mich sehr gut, dass vor Start des Beta auf meine Nachfrage erklärt wurde, dass der Satz nur provisorisch ist (er wurde direkt aus der Beschreibung der Commitmentphase automatisch ins FAQ übernommen). Ich habe nicht den Eindruck, dass irgendjemand hier etwas gegen solche Fragen hat, nur die offiziellen Mods haben anscheinend Angst, dass wir von trivialen Übersetzungsfragen überrannt werden, was immerhin 13 Stimmen bekommen hat.
    – Phira
    Commented Oct 31, 2011 at 17:48

3 Answers 3


Translations are currently being debated on Spanish.SE. I've summarized the state of translations in my answer there.

English isn't about translations, it's a strictly monolingual site.

Japanese caters primarily to non-natives who can speak English, but not exclusively so. Translation questions are allowed (in both directions, as far as I can tell).

French strives to make itself accessible to natives who do not speak English (which is, of course, difficult as long as the Stack Exchange user interface remains in English only). A majority of the questions are in French, whether they're asked by learners or natives. Translation questions are not really allowed as such. Translations into French are essentially allowed, in so far as they are asking how to best express an idea in French, but “explain to me in French the meaning of this English idiom I don't understand” would be off-topic. Conversely, translations from French are essentially not allowed, but “explain to me in English the meaning of this French idiom I don't understand” is fine.


Does anyone remember, how this got into our FAQ?

It was the original audience description for the proposal on Area 51! When the site went live, this was shortened to "speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation" in most places, but looks like the FAQ was neglected.

As Gilles notes, this doesn't exactly jibe with the other language sites.

I've modified the FAQ to bring it in line with the descriptions on rest of the site, but encourage you to post suggestions for more appropriate text. The moderators here can update it as needed.

  • IMO the edit is great - finer points of .. translation is it, not more not less. We don't see too many translation requests anyway.
    – Takkat
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 20:50

Translations into German are, IMHO, much more appropriate than in the reverse directions, since a native German speaker might know better how to express something in German, while the best translation into English should be offtopic.

I guess there are only few languages (English, French, Latin and Russian) where idioms can be answered by more than 2 or 3 visitors in a week in a better way, than online dictionaries do.

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