As of this question: https://german.stackexchange.com/questions/6291/how-to-use-maiden-name-geborene-properly-in-english
I can clearly see, why the question was closed as off-topic, but looking at the reason given by Takkat I feel tempted to ask:

Why is there a tag: ?

As this is a German language and usage Q&A-Site, should we promote "translation-requests" from German to English by having a tag for this or should we prevent questions that could in general be asked on EL&U/ELL instead by removing/editing this tag?

The sense of is not obvious to me. I surely understand , but would it not be better to prevent questions who should be asked on other SE-Sites?

For Clarification: currently says: "Questions on translations German to English". As we are a supposedly German Q&A site would it not be better to have it like: "Questions on the best expression for a German idiom in English" to prevent questions that are off-topic and more suited for EL&U/ELL?

  • I added german-to-english to this Question because in my Answer, I used translation to illustrate my points. So I figured, might as well add this tag together with a number of others. I guess the tag wiki could stand some editing to make it clear that simple translation requests are discouraged on GLU. Mar 4, 2013 at 9:49
  • @EugeneSeidel this tag in consequence is a request for an english answer?
    – Vogel612
    Mar 4, 2013 at 11:47
  • 1
    Yes, the tag wiki as currently worded encourages that. So in my opinion it needs to change. Mar 4, 2013 at 11:52

4 Answers 4


German-to-English questions can be on-topic in my opinion for cases where the German expression is not commonly known, cannot be found in a dictionary, or might carry a specific connotation that is not easily grasped by everyone.

They are not suitable for this site when the person who asks very well knows what the German expression means but is looking for a proper expression in English.


I think that questions that can be more easily asked, or more easily answered, when the answerers are knowledgeable about German as well as about English, should be allowable on German Stack Exchange, even if they'd also be on-topic for English Language Learners.

It's ok for a question to be on-topic on two different Stack Exchange. (I can't recall off the top of my head which post said that, but I'm quite sure some post on some meta site has said that)


If we have a look at questions tagged german-english we get an idea of what is welcome, and what not. In most of these questions the then is appropriate.

The more we put the focus on issues with understanding a German expression, and the less we can find e.g. collquial expressions or phrases in common dictionaries, the more likely we will be prepared to give answers here. This is even more so as understanding some of these need some deeper insight into the German language and usage indeed.

This is not always the case. If we ask for the best English expression of an otherwise well understood German counterpart German Language & Usage will not be able to provide a really good answer. In these cases I do believe we should close a question and for the sake of a better answer should direct people to:

If we asked for the "best expression for a German idiom in English" we probably get better answers there, as this would then be asking for an appropriate English expression.

There is and always will be some overlap but we should take care to draw some line here.

  • sorry but this is not really helpful. i think my question was misunderstood here
    – Vogel612
    Mar 4, 2013 at 13:12
  • I have had a look at the questions carrying that tag. Usually it seems to be attached without much thought. I do not think that it is helpful at all.
    – Carsten S
    Feb 17, 2019 at 15:26
  • @CarstenS: Everybody can and should remove a tag if it does not fit. No special privilege required. At the time I wrote the answer 5 (five) years ago the spectrum of questions was different. If there were zero questions with this tag, and nobody used it again the tag german-to-english may eventually go away. What is your suggestion we do?
    – Takkat
    Feb 17, 2019 at 17:00
  • I had not noticed that the answer is a bit older, sorry. I would consider getting rid of the tag for good, because I think that it can encourage questions which ask for a translation only, but the effect would be negligible anyway,
    – Carsten S
    Feb 17, 2019 at 18:19

I trink, we should prevent questions that could in general be asked on EL&U/ELL instead by removing/editing this tag.

Most of the people who answer questions in German.Stackexchange are German native speaker and many answers have mistakes in English spelling or grammer. How could we secure the quality of the German to English translation?

In my opinion, it is easier to describe the nuances of a German expression in English than to evaluate the quality of an English translation as a non native (English) speaker.

  • You are welcome to remove the tag from questions where it does not fit, and you are also welcome to improve the tag info to inform people on this tag's usage (I would have done this but the votes on my answer above do not really encourage me to do so).
    – Takkat
    Feb 17, 2019 at 17:05

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