Recently the amount of questions requesting translation from English (like "Mechanical Draughtsman" in Russian) or from Russian (like What does “с др кароч” mean?) has increased, not always this question are of good quality. As to me, many of this questions are not meeting two important criteria we are usually relying on - first, it looks like the author of quesion does not provide any attempt to find out the answer beforehand. Also, quite often there's no evidence attempt to provide any kind of relevant data within the question.

Second, many of these questions hardly could be useful for a broader audience.

So, let's discuss whether we do or don't need to have some stricter guidelines about translation-related questions.

UPD: also, I'm totally OK with downvotes, especially on meta, but it would be nice if you'll provide some feedback when downvoting. Because, well, discussion.

1 Answer 1


I'll answer from the point of view of a native speaker who intends to answer questions but doesn't intend to ask as well as someone who earned their living by translating for some time.

There are times when research doesn't help much, and posting results of your failed attempts sometimes seems stupid (at least for me, and I did a fair amount of research when I translated). The most common of such cases are slang and highly specialised terms.

In case of slang, you just won't find proper translation, because these things aren't regulated by anything except usage. And you have to just know those. So, asking is the best way to deal with those.

The case of terminology is a bit more complex. At one hand, these things are properly monitored and often have an official translation. But on the other hand, dictionaries and such are rarely up to date in any language. With the speed the languages are evolving, it's impossible to keep all (or any really) of the official sources up to date, so 'standard' research might not help. An in-depth research might help, but you have to know what you're looking for (and it's not always the case with terminology), and it's not always worth the time spent on it (it might take days to research a single word that you're going to use just once). So, again, the best way to deal with these is to ask. You might be lucky, and someone from that field might see your question and answer it.

Then there's another case, a 'grey area' of sorts. Most of the users of this site are English-speakers, I take it? Or speakers of other languages that use Latin alphabet. So, in the early stages of studying Russian, when people still aren't used to Cyrillic alphabet, reading anything is a chore, so asking what this or that thing means is simpler than trying to reproduce the 'strange scribbles' in an online dictionary.

My case in point being, I'm not the one who decides these things, but I personally wouldn't mind answering these questions.

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