Most questions so far are about how to translate something from English into Russian. Are "reverse" questions (that is from-Russian-to-English questions) ok for this site?

  • Add the outcome of this question to the answer here.
    – Alenanno
    Jun 19, 2012 at 18:48

4 Answers 4


Explanations of Russian words and idioms are welcome. "What does [obscure Russian idiom] mean?" can be asked, both in Russian and English.

But we should not welcome questions on how to express something in English. The question "How to express [something] in one word in Russian?" is fine, but "How to express [something] in one word in English?" is not, regardless of whether "[something]" is Russian or English.

What does быть сытым по горло mean? (Good fit for our site)

Which single English word best conveys the feeling of бабушка? (Bad fit for our site)

  • @kotekzot: How? Native speakers are at least as welcome to discuss the Russian language as everyone else, in either Russian or English. But they're not supposed to discuss English, or biology for that matter.
    – Tim
    Jun 14, 2012 at 7:31
  • An English speaker can ask what an idiom means and get an explanation in English, which is half a translation. Why should the same luxury not be afforded to Russian speakers?
    – kotekzot
    Jun 14, 2012 at 7:34
  • @kotekzot: Maybe my answer was unclear. I meant that: An English/Russian speaker can ask what a Russian idiom means and get an explanation in English/Russian. That is, as long as the question is about the meaning of Russian words/idioms, it's fine, regardless of whether she asked in Russian or English. What we should not accept is questions looking for specific English translations, e.g. single-word translations of words when their meaning is already clear, or direct translation of color names when an image or explanation would suffice.
    – Tim
    Jun 14, 2012 at 7:37
  • Nice edit! [word-choice] questions are on-topic at English.SE, so there is still a place for all every question.
    – kotekzot
    Jun 14, 2012 at 9:30
  • support the multilingual idiom mapping proposal that is supposed to be a right place for asking questions like this: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/41712/… Jun 24, 2012 at 19:35

Yes, it wouldn't be natural to allow questions about translation in only one direction. The community is new and didn't produce enough questions to serve as the example what can be asked and what not (this is the task of private beta), but bi-directional transaction questions are the part of German Language and Usage, for example.


I completely disagree, if we allow questions like this what stops us from welcoming questions like 'Russian-to-Turkish'?

  • 4
    The fact that the site is in English and about Russian and has no association in any way to Turkish. Then again some questions involving Turkish would surely be on topic, such as loanwords between the two languages. Jun 14, 2012 at 9:28
  • 1
    hippietrail, by your logic if this SE was in German, the German would have more favor over any other language, the same true for Turkish if you think about it, now, what happens when the SE engine is developed to the point when the choice of the site language is solely on the user? there is no favor language anymore and your point becomes useless. Jun 14, 2012 at 19:23
  • I don't think Russian-to-Turkish would work, because this is not a site about Turkish, but Turkish-to-Russian, why not? Always provided that the OP explains in an exhaustive and well-researched way, of course.
    – Alenanno
    Jun 24, 2012 at 20:26

To address problems like this I suggest that you consider voting to support the proposal on multi-lingual idiom mapping QnN that I just created: http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/41712/multilingual-idiom-mapping

Please vote if you think questions like this aren't welcome here.

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