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I was given a pair of gold cufflinks by my grandfather who was in Shanghai 100 years ago. Each shows a Chinese (I believe) character and I would like to know what these mean. However I have searched with possible English words (left/right, prosperity/health, sun/moon, man/woman, east/west etc) and not seen anything similar in either simplified or traditional (I guess the latter more likely since each is quite 'busy' - many brush strokes). I have tried via OCR (baidu.com and others) with no meaningful results (mostly none at all) even when rotated.

I know I am not allowed to ask for a translation here but am I allowed to ask for help to obtain a translation for myself (short of asking someone who knows Chinese) and/or how to determine which way is up, or whether simplified or traditional, or a version of each character that can be read without OCR – that is, almost anything that might help to avoid having to look through ~5,000 characters for a couple that look similar to what I have?

Presumably, if allowed, the above might be three or four separate Qs on the main site.

Another possibility would be to ask in chat, is translation off topic there too?

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Translation requests are on topic as long as you have demonstrated “homework”, i.e.: pre-question effort.

You mention that you’ve tried:

  • searching possible English words

  • OCR

This is already more than enough “evidence” that you’re not just treating the site as a bulk translation resource.

You can simply ask one question with pictures of the cufflinks mentioning what you have already tried and why it didn’t work.

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    @pnuts Yeah we just don’t want people asking “what does xxxx mean?” w/o trying anything themselves. – user3306356 Jan 28 '18 at 16:29

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