Lately there has been a few questions that have attracted close votes because they are Chinese speakers asking for the English equivalent of a Chinese phrase.

In the early days of this site the initial feedback was that we welcomed these type of questions, based on answers and votes in this meta question.

As the site traffic increases, I suspect we will be getting more of these types of questions and based on the recent number of close votes on these questions I would like to get everyone's opinion on this subject. I would also appreciate if you can provide an answer for clarity and not just up or downvote my question.

Do you think these types of questions should be welcome on our site?

  • Are they going to be useful for people learning the Chinese language or only for people learning the English language?
  • Are they going to be useful for people by indirectly learning about phrases you may not have known about, but could learn from regardless?

The suggestion is that these types of questions may be moved to the English Language Learners site. What does everyone think of this suggestion? I will still need to ask the ELL site if they are happy to do this if such questions are not welcome here.

2 Answers 2


I stand by my original motivations: if the question shows evident and concrete research effort, I am in favor of allowing them.

The point of this is that, we don't do someone else's work. This is not a translation site. However if someone really tried to translate something (and just pasting on Google Translate is not really enough for me), then I'm happy to help.

Possibly asking specific questions would be better than "Translate this huge paragraph for me". That's not what we do.

So, in conclusion, let's judge case by case:

  1. Did the OP genuinely tried to translate the piece by themselves? This can be seen by what the OP writes in the question. We should ask to include such details when not present.
  2. Is the OP asking for a sentence or a huge block of text? We should encourage smaller questions because wide questions tend to be too broad, that's intrinsic.

For now, that's all I can remember as far as "requirements" go. Closing outright wouldn't be beneficial to us, it's not like we have thousands of visits... So I'm in favor of controlling the phenomenon.

This is not just a moderator's job. If some user sees a question that deserves to be closed, please cast your close vote or if you don't have enough reputation, flag-for-close, it will still be useful to us.


I would not close either of the questions you gave as examples, although I might be tempted to close the first example just because it does not show any research effort.

I think it's important to remember that the topic of the site is Chinese Language and Usage, not just for people learning Chinese. Particularly if this type of question is framed as a discussion of the meaning of the Chinese phrase, and the English translation is requested as a way to understand it better, then I welcome it.

Whatever conclusion we come to here, we should probably mention this type of question in the meta question about what is on topic here.

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