I assume English.SE is not the right place to ask how to nicely translate a Chinese phrase into English, but is Chinese.SE the right place?
I think asking those sort of questions is fine. However, I assume if a question was so easy that an accurate translation could be easily obtained from Google then it would be off topic.
I think it is important that users can get a difficult sentence translated into a good quality English equivalent.
I would say its a valid question if its a phrase that could be quite ambiguous or difficult to translate.
Like, if it is a translation that can benefit the community beyond the equivalent of an online translator
I think that asking for translation of whole documents, or large bodies of text should be off-topic - that's what commercial translation services are for!
But I think translation of phrases and sentences should be on-topic, and I think we will get a lot of questions along those lines. Flake mentioned slang, and I guess many will be interested in how to phrase things in the vernacular language - seems valid enough to me.
Having said that, I reckon there will be many users who are not interested in such questions, so I think we should enforce the use of a tag for these. Something like
translation-chinese-to-english (maybe a bit long, but you get the idea ;)
In my opinion
If not a bulk of that, one or two phases will be OK.
Question provide a translation and seek for improvement should be ok too.
I like translating. I get so much help from the R programming site and I would like to contribute where I can. I was quite active in the Chinese Baidu Zhidao site as an English to Chinese translator for a while, and I also translated a bit in the Yahoo Answers US site.
This recently came up in Colloquial way to express the concept of "默写" and I was going to ask a new meta question, but found this. So I think I'll write it here.
I don't think it's on-topic:
The Chinese Stack Exchange Site is for experts, language enthusiasts and people who have interest in the Chinese language.
That's what makes me think asking for English is off-topic. However, I believe the people best equipped to answer the question aren't on https://ell.stackexchange.com/ but are on https://chinese.stackexchange.com/.
What I think would be good is something like:
- Post asking-for-English question on https://ell.stackexchange.com/ and due to the translation from language (Chinese,) the post is duplicated/aliased on https://chinese.stackexchange.com/ too (to generate interest.)
- As an answer on this special post arrives, it automatically updates both sites (so calling it aliased makes more sense than duplicated)
- Once it has been marked as answered, the post is then migrated from the from language site purely into the to language site (in this case it would be https://ell.stackexchange.com/ but it could just as easily be https://japanese.stackexchange.com/ or https://french.stackexchange.com/ etc., right?) This way, there is a preserved link in the https://chinese.stackexchange.com/ site, which shows it has been migrated to the to language site.
In cases where there is no to language Stack Exchange site ... what should it do ... no idea, stay on the from language site I suppose? Until such time as the to language Stack Exchange site gets created?
My two cents.
EDIT: Also, asking for English translations isn't for https://english.stackexchange.com/ but for https://ell.stackexchange.com/ as the english.se one is for etymology, punctuation, grammar, etc. (Their on-topic page notes
Translation and non-English languages are off-topic: https://english.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic)