I started studying Chinese on my own about 2 years ago. My method was to learn enough grammar to translate and then translate many things. Due to lack of time, and also to make finding the translation exercises easy, I decided to translate songs randomly gotten off Youtube. So I bumped into a few songs in Min, Cantonese and Hakka.


If I ask a translation question on one of these, should I expect it to be closed as off-topic because they are about dialects, or should I expect an answer as if it were a translation question about something in Mandarin?

  • 1
    I personally encourage questions about dialects. Dialects are much richer than mandarin. Many great poets spoke dialects, their poems don't rhyme at all in mandarin. I didn't realize this until I came to contact with people whose spoke dialects. There are also a lot proverbs in dialects that have no trace in mandarin. Sep 14, 2014 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


According to the Help Topic on "What topics can I ask", there is no distinction made for dialects. Translation is supported under certain conditions. The criteria includes showing prior work and making sure that the question is specific (has a definitive answer) rather than open-ended (discussion based). Additional insight can be gathered from this question.


  • Just for curiosity: is there a site where I could ask a hypothetical culture question without it being considered off-topic?
    – MickG
    Aug 29, 2014 at 8:22
  • @MickG As long as the eventual question is about language, I think you should preface your question with some background about the cultural aspect of the language question and use this site. Just be sure there is a valid language question at the end. People may comment on the cultural aspects if the language question is interesting enough.
    – Tommie C.
    Aug 29, 2014 at 10:32
  • @MickG Agreed with Tommie. You can also: ask on Meta for advice whether the question fits the site guidelines, or you can ask in our Chat. :) There is no "off topic" there.
    – Alenanno
    Aug 30, 2014 at 8:58

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