Are questions asking the translation of a complex sentence acceptable?

I imagine that a simple question where I don't explain the doubts I have about translating the sentence should not be acceptable, but would such question be acceptable, when I describe the doubts I have about the translation? Would not a question asking for translating simpler phrases be more helpful to future readers? After all, complex sentences are made of simpler phrases.

I am not asking if the only acceptable translation questions are the ones about a single word, since I understand perfectly that a question could be asking about translating a phrasal verb. Such questions should be perfectly acceptable, in the same way single-word translations are.

  • The question doesn't seem to be entirely clear. Maybe change it to "How long should we allow a text to be translated to be?" "Length of to be translated texts", or something similar. "To which extent" implies something different, as far as I understand it. Oct 13, 2016 at 4:27
  • Truly, the question's meaning cannot be changed anymore, since there are already answers.
    – apaderno
    Oct 13, 2016 at 4:41
  • I worry a little about the whole site just becoming page after page of "how do I say <x> in Esperanto?" If I go to the front page right now, there are ten questions asking for single word translations. Oct 28, 2016 at 15:17

4 Answers 4


For me, it is all about atomicity of meaning. Can we seperate the question into different questions without changing the sum of information?

If t(part a + part b) != t(part a) + t(part b) then t(part a + part b) should be a question.

  • This also means that requests for translating a paragraph should not be acceptable, since the OP could ask a question for each sentence. Truly, I was trying to understand what effort the OP should show. For example, are requests for translating a paragraph where the users doesn't explain what exactly it's not clear to them acceptable?
    – apaderno
    Oct 6, 2016 at 15:02

Translation of complex phrases, insofar as they can be answered in an answer of acceptable length, should always be welcome. When it comes to translations that are a paragraph, several sentences or longer, where the OP is asking for it all to be translated, should not be. If the question is about a word or a complex phrase in context, not the translation of the whole paragraph, that is perfectly fine.


For my part, complicated and difficult questions should be welcomed. For many of the easy ones, the asker could have just as easily checked a dictionary, PMEG, or Wikipedia.

  • I was trying to understand the limit of the translation questions. How much long can the text to translate be? What does the OP need to show, for the question to be acceptable? I take that a question where the OP just shows the text to translate without to say what exactly is not clear should not be acceptable. It would be more a request for translation, rather than a question about translation.
    – apaderno
    Oct 6, 2016 at 15:05
  • I misunderstood then. In that case, I tend to agree that there must be some upper limit. It doesn't make sense, say for someone to post a book and say "could you please check this for errors." I wonder how other stack exchange areas do it. My hunch is that more than a sentence would be too much. Oct 6, 2016 at 15:55
  • It's my fault: I talked of complexity to mean "length of the text to translate."
    – apaderno
    Oct 6, 2016 at 16:22
  • Anyway, your answer is still valid, since you are making a good point. I didn't express myself well, but the answers I got still cover what I meant to ask. In your case, I get the OP should show a little of effort in finding an answer.
    – apaderno
    Oct 14, 2016 at 4:31

Fortunately for us someone has gotten a little spammy and asked about paragraphs in multiple other language groups on SE.


French group says no translation period.


Spanish says prior effort must be shown, and that clarification of individual sentences must be asked as separate questions and be about something specifically about that sentence.


Japanese says the same thing as Spanish.


So does German.


And Chinese says basically the same thing too.

Given the smaller nature of Esperanto Language SE, I would propose sentence translation mostly hold with the majority group, but have a little more leniency about it.

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