Proposal: Slight adaptation in the rules

Discussion in 'Comments and Suggestions' started by Peterdg, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    Hi all,

    My proposal applies to the bilingual forums in particular. As some of you know, I'm mostly active in the Spanish-English grammar forum (and also in "Sólo español" and Dutch, but that's not important for this).

    What happens often in the Spanish-English Grammar forum is that people ask (in English) if some sentence in Spanish is grammatically correct or not. They even sometimes give context, like a complete dialogue in Spanish, and so they basically comply with the context requirement (or at least they think they do) but they don't say what the sentence is question is supposed to express in English.

    Now, there are two possibilities:

    1) their sentence in Spanish is grammatically correct and makes sense, but we have no idea if it really expresses what they want to express
    2) their sentence is not correct and then we may have no idea what they want to express, so also no idea on how to correct it.

    So, my proposal is to make it mandatory in the rules to also provide the sentence in question in the source language for bilingual forums. So, if you ask something about a Spanish sentence, there should also be the English sentence that corresponds to it (and vice versa, of course).

    I've looked through the rules and there's a lot about context, but as far as I can assess, there is no explicit obligation to also provide the sentence in the source language.

    Thanks.

    Peter

    (PS. All the same applies if you exchange Spanish for English and vice versa at the same time in all what I have said)
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  2. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    This is just one person's opinion, but based on my experience with a couple of bilingual forums (not so much Spanish-English, though) the cure might be worse than the disease.

    Again in my experience, what someone is trying to say is usually obvious even if they have garbled the language a great deal. When it's not, a simple "Can you tell us in English [or ...] what you mean to say?" takes care of it quickly. Most people learn to provide that information without prompting the next time they have a question.

    I think adding this rule would (a) lengthen threads by adding unnecessary content, and (b) add to the problem that people tend to ignore rules when there are too many of them.
     
  3. stella_maris_74

    stella_maris_74 Mod About Chocolate

    Rome
    Italian - Italy
    For the record, we are already enforcing that in Italian-English :). Members are required to provide the original sentence (the one that they are trying to translate), both in the thread title and in the body of their post, along with their attempted translation (body of post only).
    Requests that are only aimed at checking, for example, if an Italian sentence that they wrote is correct/ makes sense get directed to Solo Italiano, and members are still encouraged to explain what they're trying to say. We feel this really is a good approach in order to provide helpful answers :)
     
  4. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    I cannot but agree with you (and Stella of course).
    Since there are both an English only forum and a Spanish only forum, there is no need for a forero to open threads in the English-Spanish forum that are not clearly related to translations between those two languages. When a translation is involved, there must always be the original sentence in the source language.
     
  5. Quaeitur

    Quaeitur Mod'elle

    Lille, France
    French
    We do enforce this as much as possible in the French-English forums as well. The only caveat to this rule is when the OP's native language is neither French nor English, then we do our best to figure out what the original English or French would be.
     
  6. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    Even more so then: if the OP is neither a French nor an English speaker, why not posting their threads in the English only forum or in French only forum?
    There are many native speakers of dozens of different languages who regularly manage to ask their questions in the "English only" forum using only the English language: that proves that there is no need to use bilingual forums to ask questions that have nothing to do with translations :)
     
  7. Quaeitur

    Quaeitur Mod'elle

    Lille, France
    French
    When the OP's language is neither French nor English and they are quite fluent in one of these two languages, we do encourage them to post their questions in the English only or Français seulement forums.

    But when that's not the case, for example, when someone who's just beginning to learn French, so won't get much out of a discussion lead exclusively in French, and is in fact trying to translate from their own native language to French, the discussion is lead in French and English, on the French-English forums, with an "original sentence" in English (even though the real original is not in English...) and an explanation of what the OP is trying to say. In these cases, forum users with a greater mastery of English will suggest a better "original sentence" in English to translate the idea expressed by the OP. :)
     
  8. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    This is not what we're talking about though: if there is a sentence in a language and an attempt to translate that sentence into another language, then there's no doubt that the thread belongs to a bilingual forum :)
     
  9. Peterdg

    Peterdg Senior Member

    Belgium
    Dutch - Belgium
    First of all, thanks for the support.

    I don't agree with this. If the sentence is "garbled language", you can only guess what the OP is trying to say and that's when it starts: people who are trying to help start guessing and you get endless threads with guesses.

    Also, the "what do you mean to say?" follow up is what happens often and then it takes two days and 10 or more guesses later before the OP comes back to clarify that he actually wanted to say something completely different from what we all suspected/guessed.
    Again, I don't agree. This is not "unnecessary content": it's vital content to be able to correctly answer the question.

    That's debatable. If it's not in the rules, one has no foundation to "complain". If people don't read the rules, I, nor anyone else, can help that, but at least one (I mean, as a moderator) can then say they should and I, as a non-moderator, can press the red triangle with reason.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
  10. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Italian
    Precisely.
    Playing the guessing game can be fun for some, but it's definitely not what a language forum should do - Let's leave it to Yahoo answers and allied websites :)
    When forum members or guests look up a word or an expression in the WR forums, they want to find an accurate and reliable answer, not an endless series of guesses.
     

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