I once translated (and thus had to reconstruct, in part) the complete poems of Sappho. I am now posting those translations to my blog, along with other translations. As I will have to go over the reconstruction part, I might find some old critical questions such as this one I asked on Quora, and I was wondering if such a discussion would be accepted here. Since the language Sappho used is Greek, I figured Greek Language would be the best fit, except it's still in commitment (35%) at the time of writing the question. I asked on main meta, and I was pointed to this site, with a warning that «they usually don't do language-specific stuff». So I was wondering: would it be appropriate to post them here in the meantime (i.e. while Greek Language finishes commitment and enters Private Beta)?

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  • Hello and welcome to Linguistics SE! Can you link to the Meta SE post? It's not true that we don't do language-specific stuff. We don't do grammar stuff, but single-language questions are fine as long as they're about Linguistics (they're less common, but possible). – Alenanno Jun 8 '17 at 22:49
  • @alenanno Added link to post. The answer suggesting Literature was added after I posted this, for the record. – MickG Jun 8 '17 at 22:51
  • It depends on what the question is. Also Latin Language allows Greek questions (silly IMO, but beneficial to you.) – curiousdannii Jun 9 '17 at 0:12
  • @curiousdannii Yep, the main meta post also pointed that out, and I already asked on their meta if they would take my questions. For an example of the type of questions I'm talking about, see the Quora link. – MickG Jun 9 '17 at 7:25
  • @alenanno That warning I quote was quoted from memory. It actually read "don't usually do", not "usually don't do", so I probably misinterpreted it as "usually don't accept" whereas it meant "seldom get". – MickG Jun 9 '17 at 7:28
  • Questions about textual criticism should be on-topic at Literature. – curiousdannii Jun 9 '17 at 7:30
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    @curiousdannii Just asked over there. – MickG Jun 9 '17 at 9:47
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    @Alenanno I wouldn't word it as "we don't do grammar stuff": What we don't do is usage stuff that only asks for how an expression is used. We do stuff that asks for why an expression is used the way it is, i.e. the linguistic reasons behind certain phenomena. This can very well be "grammar" (in the broad sense covering syntax, phonology etc). – lemontree Jun 9 '17 at 12:49
  • @lemontree Perhaps I used too vague of a term, I just meant questions about usage, yes. :) – Alenanno Jun 9 '17 at 16:40

The close vote comments say

Language-specific grammar and usage questions are off-topic unless primarily concerned with linguistics rather than usage.


Questions seeking help with translation and localization are off-topic here unless specifically concerning the linguistic reasons for different translations.

The key part is the "unless" phrase. As pointed out in my comment above, what we don't do here is questions about language usage (in the style of "Is it correct to say X" or "When do I say X and when do I need to say Y" or "What does X mean here") that only ask for how something is used. What we do appreciate is questions that ask for why something is used the way it is used, i.e., what is referred to by "the linguistic reasons" above.

If your question is "Are the linguistic reasons for assuming that translation B is more suitable than translation A" or "Linguistically (concerning the underlying reasons rather than the mere meaning), what makes the difference between translations A and B", then it's on-topic here.
If your question is about which translation is better or what the difference in meaning between the two sentences is, then you should ask it on one of the other sites being mentioned.

Looking at the Quora post you linked to, asking for an opinion on "what’s right" sounds like it's not what a linguistics site is interested in (and who, historically, came up with which version of some translation is not really within the scope of a general linguistics site either).
If, however, you put your focus more on the "on what basis did he" part, i.e. asking about the linguistic aspects of how the two sentences differ, then I'd say it's okay here.

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  • What is "usage"? Also, why is this information about usage (off-topic) only made available to close-voters and not to general users via help? Just curious. – user6726 Jun 10 '17 at 0:13
  • @user6726 By "usage" I mean questions in the style of "Is it correct to say X" or "When do I say X and when do I need to say Y" or "What does X mean here" - I edited it into my answer. – lemontree Jun 10 '17 at 1:11
  • Information made available: Oh, good point. I was somehow under the impression that the on-topic section in the help center contains pretty much the same information as the close-vote comments do, but it actually doesn't and we should really change that. Thanks for pointing it out! Maybe it's about time to rework the help content anyway - we could discuss an edit to the page collaboratively on Meta. – lemontree Jun 10 '17 at 1:11
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    linguistics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/639, linguistics.meta.stackexchange.com/q/584. Any uptake would be welcome. – user6726 Jun 10 '17 at 1:46

I second what @lemontree wrote. But if you're looking for translation advice on Ancient Greek, there are better venues than SE sites. Try https://www.reddit.com/r/AncientGreek/, for instance.

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Just to update to the present state of the art: The Latin Language stackexchange accepts questions on Classical Greek as well. This is currently the only stackexchange where such questions can be asked.

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