Here's yet another tag that means just about everything. It's used to refer to problems translating from Latin to English, from English to Latin, individual words, grammar, difficult sentences, etc.

What, really, though, is it doing? Should we get rid of it? Is it useful?

  • 5
    Suggestion: We abolish the translation tag. We create tags "latin-to-english" and "english-to-latin" for these translations. For other languages we use the corresponding tags like "french" and "finnish". Most of the questions work with English, so it makes sense to have a finer classification with it than other languages.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 7:37
  • 3
    I'm in doubt. While the tag may be big, it's still clear what it means, and it designates a specific and limited subset of our questions. For example, I don't think any of my questions would be about translation. Tags like "Latin to English" are probably much harder to think of for users.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 23:53
  • 1
    What about "Latin to English translation", "French translation", etc., so that when they start typing "translation" they are offered the different subsets?
    – Rafael
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 12:09
  • @Rafael: Hmm that is indeed an interesting option. I like it much better than "Latin-to-English". It would be a long tag, though.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 2:35
  • 1
    @Cerberus Or just "English-translation".
    – cmw Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 5:37
  • @Cerberus or "translation to English"/" translation from English"
    – Rafael
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 13:25
  • @C.M.Weimer: Mmm but that doesn't show the direction? Still, it could replace translation without anyone experiencing a 'loss'.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 15:17
  • @Rafael: True, 'Latin' is redundant.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 15:17
  • @Cerberus Considering 90% of the questions are about, in some way, "translation," I'd say it's all pretty redundant. I can't see how the tag can be useful. Maybe I'll write up a response post to the question, though, as always, the more answers the better.
    – cmw Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 16:07
  • 1
    @C.M.Weimer: Hmm it is indeed a large proportion. Probably more than half, but not 90%? I don't have a definite opinion. One question is: what harm does the tag do?
    – Cerberus Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 16:14
  • @Cerberus I think in general tags are for easily organizing and finding material. Extra stuff creates extra clutter. Can you imagine a 'programming' tag on StackOverflow? And do we editors make sure to tag them all as that, or would it be a relic? I can see extra, unnecessary work being created.
    – cmw Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 16:19
  • Since we also allow Greek, we could in principle have a tag "latin". But that would be horribly and uselessly large, and "translation" is not far behind. Perhaps we could analyze what kinds of questions are tagged translation and see what new tags would be useful.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 22:50
  • @C.M.Weimer: Mm I suppose I see the argument. Still, could a tag that applies to 50% of the questions be useful? It's kind of a difficult balance to strike. I have no idea what people would vote for if this Meta-question got answers.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 23:37
  • There is a follow-up discussion about finally getting rid of the tag. I thought it's cleaner to have it separately.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 17:25

2 Answers 2


I agree that the tag is too large, and has little use. I consider it similar to the tag "grammar" we used to have. I looked at some of the questions tagged , and identified some subclasses that could use their own tags:

  • Is my translation correct? We could tag these with "translation-check" or similar.
  • How do I translate this name of business/book/person/dog in Latin? These could be tagged more specifically as "name-translation". On the other hand, we do already have . Perhaps they can be synonymized?
  • How do I best translate this single word from/to Latin? We could tag these "single-word-translation". That tag can be synonymized or merged with . Tags like and should be used with these. And there is also , which might be synonimizable.
  • Why is this phrase translated like this? This is better described by "translation-explanation".
  • (Please) translate this for me! If we want to allow questions of this type, I would call them "translation-request". I am not sure how to define this tag. This one could potentially become an overall translation tag, similar to the current .
  • If the translation is about and idiom or a saying, the tags and are enough. No specific tag emphasizing translation is needed.
  • If the translation involves other languages than Latin and English, then a language tag should be added (, , …). I don't see the need for separate tags for English. (Yes, I now disagree with the suggestion I gave in the first comment.)

If a tag contains the word "translation", it will be suggested if you start typing "translation" into the tag field.

What do you think? I will not go and edit tags in old questions before we have agreed what to do.

  • 1
    I think broad tags are fine, but they need to be at least somewhat clearly definable.... and I don't think that translation is, given all the varying examples you've shown here. +1. Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 19:09

How to translate "drama actum est"?

This is the what the translation tag was made for. It's asking about translation issues from one language to the next. It's not about translating single words or explanations of translation or requests. It's about the process of translation, and to me, everything else is best categorized elsewhere.

A recent question asked about what esse is doing in a sentence. It's not really asking about translating, it's asking about the grammatical function of a verb, a single word at that.

I don't care for the esse tag either, but word-meaning or vocabulary or copulative all would be better suited to the question than translation.

Having thought it over, then, I think translation tag should be reserved for questions concerning the process of translating and not mere questions concerning translations or translating. Perhaps the wording can be fixed for that, if there is any exception taken to this suggestion.


  • Good thinking! I agree, this is what true translation is about. (Not because I asked the linked question.) The problem is that the tag name (or description) does not really convey this idea. Many questions are about translation (broadly defined), and people will search for appropriate tags. That's why I suggested a bunch of tag names that contain "translation" but actually mean (are synonymized with) something else. What should the "true translation" tag be called? (We have a couple of tags about single words. I see value in them, but let's not sidetrack here.)
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 6:15

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