We have had some questions regarding tattoos, and I more will certainly come. We even have a tag: . It might be useful to have a general tattoo question that we could refer new users to. If a new user looking for a tattoo translation has done more of their homework, the question will more focused on the crucial points and more useful for the OP. I was thinking something along these lines:

Suppose I want to get a tattoo in Latin. How can I go about translating a phrase from English to Latin, or having it translated for me? If I get a suggestion from someone (a friend, Google Translate, someone online), how can I verify that it's valid Latin? I want anything written on my skin to be right, but I don't quite know what to trust. Any hints for getting started with finding a suitable Latin text for a tattoo would be great.

The question is pretty broad on the one hand, but on the other hand it doesn't go too deep. I would not be opposed to having a question like this. It could attract users and with good answers it would be something we could refer new users to. And most importantly, I hope it would be genuinely useful for some people — that's what the site is for. Some SE sites have canonical versions of common questions for the sake of having a well-written reference for duplicates and links. The question would be about using Latin, although not very specific, so I certainly think it would be better for main than meta.

(I'm not thinking of a tattoo myself. The question would be there to help others do so if they want.)

What do you think? Would something in this direction be useful? How should it be worded? Feel free to disagree!

1 Answer 1


Forgive me for jumping in, but I'm having a hard time imagining how such a question would ever be appropriate.

To start at the beginning here though, I'm having a hard time seeing how the tag is useful on the site to begin with. It's the epitome of a meta-tag that provides no useful information to the question being asked. "I'm planning to tattoo this on myself" doesn't make the real question of "is this the correct translation" any clearer or more detailed. Interesting meta commentary, but just not relevant to the question.

Given that the question being about a tattoo is worthless information, I don't see how you'd be able to formulate a legitimate answer to a question like this. You're essentially taking a meta-tag and creating a tag wiki for it in question format. Why? Even your example doesn't seem to be very related to tattoos, but just that people getting a tattoo might be one group of users looking for the answer to "How do I verify that my Latin translation is correct?" That question could also be interesting to many other groups of users.

So I ask you, if you remove all the references to tattoos from that question, would it still be a viable, on-topic question for the site? If not, then it's probably not useful to have lying around. I get the desire to make canonical questions, but the actual questions being asked are completely independent requests for translation help with certain phrases that just happen to be future tattoos. There's nothing canonical about them.

  • 2
    Thanks! I appreciate your jumping in. I have been thinking that tattoo should be synonymised with motto. The synonym might help a new user with a tattoo question find an appropriate tag. Tattoo questions are clearly distinct from most translation questions. I don't see the information as useless at all, but distinguishing it from motto questions seems unnecessary.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Sep 25, 2017 at 5:29

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