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We've had a couple of questions so far today that I'd characterize as proofreading questions:

  1. https://japanese.stackexchange.com/q/12845/1478

  2. Help with basic sentence

Both questions received comments or close votes saying that these were off-topic translation questions, and istrasci has proposed changing the wording on our existing "No Translations" close reason to make it clear that it also applies to proofreading questions. But if we're going to close these questions as translations, we need to be able to refer to a meta discussion about them, and I'm not sure that the existing discussion of translation questions applies.

In fact, I'm not sure it's right to characterize them as "translation questions" at all. I think it'd be best to add a separate close reason. We didn't need a special reason in the past because we could close questions like these as too localized. But that close reason is gone now, so I think we should discuss what sorts of proofreading questions should be allowed, if any.


Let's look at the questions individually:

  1. The first question should clearly be closed, in my opinion. It was a big paragraph of Japanese, and the question didn't identify any particular areas of concern. I'm certain this would have been closed as Too Localized under the old system.

  2. The second question isn't great, but I'm less sure that it should be closed. After all, it's only about one sentence, and they explained what they were trying to say. I could see an argument that this sort of question is allowable.

So I think it's safe to say we should close some proofreading questions, at a minimum. We could copy this close reason from the English Language Learners SE:

Proofreading questions are off-topic unless a specific source of concern in the text is clearly identified. See: <link to meta question here>

I like this because of the text "unless a specific source of concern in the text is clearly identified". That seems like a good policy to me.

What do you think?

  • Note that the second question has been revised, in response to ssb's comment, to identify a specific source of concern. – snailcar Sep 17 '13 at 2:16
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I would agree with having this as a close reason, following on from English Language Learners SE.

It could optionally be made part of the translation close reason, since in both cases the closable questions will mostly take the form of a chunk of text to which the only question appended is "Can you (translate/proofread) this for me?".

Also, in both cases the solution is the same - identify the part that's causing difficulty, and it turns into a question about grammar/word-choice/appropriate use of keigo/whatever - as with the question that has been successfully revised.


I would say that the line is that any sufficiently on-topic question should be rewritable so it doesn't contain any references to proofreading. As with 'translation' questions, we just need:

  • A short bit of text (just enough for context)
  • the non-textual context (is this a letter to a teacher, email to a friend, etc)
  • the specific concern (e.g. is this the right word, can I use this grammar here, should I use に or で)

If there are multiple questions that arise from the same bit of text, where sensible they should be made separate questions. If there are a lot of questions, or what you really want is someone to proofread something you've written, then Lang-8 is a more appropriate venue.

  • 1
    +1 for mentioning Lang-8. – Andrew Grimm Sep 18 '13 at 12:37
  • Lang-8 would honestly be more appropriate. Let natives correct your stuff, not learners. You don't always know what you're getting sometimes. – Pleiades Jan 11 '16 at 17:29
  • Lang 8 is no longer allowing for new accounts to be made, so does anyone have a alternative for proofreading translations? – Toyu_Frey Mar 6 at 17:50

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