Question: translation for “It serves as a good reminder for me”? by Pacerier

The revision 1 of the question simply asked about the correctness of a particular English-Japanese translation, and it did not give any context of the sentence. In this discussion, it seemed that pure translation questions were not considered on-topic, and the question was quickly closed as off-topic.

Now Pacerier edited the question to add the context of the sentence to translate. It does not seem to me that adding the context changes the fact that it is a pure translation question, but if other people think otherwise, I am happy to change the opinion. So if you have an opinion, please express it.

3 Answers 3


This site deals with Japanese-English (and vice versa). It is inevitable that translation questions appear. The question is not a direct translation request for a single word, and cannot be easily and simply resolved by just looking up a dictionary.

Consider that if a phrase is made up of only 2 parts, and if there are other words that perform similar function to the constituent parts, then the number of ways to express that phrase is the product of the amount of different ways of each part. Even in the most meaningful minimal case of 2 different ways, it is important to find out if there is a preference for either one or if there is no preference. So, I think it is reasonable to ask how a given phrase would be most naturally expressed in Japanese.


1- Where in the link you posted does it say that Parcerier's question is off-topic? From the top 2 answers the only thing I can deduce is "see on case by case". (which is what we're doing here)

2- If you close all the questions that can be answered by looking inside a dictionary a lot of high-rep questions should be closed. Do you want a list?

For Parcerier's question, there are lots of dictionary entries with "to serve a purpose". Which one to use? What's the nuances? How to apply this vocabulary to the example he gave?

That's a more interesting question than a lot others I have seen from 800+ rated users that can be answered in 2 seconds by looking on internet.

I understand moderators need to keep things clean and it's not easy. If we allow some translations here and close some others there it's going to be a mess.

I would ask moderators to go back there and decide once and for all (write a complete answer with enough details and accept it).

  • Your final request cannot technically be satisfied right now because we have no moderators at the moment. Unless that is, you just wanted to have input from the people who voted to close the question. meta.japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/127
    – rcjsuen
    Jun 10, 2011 at 10:29
  • (1) My understanding from the answers to the other discussion is that questions asking about finer points of the language are appropriate even if they are in the form of translation, but questions about translation itself are not. (more) Jun 10, 2011 at 14:54
  • 1
    (cont’d) (2) “For Parcerier's question, there are lots of dictionary entries with "to serve a purpose". Which one to use? What's the nuances? How to apply this vocabulary to the example he gave?” If the question were that, I probably would agree to reopen. (more) Jun 10, 2011 at 14:55
  • (cont’d) (3) This is a minor point, but no moderators have been involved in this discussion except that Robert Cartaino (an administrator of the Stack Exchange network) made a post on the other discussion and Rebecca Chernoff (another administrator) edited the title of this discussion. The five close votes were cast by users with high reputation scores. Jun 10, 2011 at 14:56
  • Not my idea. Also, I am fine with a user going elsewhere if his/her question does not fit the idea of in-topic shared by many users of this site. Jun 10, 2011 at 15:08
  • Sorry, I deleted my comment. I think it should be left at that and wait for moderators to be elected.
    – repecmps
    Jun 10, 2011 at 15:10

Sounds like it's still a translation question to me.

I'm going off of the categories suggested in Rob Z's answer and as it is written currently it still falls into the fifth category:

"How do I say this in Japanese?"

These types of questions were suggested to be discouraged from the site unless there's some kind of nuance or difficult word involved.

Edit: Please feel free to downvote this answer if you don't agree, that's what meta is for. This is a good discussion for us to be having right now.

  • 3
    So you don't think the question has some kind of nuance or difficulty? Have you tried answering the question?
    – repecmps
    Jun 10, 2011 at 4:17
  • @repecmps It's not blatantly in-bounds or out-of-bounds, hence all this discussion about it. It's also one of the first translation cases we've had, so we don't have any clear precedent yet to refer to. Originally, it came off as a translation request, but maybe that was just bad wording on the question (and an unfortunate title). Now that it's gone through a few edits, one could make the argument that he's already done the translation and is just trying to compare his Japanese against native Japanese.
    – Troyen
    Jun 10, 2011 at 4:48

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