I asked a question on the new literature.SE beta about the quality of literary translation of novels from Japanese to English. I thought it was more a literature question at the time but opinion on lit.SE has been divided whether it belongs here or there:

Why is literature translated from Japanese always so clunky?

On reflection I thought both groups would have complimentary light to shed on the question since their perspectives are likely to be quite different.

But does Stack Exchange have a policy banning or encouraging cross posting questions? Or does it not come up very much?

3 Answers 3


As a general rule, NO.

There are specific instances where a question is on-topic for multiple sites and you wish to garner answers from different perspectives. But note that if your question is so broad and nonspecific that it can be asked without change on multiple sites, there's a pretty good chance you've abdicated responsibility for asking a good question in the first place: seeing your question closed as "Not constructive" on multiple sites isn't going to make you happy!

So in these (rare!) cases where it seems appropriate, do not simply copy the question verbatim from one site to another. Tailor it to the audience you are addressing, and ask for the type of answer you wish to receive.

For the example given ("Why is literature translated from Japanese always so 'clunky'?"), it's clear to me that this question was written with the Literature.SE audience in mind: a general observation is made and then solidified by referencing a specific author's work, the specific question is for references to existing discussions of this perceived phenomenon, and only at the end are specific examples of wording / phrasing given.

Assuming any of this is on-topic for this site, my guess is that they would be the implied cultural aspects and explicit examples of word-choice / phrasing. Reworked to emphasize the areas that are the specialty of the experts here could produce a rather different question... albeit one on the same general topic. And at that point, what you're doing isn't really "cross posting" anymore!

  • Good point. I think asking a different version of the question would be good for this site. But I think it would involve specific examples to be of value and I'm asking from memory without any such books around right now. Aug 22, 2011 at 4:44

It's a gray area, but I think it belongs there, and posting it on JLU might get it closed as off-topic. You're not asking a question about Japanese usage, after all--you're asking about English translation. Granted, this community might be more likely to have the knowledge to answer the question, but that doesn't guarantee that the question is on-topic.

  • Well it's "Japanese Language & Usage" but I do agree with you. If there were a translation SE it might be on topic there (depending on their scope) but it looks like remaining a proposal for a while yet. But this makes me think SE should have a mechanism for "advertising" questions from one site on other sites where the question has some relevance... Aug 21, 2011 at 8:30

If you ask a question in more than one place, please always add mutual links to the other copies. It is always frustrating to me when I answer a question and later learn that the question was already answered somewhere else. This makes me feel that my time was wasted.

  • Yes I would certainly add links back and forth and mention that the question was cross-posted. Aug 21, 2011 at 18:18

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