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Recently, there was a user with multiple questions on translation, for instance this question. In my opinion, it was off-topic and I commented that. He or she replied 'what is the translation tag for then?'.

I do not know the answer to that. The tag also has no wiki.

Does the tag belong on our site? If so, what kind of questions are covered by it? What kind isn't?

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The quickest way to figure out what a tag was intended to be used for is usually to look at the oldest questions using the tag: https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/translation?sort=newest (scroll to the bottom)

Note that this falls apart when old questions have been re-tagged, but for a tag this rarely used that's easy enough to check for.

As you can see, the oldest and most popular question using that tag - and very likely the one that originated it - is a bit different from some of the more recent questions in that it attempts to map terms between English dialects rather than between completely different languages.

Unqualified language translation questions are probably a bad fit for this site - actually, they're a bad fit pretty much everywhere, but that's a separate topic. What is clearly of value here are questions on the proper term to use when trying to find a specific ingredient in a given region. This is captured in the original translation question and in many others in both the and tags.

...Which raises a more interesting question: should the translation tag be a synonym of the language tag? It certainly seems that way, given how both are used. If not, a good many language questions should probably be retagged with translation...

Related meta discussions

(stuff I came across while researching this)

  • Thanks for the input! – Mien Mar 3 '14 at 12:14
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    I've merged translation into language, leaving the synonym - language was more popular, and even has a tag wiki saying "Questions about naming and translation of culinary terms and phrases." – Cascabel Mar 3 '14 at 20:20
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I think that this type of question is not off topic for the site.

If this was a pure replacement of a dictionary service, I would be against it. But note that cooking terms seldom have a 1:1 translation between languages. OK, so probably a fruit has a name in the languages of all countries where it is available. But when you move into cooked goods, the matters get murky. This is because different cuisines think in different ways about food. Therefore, pure translations can not be available, or might be plain wrong even when wildly accepted. For example, the English category "cake" does not encompass the same foods as the German category "Kuchen", although there is a significant overlap and no better terms, so everybody uses it as the translation. But for a cook following a recipe not internationalized for his/her tradition, it can be very important to know the details of these differences, to avoid pitfalls and use of the wrong ingredients.

As we can't very well predict which single-word-translations will result in an interesting explanation of culinary differences and which ones in a single word in a given language, I would say keep them all, unless they become a nuisance and need stricter control. After all, such a translation is something a large group of cooks is interested in, and there is no rule that a question should be interesting to everybody on the site. The number of home cooks using liquid lecithine is probably smaller than the number of Hindu speaking cooks. The "too localized" criterion (which was removed due to frequent misunderstanding) is meant for cases when the answer is probably going to be useless for anybody but the OP and maybe a handful of people who know him/her personally.

That being said, I think that while such questions should be tolerated, there is no need to specifically invite them. So I am very happy with Jefromi's idea to make it a synonym of the much broader .

  • Thanks for the input :) – Mien Mar 5 '14 at 9:11

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