I have been deterred to ask for a brief translation of an old physics Russian paper in the stack. Is it valid to ask such a question according to the policies of the site? If not, could it be worth to include such questions?

I'm thinking only in certain paragraphs in the paper that could be of importance, not the whole translation or a nutshell of the entire paper.


I really don't see asking for a translation of a paper to be in scope for Physics. First, it really isn't a question of physics, and second it likely has little value to anyone else.

You might try asking for help over in the Russian Language chat, or asking around your institution.

  • $\begingroup$ Nonetheless it could expand the functionality of the site. On the other hand, not much russians where I live in Latin America, plus you really need someone that does physics to give a meaningful translation. $\endgroup$ – user2820579 Jun 2 '20 at 20:54
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @user2820579 - oh, I understand the need, it just isn't what this SE is for. Again, you might try over at Russian Language SE - likely to be on the nerdy side there since it is on SE, so likely have some physics background. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Jun 2 '20 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ I feel it could be of use, even if the site is not accepting this right now. $\endgroup$ – user2820579 Jun 2 '20 at 21:10

I think this could be done as a resource request under existing tags, as you are in essence looking for a resource.

I think there is an argument for making these type of question (technical translation requests) an explicit category (tag) of their own with the proviso that such questions are for translations of small parts - not long documents.

I think we've all found old papers we would like to read or examine but which are in languages (and old versions of languages at that) which we do not have the knowledge to translate. As they are technical documents these require specialist knowledge to properly translate. I think it's not unreasonable to ask for help from Physics SE and for Physics SE to supply it when someone can.

It seems pointless having a global membership on Physics SE and not accepting that as an asset.


Strictly speaking such questions are not about physics... and not even questions - which is why they are equally unlikely to be welcome in the SE language sites. Thus, while one reasonably hopes that members of the physics community are more qualified to do such translations (and know well the sources), it is not an appropriate place to ask.

Another aspect of it is that (technical) translation is a hard job requiring high qualifications and time. Asking someone to do it for free or merely for an upvote is an abuse of trust - this is my personal opinion.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .