Over on the musicfans forum, some of us are trying to transcribe the lyrics of a French song karen-tungay-sous-les-bougainvilliers. Would it be off-topic to ask in French Language for some help with this ? The help would relate to particular lines, where the sounds suggest a number of possible words, or where the words seem clear, but the sense is obscure.

I'd argue that the question would be relevant to the study of French Language (sung French vs spoken French, attention to detail of different sounds in French etc), but I thought best to ask first.


3 Answers 3


Welcome! There are guidelines for what is on topic on the asset and questions should be specific. There is a tag where you may find examples of acceptable questions. I personally think it's possible to frame such a question so that it is acceptable, although I can't speak for the Community. I don't see the harm in trying and you may get further feedback directly to the question proper on the main site. Include the full title of the song and name of the artist with the relavant link to audio or video segment (please embed links using the feature in the editor i.e. select the text which should have the hyperlink, click the link tool icon, paste the url, click ok).

  • 2
    In fact, another person over at music-fans has provided what I think is the (almost) definitive version of the words. thanks for your support and encouragement. May 5, 2016 at 21:18
  • You're most welcome!
    – user3177
    May 6, 2016 at 8:10

When the help required for song lyrics involves no discussion about the French language and is mere transcribing &/or translation the chat is the best place to ask for help. Translations and transcribing as such are clearly out of topic on the main site unless they involve a discussion on a particular point of the French Language. Obviously if the help required is about understanding a particular word or phrase or why a word is pronounced this way or that way, you can go for the main site.


I remember discussions on the English language SE. Some users argued against the interpretation of song lyrics, because sometimes they don't make sense, or can be quite subjective, only out of "mere" poetry or rhyme reasons. However, I did ask a question on a specific verse from a pop song. It was Talk Talk "Such a shame", for expression "Left with an ,eight'. Finally, we digged into a novel, with a psychiatrist who bases his actions/decisions on the cast of dice. I did not expect such a literary (and statistical) content beforehand.

However, I believe that songs are a great way to embed into a new language, to learn new words and expressions. So I definitely agree with asking help with specific verses of song lyrics, in their context, either meaning or translation. They open a door to idiomatic expressions and language subtleties.

Anyway, I believe native french speakers could require help too, not only non-natives.

  • From the Help Centre: "Don't ask about Proofreading or translation, unless a specific source of concern is clearly specified" so the translation of texts is clearly out of topic.
    – None
    Aug 14, 2016 at 8:45
  • The specific source of concern is clearly a word / a phrase not a whole text: "We are not a text translation or proofreading service. If you're translating into French, be specific about the word or expression you want help with, and explain the meaning and provide context."
    – None
    Aug 18, 2016 at 5:32

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