According to the Help Center:

What about translations? We are not a translation service, nor do we purport to be experts in languages other than French. Asking about the meaning of a difficult French sentence is fine. So is asking how to express an idea in idiomatic French. But please don't ask us to translate a text to or from another language.

But according to a positively received answer on Meta:

Tricky translations (eg. idioms needing paraphrasing), to French (but not from French), are allowed. The person asking the question should, however, give a rough translation into French (even if just from eg. Google Translate) at the same time as quoting the phrase to translate in the original language.

I would like to know if translating terms that are "new" is on-topic here?

For example, I was wondering if I could ask how I might translate the idea of "bot farms". I am a native French speaker and I seriously have no idea. "Ferme de bots" just doesn't seem to cut it and there doesn't seem to be enough sources out there for me be able to tell if it would be an accepted (much less understood) term or expression.

  • Good question. It shows that the HC is ambiguous. "how to express an idea in idiomatic French" and "don't ask us to translate a text ... from another language" are clearly at odds. We should clarify those guidelines. Does the solution lie in the difference between "an idea" and "a text"? If so can we state that difference explicitly? Or does it lie in "how to express" vs. "translate"? If so presumably "how to express" would mean the idea is already in French or is somehow nonlinguistic otherwise it's translation... Should be hammered out.
    – Luke Sawczak Mod
    Jun 23, 2018 at 17:01

2 Answers 2


Sure, asking how to translate a new term, or more generally how to express a new concept, is on-topic here. It's an example of “how to express an idea in idiomatic French”. If the concept is new, there may not exist an established, idiomatic French term yet, so an answer must explain how to construct a French term idiomatically.

Answers to such questions should refer to etymological habits (“le génie de la langue”), existing terms for similar concepts, as well as already attested terms for the concept (e.g. in “advanced” documents such as PhD theses, patents etc.).

We have quite a few questions of this form. There isn't a single tag for them; exists but it's more geared towards questions about general concepts than about creating new words for new concepts. Those are more likely to be tagged with the knowledge domain, e.g. , , etc.


As long as you can describe the thing you want a name for, you're good to go.

Such questions are actually warmly welcome on this site, provided you looked up commonly available resources beforehand. In particular, Wikipedia is often helpful when it comes to technical terminology. If you found something but did not consider it satisfactory, do mention the reasons in your post.

I wouldn't even label these as “translation questions” as they only concern the French usage.

You must log in to answer this question.

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