Assalamu 'alaikum wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatuh.

I have added an Arabic quotation in this answer, and didn't have time to translate it. Then the comment-argument on that answer came.

Ezati says that not including the translation is a good reason for downvoting the answer, and so she did.

What do you people think about that? I would like to hear your opinions about:

  • Whether not including the translation of an Arabic quotation text is a good reason for downvoting, even if referring to the source.

  • And whether we should really include the translation every time. I know it's recommended and try to do that always. But the question is whether an answer that contains a non-translated Arabic text is basically acceptable or not on the site (again, assuming that the quotation source is reference).


I would posit that translation (even a brief one) of Arabic text is an important part of the question and just as important as citing sources. If we are going to down vote for not citing references, then I think it equally important to down vote untranslated blocks of text.

The language of this site is English and it is the language that our visitors are expected to know. While knowledge of Arabic is definitely beneficial, it should not be taken as granted.

  • Translation tools are easily available across the web, not accepting Arabic citations means hardening the process of answering, because most Islamic books are Arabic. Sep 6 '12 at 14:21
  • @Mr.TAMER - the state of online translation services is still quite abysmal, especially Arabic to English. This becomes worse when you realize that a lot of the older Islamic texts use many archaic words that are no longer in circulation, which makes it impossible to translate for a machine-learning based service like Google Translate. Asking the reader to translate is like answering a question with a single unknown term and asking the reader to Google it. Not acceptable in my mind. We're looking for good answers, not easy ones. Sep 6 '12 at 14:26

My opinion is that:

  • Not including the translation is not a good reason for downvoting. Downvotes are meant to be cast over:

    egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect. The Privileges

    If an answer is not one of that, then it shouldn't be downvoted. As downvoting is the meter of how good an answer is.

  • Questions that contain non-translated Arabic text should be very acceptable. What is important is the content. If a quote is sourced, then the matter of translation becomes easy with the tools available on the web. Also a quotation is usually used to strengthen what the answer says, so the question is still understandable.

Most of the Islamic knowledge is written in Arabic, it's not reasonable not to accept Arabic quotes, you are thereby abandoning the majority of knowledge. Although translating the quote is important and recommended, but sometimes it's tiring, sometimes it's hard, sometimes the answerer can't just because he doesn't have the ability to translate. Why should we reject his efforts just because of a relatively-minor thing?

Hope that's convincing.

  • You shouldn't be translating anything yourself. We're definitely not as qualified as groups of scholars who collaborate to translate using tafseer, Arabic and English language, etc.
    – ashes999
    Sep 5 '12 at 1:14
  • @ashes999 while i agree that professional and scholarly translations are ideal, i contend that even an amateur translation is preferable to letting the knowledge be lost entirely (especially to those who only speak English).
    – goldPseudo Mod
    Sep 5 '12 at 4:42

You must log in to answer this question.

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