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My main area of research focuses on the Korean translations of the New Testament. What are the policies about asking questions dealing with interpretations of passages in Korean? Is this the site to do such? To generalize this, what are the policies on asking questions about interpretations of modern language translations?

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TL;DR—Questions dealing with interpretations of passages in languages other than English and the original biblical languages (and those of relevant, early interpretations) are off topic.


This is a great question, and I've given quite a bit of thought to it. I found an official SE policy about non-English questions that is applicable to Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and Super User. The policy states:

It is not, nor has it ever been, our goal to be the one place in the world for all programming information in every possible human language.... the idea that we should be forced to accommodate random human languages in our community is completely unsustainible [sic]. Now if you want to form an any-human-language-goes community like that, be my guest. I fully support your effort and we’ll be more than happy to direct any non-English questions your way.

However, there are some important areas where BH.SE differs significantly from those sites:

  • Our primary purpose is to answer questions about texts that were not (originally) written in English.
  • We expect experts who answer questions about Biblical texts to be well-versed in the languages in which those texts were written.
  • We allow questions that ask about the translation of these texts into the English language.

Even with these differences, it is important to consider some additional factors:

This means that most current site users probably do not understand the Korean language, and thus would not be able to assist with questions dealing with interpretations of passages in Korean. At the same time, you could argue that we do not currently attract such an audience because we don't have any Korean content. This is true, but ultimately I've come to the following conclusions:

  • While we do have questions about texts written in other languages, these are (ancient) Biblical languages, which Biblical experts generally have studied. Compared to languages such as Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, most Biblical scholars familiar with these languages have not also studied Korean.
  • If we did grant the request to allow questions about interpretations of passages in Korean, we should also grant the request for any language, and once you have questions pouring in from numerous languages, from the perspective of this being a community I agree with Jeff that this is 'completely unsustainable'.

Therefore, I believe that questions dealing with interpretations of passages in Korean are off topic on BH.SE.

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  • A very thorough answer. This is an exceptional piece of clarification. – Vladhagen Jan 11 '14 at 1:45
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    I'm glad it was helpful. Do keep in mind that you could ask questions to help you better understand the meaning of terms and concepts in the original languages, which you would then have to translate from English into Korean, but at least some help is available for your task of translation. – Dan Jan 11 '14 at 1:50

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