When I was going through some old questions on the site. I found a question which asks for transliteration of a mantra.

What's the English transliteration of this Sanskrit mantra?

It received two answers including a moderator.

So, my question is are questions asking transliteration or pronunciation of the mantra as on-topic?

The immediate answer I expect from the community is

It is a Hindu Mantra. This is Hinduism Stack Exchange. This is the right place for searching for transliteration. Hence it is on-topic.

But, we have to remember that we are also Stack Exchange and being a part of it, some standards are expected. If we look at these type of transliteration questions, it is basically nothing more than copy-paste from other transliteration tools. The questions will be a mantra or shloka in non English and answer will be copy paste. It depends on language efficiency of reading of a shloka of the user which is linguistic aspect and no explanation is really needed in these. What exactly are we helping in these questions in religious sense? More importantly, how will they help our site to grow and help in increasing quality?

On one side, we have a policy of not allowing copy paste answers - The copy-paste issue, Hinduism version and allowing such would be a contradiction.

We have meta posts to Focus on quality and on the other hand if we allow these questions, it will be like giving zero value to what has been discussed earlier. I am bringing these old meta posts into notice because previously, we have decided the scope keeping quality and problems in the long run and its helpfulness into consideration and not just "This is a Hindu work and this site is a right place to ask about Hinduism. So, it's on-topic.". Please remember that there are also limits and quality standards for our site before deciding scope.

Another reason to bring this to meta: There is a huge inconsistency in closing translation and transliteration posts. A question asking transliteration from Saraswati Suktam - (What is the correct pronunciation of this word which appears in Sarasvati suktam?) was closed unilaterally as off-topic and a comment accompanying following

Note that pure sanskrit questions may be closed as off-topic.

(He also answered it in comments. But closing the question and answering it in comments is another issue. Let's see that in another meta thread.)

If transliteration and pronunciation of word is off-topic, why is other question spared? Why is there an inconsistency in closing these questions?

Should we treat transliteration questions as on-topic or off-topic?

1 Answer 1


Transliteration questions are off topic since they're not about Hinduism but about scripts (language writing system).

The mentioned question has closed as off-topic. Cast the close vote whenever you find a question asking for transliteration of Sanskrit verses.

Couple of good tools are available for transliteration:

  • 3
    Can you say about inconsistency in closing the question? One mod answers and other will close. If transliteration of shloka (part of scriptures only) is off-topic, why is translation (change of language) of shloka (which is also part of scripture) should be considered as on-topic? Jun 21, 2019 at 3:56
  • 1
    @translation is related to meaning that's why it should be allowed.
    – Pandya Mod
    Jun 21, 2019 at 6:46
  • 1
    I've already posted another meta about difference in translation and meaning. How is it related to meaning? Both are different. We have only allowed analysis or meaning till now. Translation is just change in language just like transliteration is change in scripts. Anyone who knows Sanskrit or other language can change it to English without real knowledge in the subject. But meaning is different. That is our (Hinduism.SE) expertise here and not some language (Sanskrit, Hindi etc.,). A user's personal expertise in language should not be considered while adding scope or his presence in the site. Jun 21, 2019 at 6:54
  • @Sarvabhouma "Translation is the communication of the meaning"
    – Pandya Mod
    Jun 21, 2019 at 7:00
  • 1
    "Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text" so, change in language and saying the same in other language. Alternate meaning - "Translation : the process of translating words or text from one language into another." I am talking about users posting one language and asking us to change them to English. When is it on-topic and has the policy changed now? Jun 21, 2019 at 7:03
  • 1
    Transliteration is off-topic and translation is on-topic, what kind of logic is it? This is getting worst. Now reopen that new edit done by a user regarding Radha Krishna post as well
    – user6981
    Jun 22, 2019 at 2:52
  • 1
    @KrishnaShweta Because translation hels in understanding the meaning of verse.
    – Pandya Mod
    Jun 22, 2019 at 4:20
  • 3
    I have a question @Pandya "How do I understand thoughts of moderators or their chat discussions about site's scope when they don't post anything on meta?" I think this is related to a siddhi. So, HInduism.SE is ok to post? Because it's about scope, Hinduism meta? About private chat, so about hacking, security.SE or webapps.SE or should I directly post on Meta.SE as a site recommendation question? Jun 22, 2019 at 16:48
  • @Sarvabhouma Are you talking about this meta post?
    – Pandya Mod
    Jun 23, 2019 at 15:25
  • 1
    No, not only that. My question is general. When mods do not post anything about change in site policies and close reasons and perform closures which do not match with meta discussions, how will a normal user understand it? This is not only with site scope, it is with banners also. A normal comment "cite your sources" is posted. It is just the same as what banner is saying and not giving more details how a question or answer should be improved. All these. How shall a normal user understand what mods think? Which site is better? Jun 24, 2019 at 4:58

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